Subscribe to RSS Feed

Dispatches: The Killing Zone

Sandra Jordan and Rodrigo Vasquez
UK Channel 4
May 19, 2003

While the world's attention has been fixed on the war in Iraq, Dispatches reporter Sandra Jordan and producer Rodrigo Vasquez risk their lives to reveal the shocking level of daily violence and murderous hate in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian civilians live under the threat of Israeli Defence Force attacks that do not discriminate between militants and children. Israeli setlers live in fear of suicide attacks.

But it is not only Palestinians and Israelis who are dying. Since the Gulf war, three Westerners have come under Israeli army attack.

An American peace activist was crushed to death by an IDF bulldozer; a British peace protester was shot in the head by an IDF sniper and remains in a coma; and last weekend, a British cameraman was shot dead by the IDF.

Within hours of arriving Sandra and Rodrigo are shot at and tear-gassed by Israeli troops breaking up a memorial service for Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist crushed by an Israeli Army bulldozer two days before.

That sets the tone for a five-week stay in which they document the shooting by Israeli troops of the British peace campaigner Tom Hurndall, the death of James Miller, the award-winning cameraman who worked extensively for Channel 4, killed as he filmed Israeli troops bulldozing Palestinian homes, and the deaths and mutilation of many innocent Palestinians and Israelis.

The Dispatches team reveals what life is like in what has become a fully blown war zone. Their film captures the aftermath of an Israeli missile attack that assassinates a leader of the deadly Hamas group. Children who happen to be playing in the street nearby are killed or have limbs blown off.

They film the aftermath of an attack in which Israeli troops fire modified tank shells that explode in mid air above densely populated civilian areas and spray thousands of razor sharp darts, or flechettes, in an arc some 300 metres long and 90 metres wide. The team encounters sniper fire from Israeli watchtowers, and endures tank shelling alongside a class of terrified school children.

In one of the most shocking moments in the film, Dispatches captures heartbreaking scenes in a Palestinian hospital minutes after Tom Hurndall was shot through the head, rescuing a seven-year-old child sheltering from gunfire.

While Hurndall lies in a corner, kept alive by a life support machine, his colleagues and Palestinian doctors negotiate frantically with the IDF to transfer him to an Israeli hospital, and to obtain safe passage for the Palestinian ambulance that will carry him. Hours later, with the help of the British Embassy they finally succeed, and embark on a hazardous journey to the Egyptian border. Hurndall remains in a coma.

Jordan and Vasquez also investigate the death of James Miller, the award-winning cameraman. They find that eyewitnesses tell a story sharply at variance with the official Israeli account.

Since September 2000, some 2,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli Defence Forces, who routinely use F16 fighter jets, helicopter gunships and tanks to bomb and shell densely populated Palestinian residential areas. The victims include some 350 children.

In the same period Palestinian armed groups have killed more than 700 Israelis, including some 90 children. The victims were all killed in deliberate attacks, including suicide bombings.

New Book on the Israel Lobby


Alison Weir's new book Against Our Better Judgement: How the U.S. was used to create Israel brings together meticulously sourced evidence to outline the largely unknown history of U.S.-Israel relations.


Buy the book on Amazon.com.


Visit the book website for reviews, more ordering options, and upcoming author events.

Rachel Corrie
Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer.

1979 - 2003
On the 16 March, 2003, 23-year-old Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer. more

Thomas Hurndall
Tom Hurndall was killed by an Israeli sniper.

1981 - 2004
21-year-old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper on April 11, 2003. He died nine months later. more

Videos & Multimedia

British TV Documentary – Dispatches: The Killing Zone

VIDEO: Palestinians Document Settler Violence

VIDEO: West Bank attack filmed

Video – Gaza: A humanitarian implosion

Video: Old Palestinian Man Describes Being Shot

Video – The Easiest Targets: The Israeli Policy of Strip Searching Women and Children

Audio Interview – Psychology of Suicide Bombings

Video – Soldiers Explode a Portion of a Palestinian Home, Killing the Mother

Video – Soldiers Force a Palestinian to Play Violin at Roadblock

Related Articles

Israel 'using food and medicines as weapons'

Nobel Peace Laureate: Hope as Palestinians Use Nonviolence in their Struggle for Human Rights and Freedom

Israeli Strip Searches: A Partial List

68 women gave birth on checkpoints, 34 infants and 4 women died

Americans Tortured in Israeli Jails

More on Collective Punishment/Terrorism

Additional Resources

The Gaza Strip: A humanitarian implosion

Back to a Routine of Torture – Torture and Ill-treatment of Palestinian Detainees during Arrest, Detention and Interrogation – September 2001 - April 2003

Amnesty International – Israeli Settlers Wage Campaign of Intimidation

Booklet – ‘No Exit’

Amnesty International – Under the Rubble

Organizations

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel


If Americans Knew distributes and posts to our website copyrighted material, sometimes without the permission of the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law since it is being disributed without profit for purely educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

This website is printer-friendly. Please Print this article and share it with your friends and family.