January 6th, 2009
11:58 PM ET

Covering the Gaza crisis

Program Note: Watch Anderson's full report LIVE from Israel tonight on AC360° at 10pm ET.

Anderson Cooper explains the challenges reporters face in trying to cover the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

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Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Crisis in Gaza
soundoff (365 Responses)
  1. Carole

    Although I don't like the idea of you being in harms's way, you are one of the very best reporters we have. We need to know exactly what is happening in Gaza; Israel needs to re-think its motives in going into Gaza – far too many civilians are dying. There is no excuse for this.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  2. Elariia

    I'm surprised CNN doesn't have a sister station that can broadcast from Gaza.

    I have mixed feelings about journalists going into Gaza. They should stay out of harm's way. On the other hand, it would be nice to have an objective picture of what's happening in Gaza. That being said, no journalist is completely objective.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  3. Todd

    To Cindy,
    Egypt could open it's border. Israel sent advanced notice and they could have left at that time. Why didn't they leave when they saw huge Grad rockets being fired from their neighbors backyard – did you see the size of those things – not very conspicuous.
    Good luck AC. CNN is doing an ok job for the first time in providing somewhat balanced reporting. CNN still jumps to post things based on speculation and sources with little credibility, takes a long time to undo damage from a bad skewed report and still likes to capitalize on drama more than news. Regardless, there is some improvement. Keep it up.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  4. Jo Ann


    Great reporting last night! Although I am sure journalists are being kept out mostly because of safety concerns, I wonder if part of the reason authorities have limited your access is to prevent you from being able to confirm or dispel any rumors about what is happening in Gaza.

    I hope that you will continue to have communication with people inside Gaza like Sami Abdel-Shafi who you spoke to last night. They will be able to give viewers a unique perspective.

    I am certain that you and the other journalists have been surrounded with the best security that money can buy, but please remain alert and don’t leave anything to chance.

    Take care,
    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    January 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  5. Tyran

    Of course the Israelis have a right to defend themselves from Hamas attacks, however they MUST be very cautious not to kill any civilians. It seems that that Israel is not doing that. If the Israeli forces are in the right like they say they are, then please allow the media to get on the ground there. It's time for America to take a even-handed policy toward the Israeli/Palenstine conflict. This conflict must be resolved peacefully before it engulfs the whole Middle East!

    January 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  6. Robert

    Israel blocking humanitarian aid? Israel isn't blocking aid, it's SENDING aid. The question which isn't being asked is why are the Egyptians blocking aid from coming in from their border with Gaza? Don't put all this on Israel's shoulders.

    As for Israel blocking reporters access to Gaza, this is because of the debacle it caused during the last war in Lebanon: reporters set up cameras and showed the terrorists where their troops were.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Amy

    So he can't get in, but he's still well within range of the Hamas rockets. He's not really out of the action. He can at least report on the panic level the poor Israelis have had for MONTHS as Hamas has been shooting rockets at them. But Hamas would love to have him inside Gaza to make him another of their human shields. They want him in there so they can make a martyr our of him, just like they're doing to so many of the innocent Palestinian people. If they really want peace and justice, they need to stop shooting their own rockets. Hamas started this whole thing.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  8. Kevin Dunphy

    Why don't the Israeli's want reporters in Gaza? What are they trying to hide?

    January 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  9. fazal rasool


    We trust you in reporting objectively on the crisis from within. Hope you will be allowed soon.


    January 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  10. Ingrid

    I am terribly sorry for the people living on the Gaza strip. This is an abomination. The fact that the International press corp has not been allowed access is truly telling. The horrors that are surely occurring every moment to innocents can only be imagined. And it is pathetic that, once again, as in Lebanon, the Israelis have targeted U.N. schools. (They had the coordinates for these U.N. buildings. They possess weapons from the U.S. that enable pinpoint precision. No foolish pretense about accidental deaths can be proffered by the Israelis.)
    Oh Israel...please be done with this wretchedness!!

    January 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  11. Richard in L.A.

