The victims as well as the Israeli hostages of the October 7 attack benefited and continue to benefit from humane media treatment, emphasizing the lives that were destroyed that day and the anguish of the families who await the release of their loved ones.
Showing their faces, their stories, their identities, their first and last names, the moving testimonies and other elements about their ordeals can only make anyone who loves peace and justice, bruised by the atrocities of which they were victims.
This media approach has enabled, in a surge of human fraternity, unanimous compassion and solidarity from our fellow citizens towards them.
It is clear that the Palestinians and their current terrible suffering are the subject of a completely different media treatment, leading to their dehumanization and an accepted relativization of their suffering and their ordeal.
The majority of images transmitted in our media and tending to illustrate Palestinian suffering consist of aerial shots of destroyed buildings in Gaza. As if this suffering was limited to “material losses”. As if this besieged and razed territory was not also full of human lives and stories to share.
The faces of the Palestinian victims have been made almost invisible in our media. No portraits of women or children with their personal stories were presented. Their name, first name, identity were not the subject of in-depth discussions or even simply transcribed.
In our media, Palestinians are often referred to as “human shields” or even worse, as “civil shields”. This metaphor, repeated constantly, carries a much more scandalous message. The Palestinians are therefore first defined by an object of war before being human. A shield has no name, first name, or identity. A shield has no parents, no children, no loved ones. A shield feels no pain and is therefore not subject to compassion.
When not described as objects, Palestinian victims are referred to through cold numbers. Some warmongers even go so far as to minimize or even deny these figures even though most of the NGOs on site believe that they are below reality. They do not take into account the hundreds or thousands of victims still missing under the rubble, the majority of whom are women and children.
The death figures displayed also hide the enormous human tragedy of those who survive the massacres: orphans, crippled children and amputees without anesthesia, and above all the post-traumatic shock that almost all Palestinian civilians will experience throughout their lives, without any support. .
Palestinians are thus doubly dehumanized: during their existence, they are victims of inhuman and degrading treatment, and once dead, some go so far as to deny their disappearance.
This dehumanization of the Palestinians makes an entire class of men and women politicians and intellectuals insensitive to the massacres and atrocities to which the Palestinians are victims. This class cloaks itself in the affirmation: “Israel has the right to defend itself” to the point of saying that it is normal that the tragedies of Israeli and Palestinian children killed “do not lead to the same reaction”.
This dehumanization neutralizes any reaction to the abject remarks and the worst apologies for crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinians.
Thus, the comments of the Israeli minister who described the Palestinians as animals have not been sufficiently denounced in our media and by our politicians and intellectuals.
A Franco-Israeli lawyer declared on the Cnews channel that there were no innocent civilian populations in Gaza, and that killing Palestinian children was justified. The French journalist who interviewed her, pretending to reprimand her, ended up finding extenuating circumstances. According to him, she spoke with her guts and emotion because she experienced something terrible on October 7, 2023!
Laurent Joffrin explains to us that targeting a school which would be located above a Hamas operational center, even if it is horrible, has a logic: “we do not give in to the blackmail of the human shield and we kill civilians. It’s horrible, but there’s a reason.”
The total blockade and the confinement of more than two million civilians in a barbed wire enclosure, like cattle, seems “normal” for many media who never dwell on this drama, which is nevertheless capital and has lasted for years. The same is true of attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank.
Ultimately, the mainstream media find themselves discredited as a whole, accentuating distrust of them, particularly among young people. The latter, in order to fill the serious deficiencies of our media, will seek information elsewhere, particularly in social networks. In these alternative spaces, they discover another reality and terrible images of the extent of the human tragedy of the Palestinian people. But they can also be exposed to great risks of manipulation and deviation, with consequences that should not be underestimated.
The role of ARCOM is to ensure that the media in our country fully assume their role of information and communication while respecting the plurality of opinions and the equal dignity of all. Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the media must not participate in the dehumanization of the Palestinian people through the unfair and undignified media treatment that we have just mentioned.
It is time to remind our media that all lives are equal and that no one must forget that in history, the dehumanization of a people has always been a prerequisite for the justification of the worst atrocities against them and this, in the general indifference.