December 6, 2023

Even more so than the network evening news shows, the PBS NewsHour and PBS News Weekend news programs have been obsessed with the death toll in Gaza during Israel’s counterattack, even to the point of downplaying the latest Trump courtroom dramas (usually catnip for the liberal press) in order to lead every night with the grim scenes out of Gaza.

It’s a one-sided view that portrays Israel the victim of a Hamas terrorist attack on its civilians, as a bully using excessive force against an innocent Palestinian population. There’s barely a mention of how the terrorist group Hamas is using Israeli children as hostages and how Hamas has not changed its goal to eliminate Israel. Gaza has led the PBS nightly news program each night since October 27, now 11 days running.

Host Amna Nawaz often delivers the most blatantly anti-Israel slant, and her commentary on Monday’s edition while introducing two stories from Gaza put her feelings on clear display.

In the first story, Nawaz marked a “staggering milestone” in the number of Gaza dead children, according to figures she admitted came from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, whose counts, besides being naturally dubious (Hamas is an anti-Jewish terrorist organization) don’t differentiate between civilians and fighters.

Co-host Geoff Bennett introduced Nick Schifrin’s report (titled online “Blinken ends Middle East trip with mixed results on limiting Gaza civilian toll”) on “another day of funerals in Gaza.”

Schrifin casually mentioned without condemnation, that a protest in Turkey included “demonstrators with swastikas,” and followed up with Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s “attempts to convince the region the U.S. cares about Palestinians.”

Nawaz showcased glamorous shots of the “beautiful coastal city” ofGaza courtesy of photographer Motaz Al Aaraj, who now “documents the war for D.C.-based charity group Project HOPE, the dire conditions in hospitals, the brutal impact of airstrikes, and the worsening humanitarian crisis.”

Nawaz talked to several other Gaza residents, including Rawan Shaheen, who urged Nawaz to be a voice for Palestinians whose voice was being purposefully cut off by Israelis. (Nawaz didn’t challenge that interpretation.)

Nawaz indeed seems to have taken a side in the conflict, with most of her sympathies aimed at Gaza, not at Israel, the original victim.

PBS NewsHour


7:03:02 p.m. (ET)

Amna Nawaz: A staggering milestone today in Gaza the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says 10,000 Gazans, including 4,000 children, have been killed since the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on October 7. Israel says its ground operation has now cut off Gaza City in the north from the rest of the Gaza Strip.

Geoff Bennett: And Secretary of State Antony Blinken left the region today after rare public disagreements with America’s closest Arab allies. He described his efforts to secure a humanitarian pause and the release of hostages as a — quote — “work in progress.” Nick Schifrin starts our coverage with another day of funerals in Gaza. Some of the images in this report are disturbing.

Nick Schifrin: The body of a child, the body whose burden falls on four adult men. Gazans say one month of war has spared no one. The Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health number, 10,000, is unprecedented, even for a small strip of land that has suffered six words in 15 years. The latest victims today, Israel said it was targeting a Hamas commander.

Mohammed, Gaza Strip Resident (through interpreter): It was night. I was just sitting there when the bombing happened. They pulled us out from under the rubble. You can see the children, young boys and girls. They were all martyred.

Nick Schifrin: Israeli airstrikes continued today, including on a building inside the Al Shifa Hospital compound, among the victims, a desperate man trying to save a child.

Israel accuses Hamas of hiding in hospitals and released new footage today of tunnels next to and underneath Gaza in the north. But Israel is increasingly focused on its ground operation, approaching closer to Gaza City. Soldiers in Northern Gaza also captured what used to be a Scouts headquarters for kids, where they said Hamas launched rockets. Israeli forces are trying to encircle Gaza City from three axes, the northeast into Beit Hanoun, the northwest along the Mediterranean Sea, and across Central Gaza, cutting the strip in two.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, Spokesperson, Israeli Defense Forces (through interpreter): The forces on the ground are advancing according to the operational plan, moving forward, increasing the pressure deep in Gaza City.

Nick Schifrin: But across the region, Israel’s campaign is sparking widespread protest. Today, it was in Ankara, Turkey, and included demonstrators with swastikas. They followed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meeting with Turkey’s foreign minister and Blinken’s attempts to convince the region the U.S. cares about Palestinians.

Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State: We know the deep concern here for the terrible toll that Gaza is taking on Palestinians, on men, women and children in Gaza, innocent civilians, a concern that we share and that we’re working on every single day. We have engaged the Israelis on steps that they can take to minimize civilian casualties.

Nick Schifrin: His Turkey visit capped a four-day regional tour…Good to see you.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister: Good to see you.