    Keeping reporters out is a sign that some major atrocities are going on. If the reporters are foolish enough to get in the way of shooting them let them take that that risks so that we the world knows what is going on. Punish those who commit crime not the people who are powerless to stop it. Would you shoot an elderly woman or a young child simply because a local gang is terrorizing a neighborhood? If Israel is taking irresponsible action against all Palestinians not just Hamas, then I as an American citizen demand my representatives to not block any sanctions leveled at that aggressor state, I even demand international monitors to be placed there to make sure innocents lives have some protection.

    Yes all of Hamas should be taken to the Gallows, but the Palestinian people have a right to voice their anger over their treatment. We Americans enjoy freedom of speech, if we want the world to follow our democracy, our ways then we must ensure everyone has a voice and not live in fear to use it.

    Peace found at the edge of a sword awaits the sheathe before falling back into chaos.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  12. Shakil

    Hi Anderson-

    We are proud of you for your daring work. Be safe!

    January 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  13. marty

    Palestinian Holocaust. Perhaps the best documented holocaust in human history with live images. Every news organization's dream opportunity to tell a story, denied by the Israeli war criminals. History will not be kind to the Israelis and their collaborators.

    Good luck Anderson. Hope you can show the truth.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  14. ben

    There are comments about civilian casualties.
    Unfortunately Hamas uses ambulances to carry weapons. They blend in with Civilians while they are fighting. Unfortunately their greatest weapon is the fact that their enemies don't want to harm civilians.
    That is why it is impossible to fight them, without the rest of the world upset about civilian losses.
    Israel, regardless of how you view them, could be doing a lot worse to the civilian population.
    The numbers of civilian deaths would be far greater if they were the targets. Obviously, the Israelis don't want to do this, they want to minimize civilian casualties. That is why it has taken them this long to respond to rocket attacks in the first place.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  15. katafan

    it just break my heart seeing civilians killed on both sides. on the palastenian side more than 30% of causalities are children. civilians have no way out , not enough food, no electricity, no place is a safe place, houses been destroyed killing all members of the family living in. until when the international community is going to stay silent ? where is our conscience ? where is our western humane values. nothing in that conflict justify the killing of innocent people on either side. nothing justify that horror look you see on a face of child, nothing justify the tears from the eyes of those with killed brother, wife or children.
    let's stop talking politics and talk like decent humans

    January 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  16. Dave AZ

    Ok, so reporters can't get in. From the reports I have seen in the MSM it all seems to be anti Israel. Why should Israel grant reporters access when it seems as though the reporting will only be used to stir up world leaders against Israel. For Israel to negotiate with Hamas is for Israel to accept the status quo. Israel is not bent on the destruction of the Palestinians. However Hamas is bent on the destruction of Israel. Lets keep this in perspective please

    January 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  17. sam

    I think israel has something to hide from the international community . I think it doesn't want to show the massacre that it is doing in the Gaza strip . i think it doesn't want the western community to know what is the real Israel is about . I think Israel will allow the media and especially the western media after it cleans its massacres .I hope the truth will come out and real jernoulism will be out AC .

    January 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  18. Karen

    The Isreal government is blocking international media from access to Gaza because it doesn't want the world to see that its actions are not only way out of proportion but are, in fact, causing innocent civilians untold misery!

    At the very least, Isreal MUST open the borders to humanitarian aid immediately. The WHOLE WORLD is watching!

    January 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  19. James

    I don't see how we can have so much news about what's happening in Gaza if reporters aren't allowed in there. Are we just taking people's words? Responding only to official statements is hardly investigative news, just the news media being used as a propaganda tool by Gazan's and Israeli's alike. Why can't we have more Watergate style reporters?

