Gaza war toll: Times video shows survivors' trauma

Time initiate explains who we are and what we do, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how our journalism comes together. In ...


Time initiate explains who we are and what we do, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how our journalism comes together.

In May, hostilities broke out in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules the coastal territory. The resulting 11-day war killed 260 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel, according to the United Nations, and reduced swathes of Gaza City to smoldering ruins. The IDF said it was targeting Hamas’s military infrastructure in Gaza.

Coverage of the war was limited because Israel, citing security concerns, closed Gaza’s borders to foreign journalists. But civilians captured videos of the attacks. After the proclamation of a ceasefire, Yousur Al-Hlou, video reporter for the New York Times, and Neil Collier, a former Times staff member who now works as a freelance writer, traveled to Gaza, a process which lasted several days and involved going through numerous security checks, quarantining in Jerusalem and obtaining authorization from Hamas.

Amid the bombed out buildings, they spoke with survivors, then produced a 14 minute video which was published last month and which tells the story of the war and its aftermath through the eyes of these residents.

The Times reported on the impact on both sides of the border, including a video on Israeli border communities who were affected and a visual survey of the deadliest airstrike series on Gaza during the conflict. Ms. Al-Hlou and Mr. Collier’s video offered a unique look at the destruction in Gaza from those who witnessed it firsthand.

The project has been a rare opportunity to examine the toll perpetual war and reconstruction are taking on the residents there, Mr Collier said.

“One of the first things we noticed was how shocked and traumatized people were still,” he said. “There were lingering effects of the war that had not necessarily been captured in footage from Gaza. “

Their video depicts the chaos and terror of the airstrikes – a teenage boy screaming on the ground after the deaths of his father and cousin; sisters hiding under a blanket as their house was bombed. One of the sisters said she removed the password from her phone because she wanted people to be able to access the pictures she took if she died.

Hanaan Sarhan, a senior producer on the project, said the Times team that worked on the video also wanted to include quieter post-war moments: a young girl wanting to go back to school so she could participate in the video. the reconstruction effort; a musician wondering where he was going to find the money to replace his equipment; parents celebrating the birth of their newborn baby, hoping he doesn’t have to go through another war.

Soliman Hijjy, a Gaza-based video journalist, helped identify potential interview subjects and witnesses who captured the violence on their phones. Along with Ms. Al-Hlou and Mr. Collier, he went to great lengths to ensure that every cell phone video they collected was straight from the source and had not been edited.

The team tracked down each source, visiting each in person to view the footage on the person’s phone and confirm when and where it was taken. Mr. Collier also wore a GPS watch to each interview, recording satellite coordinates so that he and Ms. Al-Hlou could cross-reference them with the locations of the attacks.

During the month that Ms. Al-Hlou and Mr. Collier were in Gaza, they faced hourly power outages, unreliable internet and a shortage of clean water. These are everyday realities for the estimated two million residents whose movement inside and outside the territory is limited by Israel and Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza.

“The realities of living and working in Gaza are difficult,” Ms. Al-Hlou said.

In early June, as the team wrapped up its reporting and prepared to leave Gaza, the IDF carried out another round of airstrikes in the territory, sparking fears of another protracted conflict. This did not happen, but the anxiety remained.

A formal ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas has not yet been finalized.

“At any time,” Ms. Sarhan said, “another war can happen again. “

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Newsrust - US Top News: Gaza war toll: Times video shows survivors' trauma
Gaza war toll: Times video shows survivors' trauma
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