Nick Schifrin: That began on Friday in Tel Aviv, where his requests to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a pause…

Benjamin Netanyahu: We see this as a way of further facilitating the ability to get assistance in.

Nick Schifrin:… were publicly rejected.

Benjamin Netanyahu (through interpreter): Israel refuses any temporary cease-fire that does not include the return of our kidnapped hostages.

Nick Schifrin: In Ramallah, Blinken discussed having the Palestinian Authority take over Gaza after the war. But Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called it impossible without a completed two-state solution. And, in Amman, a rare public disagreement between the United States and two of its top allies in the region, Jordan and Egypt.

Ayman Safadi, Jordanian Foreign Minister (through interpreter): In the Arab countries, we demand an immediate cease-fire and end to this war and what results from it, killing innocent people, destruction, and we reject its description as a self-defense.

Antony Blinken: A cease-fire now would simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on October 7.

Marwan Muasher, Former Jordanian Foreign Minister: The United States needs to understand that it is being seen in the region as complicit in the killing.

Nick Schifrin: Marwan Muasher is Jordan’s former foreign minister. He acknowledges that Arab leaders’ public anger does not match their private diplomatic messaging. But he says the space between private diplomacy and public rage is shrinking.

Marwan Muasher: And so the call for a cease-fire is not just to please public opinion. It is real. And it stems out of the fact that, if a cease-fire is not effected soon, and if conditions of war allow Israel to transfer Palestinians into Egypt or into Jordan, that is a real concern for Jordan and Egypt.

Nick Schifrin: Israel denies any plan to transfer population. But, today, in the area of Southern Gaza that Israel promised would be safer, Gazans say the bombs do not stop and that nowhere feels safe. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nick Schifrin.

7:20:16 p.m. (ET)

Amna Nawaz: Before the Hamas terror attacks against our Israelis, life in Gaza was not easy. Now it’s immeasurably more difficult and deadly. For the last two weeks, my colleague producer Zeba Warsi and I have been talking to people inside Gaza whose lives have been upended by this conflict. We will hear now from several of them, some from whom we still receive messages and others whose whereabouts are now unknown. That beautiful coastal city is Gaza, its charming port, peaceful beaches and life, both every day and extraordinary, pulsating through its people. All that was before that war captured by 32-year-old Gazan photojournalist Motaz Al Aaraj. That Gaza lives only on his Instagram now. When his home was hit by an Israeli airstrike, Motaz lost his life’s work.

Motaz Al Aaraj, Photojournalist, Project HOPE:I have thousands of shots for Gaza, for the sea, for the people, for the markets, for all thing. I lost all thing. I don’t have anything to show people what Gaza like before.

Amna Nawaz: Now Motaz documents the war for D.C.-based charity group Project HOPE, the dire conditions in hospitals, the brutal impact of airstrikes, and the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Motaz Al Aaraj: I found Sara (ph) under the car, under car. I have video for this.

Amna Nawaz: He’s living through the same war he’s documenting, last week, capturing his neighbors 16-year-old daughter trapped under a car after an airstrike.

Motaz Al Aaraj: I can’t do anything for her. This is in — near my home.

Amna Nawaz: Motaz is sheltering with his extended family and 50 others who fled their homes. Every day, he says, is a struggle to survive.

Motaz Al Aaraj: It is very hard. Yes, not all days, I can found water and bread. Maybe I join the line six hour or seven hour and don’t take anything, go to home empty and no food.

Rawan Shaheen, Student, University of Palestine: You’re seeing so many people around you die, like every single day. You hear about a person, your neighbor or your friend. To be honest, I wonder a lot. It’s like, when is my turn going to be?

Amna Nawaz: That is 19-year-old Rawan Shaheen, Motaz’s niece. She’s a second-year college student studying pharmacy at the University of Palestine in Gaza. Before the war, her life revolved around her friends and school.

Rawan Shaheen: I had a plan for this year laid out. I had a plan for each module. I think everyone had plans. And all their plans were canceled, and none of us expected this. My brother, Ibrahim (ph), is 12 years old. And when he talks to me, he talks like — he’s kind of very sad at the moment, because he feels as if were not going to make it. I think there is a feeling of numbness, that we don’t feel like we are sharing our emotions that much, because, honestly, it’s kind of sad. But what’s happening, it shouldn’t be normal. But because we’re seeing so much death, it’s almost becoming some sort of normal, which is not normal.


Rawan Shaheen: I feel like it’s very important, especially if you’re living outside of Gaza, outside of Palestine, your voice makes a huge difference to us, and it really helps us. And, in fact, the reason they cut out our communications, Internet and electricity and all of that is because they don’t want our voice to be reached out to the world. But you have a voice, so you could use it to help us.