    I remember when Rabin was negotiating with Palestinians it seemed like there was progress being made, an air of inevitability with Clinton and Arafat in tow, until an ultra orthodox Israeli assassinated his own leader. I'm just sickened by the lip service to peace both sides are giving, neither want peace, just hate and retribution, with each side wanting an eye for many more eyes.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  20. Democritus

    This is untrue; I have been watching European news stations, mainly Greek, via satellite who have reporters on the ground within Gaza and currently on the ground where the UN school was bombed by the Israelis. American news providers do not want to show the circumstances in Gaza; dead children, women and men. Children and babies bloodied, dead, and severely injured. In the US we are shielded from the reality and severity of the situation mainly to skew the american public opinion against the Palestinian plight. This does not change the reality. The stations here say they want to "protect" the public from such scenes; this is not true. Ask why? The media here paints Hamas and Palestinians as terrorists but a question has to be asked; Why and when was Hamas created? Why were such problems in the Middle East non-existent prior to WWII?

    January 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  21. Larry

    Anderson who cares whether you can get in or not. Get back to America and report on things that most Americans care about. We have lots of news going on in the country that pays your salary.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  22. Ebo

    Hi Anderson,
    First, I want to thank you for being there to give us a more clear and balanced picture, unfortunately the Israeli army is not allowing you and other reporters to get into Gaza, maybe they do not want the world to see what they have done to innocent civilians!

    Wish you the best, stay safe.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  23. Nivi

    If Israel wants to attack Hamas thats there right to self defense. But a nation like Israel should show more compassion and understanding that the people in Gaza are suffering greatly and need humanitarian help. Its just not good enough for Israel to say they have enough and wash themselves of the problem, If Israel did more then what was needed to help the innocent children and women it would show the world they do care. Anybody can say they care about someone, but if you don't back it up with deeds then you have failed, and thats how the people of Gaza feel toward the International community. and Israel.

    As for the innocent Palestinians seeking cover. Im just curios were does the Israeli government expect these people to go, its unpractical for Israel to demand that they go from one place to another like grasshoppers seeking refuge in place's were really there is no refuge, even the UN school gets bombed, kills 30 but because of one terrorist who hid there, its justified. thats just crazy.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  24. McShannon

    I can't help but believe that Israel has gone way too far endangering and killing civilians. World opinion from other sources greatly condemn their approach as do I. The Bush administration by its silence further characterizes who we have become. Our apathy for the truth and detachment from the pain caused by our friends the Israelis is too much. Hamas obviously doesn't know the difference between diplomacy and suicide, their ignorance aside, we are no longer the champions, but bullying, boasting, rationalizers and we call it justice.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  25. M Hammad

    Watch Al Jazeera, they have reporters inside GAZA; Israel does not want the western media in because they don't want the truth to be told. Occupation is the problem not Hamas rockets.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  26. Geroge

    Why should you be allowed to enter a War Zone, that's the problem with the Media today. They want everything, the Media only makes matters worse. Stay out of the way. You can cover the War from afar. You don't need to be involved and on front lines. If you want to be on front lines then join the military.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  27. Tony

    The Hamas should have thought of this occurring when they started firing missiles into Israel. If one continues to irritate the lion one must expect to eventually get hurt. As for AC getting into Gaza. Not needed. We have enough information now and do not need exploitive stories that merely further a talking head's career.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  28. Vivian Beals

    Israel will not let press into Gaza since they don't want them to report the war crimes they are committing. Women and Children are brutally killed using US tax dollars and arms. This needs to stop.!!!!!!!!!!

    January 6, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  29. Michael

    If you do get in, don't stand near a school or ambulance. Hamas is using schools to fire rockets and ambulances as troop carriers.

    What's happening to civilians in Gaza is terrible but let's not forget, THEY elected a known terrorist organization as their government and allow the Hamas "fighters" to perpetuate the violence by lobbing rockets as they please from wherever they please. The blame falls squarely on the Hamas governments heads. They have been trying to twist perception of this for years.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  30. LJRoy

    Nice view from the hill. Hope you do some sightseeing before you head back home. Someday you should do a broadcast from these places just for fun and not just for a specific story. I'd help you if I could, of course.

