One of Gaza War's Big Winners: Al Jazeera

The Al Jazeera satellite TV network made its name just as CNN did during the 1991 Gulf War


By Larry Derfner, Mideast Watch

The Gaza war, now in the early days of a shaky cease-fire, continues to dominate Arab politics. Liberal columnist Daoud Kuttab regards its "Winners and Losers," naming one of the former as Al Jazeera, the Arab satellite TV news network that established its presence in the Gaza war just as CNN made its name in the 1991 Gulf War. He writes in the Jordan Times:

With non-Arab Western journalists denied entry into Gaza, the only English language media outlet which had the field to itself, succeeded in not only filling the gap but doing so with professionalism and balance. Unlike its mother station, Al Jazeera Arabic, which got carried away emotionally on more than one occasion, Al Jazeera International kept its poise and won the respect of many around the world.Al Arabiyah pan-Arab station won the respect of many, even if not for the number of those who watched Arab stations (that ranking continues to go to Al Jazeera Arabic). Al Arabiyah succeeded by giving much more serious analysis, much better field reporting (with serious human interest stories) and not being afraid or worried about showing Palestinians saying that they were scared. It didn't fall prey to repeating ad nauseam images that should never have been shown on any TV station without warning to the viewers. It did more to humanise the Palestinians than any other media outlet, showing children express fear and concern rather than restrict TV appearances to statements of courage and fearlessness.

Turkey Warms to Iran in Wake of Gaza War

One of the most damaging political consequences of Israel's war in Gaza has been Turkey's move away from the U.S.-Israeli axis and toward Iran. The large, powerful Muslim nation has long been seen as a Western bridgehead in the Middle East, but it has been moving toward Islamism in recent years, and the war in Gaza led Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call for Israel's ousting from the United Nations. The official Iran Daily reports that the Iranian regime welcomes the development:

Vice-President Parviz Davoudi said Tuesday that relations between Middle East states will be transformed after Israel's war on Gaza. "To this end enhancement of Iran-Turkey relation is essential," he told the Turkish Ambassador to Iran Salim Kara Osman Oglu, IRNA reported.

Demands mount for war crimes probe of Israel

Claims that Israel broke international law by using white phosphorous in highly crowded civilian areas of Gaza dominate the demands spreading across the Arab world for war crimes probes. The Daily News Egypt reports:

CAIRO: The International Federation of Human Rights called for investigating Israeli war crimes committed during its 23-day offensive on the Gaza Strip, Tanya Ward, the federation's vice president said Tuesday.

"Documentation is crucial at this stage," Ward said at a press conference held at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, referring namely to the use of heavy artillery in densely populated areas, the use of white phosphorus on a civilian population and the high civilian death toll — 50 percent of the 1,300 killed were women and children.

The conference was held to announce the major observations and conclusions on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, by the joint delegation of the International Federation of Human Rights and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN).

Israel hasn't confirmed or denied using white phosphorous but insists it acted within the boundaries of international law.

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