First time in the Arab world: Lebanon TV channels air a unified newscast in support of Gaza
Palestinian mothers weep over the bodies of children, whose expressionless faces indicate their untimely fate. Israeli rockets strike three-story buildings, turning homes into rubble. These were the images broadcast across all eight Lebanese television channels Monday, in what may be the world's first unified news bulletin in support of Gaza.
It was definitely the first time in the Arab world, and constituted a surprising move such highly partisan local media outlets. Regardless, Tele Liban, LBC, MTV, Al-Manar, Al-Jadeed, NBN, Future TV, and OTV broadcast a common report for their nightly newscasts to voice solidarity with Gaza against the Israeli offensive, which began approximately two weeks ago.
The program, titled “Palestine, you are not alone,” began at exactly 8:10 p.m., and lasted for almost half an hour. It opened and ended with a patriotic poem by the iconic Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
The Palestinian death toll in the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that began July 8 jumped to more than 500 Monday, as Israeli forced pounded the densely populated coastal strip. Eighteen Israeli soldiers have also died, as well as two civilians.
Female anchors from the different television stations announced the bulletin one after the other, denouncing decades of Israeli aggressions that have taken place since the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948.
Two male anchors from rival Future and Al-Manar stations followed by praising the land of Palestine, its renowned olive trees, and the people’s resistance in the face of Israeli oppression.
“It is the Arab people’s fate to free the occupied land,” they said.
"The enemy is the same ... and the stances towards the Palestinians are the same", they added.
Prompted by the rising death toll, which now includes almost 100 children, As-Safir newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Talal Salman was spurred into proposing the initiative. It was he who wrote the bulletin’s introductory words.
“It is simply an attempt to express, through our visual media channels, the Lebanese people’s solidarity with the people of Gaza, who live under a cruel siege and whose innocent civilians are being killed every day,” he told The Daily Star last week.
Every channel ran the same eight reports - each produced and presented by a different studio - on the different points of conflict and the history of Palestinians and their struggle.
The Future television station reported on the internally displaced families; OTV on the mothers of Palestinian martyrs; MTV on the children of Gaza; LBC on the families in south Lebanon affected by the 2006 war with Israel; Al-Jadeed on the foreign fighters in Palestine; Al-Manar on the Palestinian people’s weapons; Tele Liban on the power and strength of Palestinian children; and NBN on Palestinian refugees waiting to go back to their homeland.