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Israeli media is muzzling war critics and making voices go unheard, say rights groups

Israeli media is muzzling war critics and making voices go unheard
Palestinians hold signs at Damascus Gate outside Jerusalem's Old City during a protest against Israel's offensive in Gaza January 11, 2009. Israeli forces edged into the Gaza Strip's most populous area on Sunday, killing at least 27 Palestinians in an offensive stepped up in defiance of international calls for a ceasefire.Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad

A number of prominent Israeli human rights groups have slammed local media outlets for muzzling criticism of the army's deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip.

"Opinions criticising the decision to launch the offensive or the army's conduct during the war are hardly heard," the heads of eight rights organisations wrote in a letter to the editors of Israeli papers, television news channels, radios and websites, said Monday, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"The vast majority of the voices heard in the media are almost entirely united in their opinion over the military offensive" which Israel launched on December 27 and that has so far killed more than 900 Palestinians, many of them children and women, according to medics.

"Even worse, we have found that a lot of information reported by international or Palestinian bodies and broadcast by foreign television networks does not reach Israeli media," the letter said.

Statements released by human rights organisations criticising Israel's actions "hardly get any attention from the Israeli media. "Unfortunately, there is no debate on the justification of the way Israel is behaving."

Israel's refusal to allow journalists into the battered Palestinian territory further underscores the lack of criticism towards the operation, the letter said. The rights groups include the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, B'Tselelm, Gisha and Yesh Din.

A panoply of international human rights organisations have slammed Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip, warning of a severe humanitarian crisis and criticising the killing of civilians.

Israel launched its air and ground offensive with the goal of halting ongoing Palestinian rocket fire against southern Israel, which has killed four people over the past 16 days.

Date posted: January 13, 2009 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 266