    Violence from Israel, violence from Gaza which causes even violence from Israel. People have got to stop fighting each other. Time to put the weapons away from both sides.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  31. Serena

    It's hard to believe in a just war, as Israel's government claims this is, when they won't allow international reporters in to report. I understand the need for national defense; I do not understand, or agree, with terrorizing a civilian population. This is only pouring fuel on the fire of this decades-old crisis. I still wouldn't be in favor of this action if we had international reporter on the ground in Gaza, but it wouldn't seem quite so shady on Israel's part.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  32. Mari

    Unfortunately what he and other reporters may see will be destruction, death, misery, stravation, disease etc. It would be too horrific to see- remember Rwanda, Cambodia etc.
    Withouth images of what is going on in Gaza its difficult for the world to feel emotion towards what is going on there....

    January 6, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  33. Michael

    Hey Anderson, why aren't you and the other reporters out there focusing more on the fact that Hamas is hiding their rockets and ammunition in schools,, masques, homes, etc. risking the lives of the Palestinian people?! These terrorists who hide behind their innocent citizens aren't just committing a crime against Israel – but their own people. You need to give credit where credit is due. Hamas is an organization with amazing P.R. Where else can you find a terrorist group who make their enemies look worse they themselves?!

    January 6, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  34. Lidia

    Hey Anderson, can't you get in from the Jordanian border that way or I guss all borders are closed? Not sure just a suggestion.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  35. Esther

    We have friends in Israel, and Hamas has been steadily bombing Israel since October. Why hasn't the news media reported this??

    January 6, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  36. ScaryTruth

    Wonder why the only so called "Democracy " in the middle east always gets away from allowing journalists whenever there is a conflct that will show their atrocities and no western governent pressures them either. This so called democracy also has prevented the UN Atomic Energy Inspecters from visiting its facilities. Hmmm again the western countries never pressure her to submit to the international will. Seems like a theme,,,

    January 6, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  37. Jon

    The only reason for Israel not allowing reporters like Anderson Cooper enter Gaza is because they are looking out for their safety. And just like anything else, Israel would be blamed if he were to die there.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  38. Linden Best

    Israel is obviously trying very hard to control the messages our of Gaza but this is not being successful. The BBC, for one, is carrying reports from resident correspondents based in Gaza. Are these totally objective? Perhaps not, but the controlled messages out of Israel are certainly not either.

    Gaza needs to be open to journalists (and NOT the "imbedded" type!) so this story can get the coverage it deserves. Currently, the best coverage in English is being provided by the BBC, the Websites of the British newspapers, and Al Jazeera.

    Linden Best

    January 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  39. Jack Cohen

    Nothing is stopping reporters from going to Gaza through Egypt. Reporters do not necessarily have to go into Gaza through Israel. They can even use the tunnels that Hamas uses to smuggle weapons to enter Gaza and provide the world with their bias reports.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  40. Dan

    so now Israel won't let reporters into Gaza so that the world can see what is actually going on over there. This conflict becomes more and more ridiculous every year it continues, I hope you guys can get in.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  41. Doris

    Anderson, please take care and stay out of harms way. You have been lucky so far. I look forward to your broadcast each day and want to see you home safe once again.

    Grandma Doris, AZ

    January 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  42. TG

    I think it's good that reporters can't get in right now. I know when I was in desert storm you guys were just in the way and not only did we have to watch our own butts we had to look after the reporters also. Let the heavy stuff calm down some before going in that way it helps keep you safe. And please give the full story and not just the one sided like a lot of people do. If this was any other place besides Israel you wouldn't be hearing much about it.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  43. G HoSang

    Israel should stop the campaign. It is simply unfair.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  44. Adam

    Reporters shouldn't be allowed in, just as you shouldn't have been allowed into Iraq embedded with the military; you only get in the way and cause problems! The United States should take some notes from Israel on how to handle terrorist and military operations.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  45. Paula

    Hi Anderson, I would like reporters to be able to get in and report first hand the tragic situation of the palestinians living in Gaza. I believe that to be the only way to show the world that the excuse to defend one's country does not necessarily mean to wipe out another's civilization. On the other hand, I do enjoy watching 360 everynight and do not want to see you harm. Good luck to you and Nick Robertson.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  46. Steve

    Why would Israel want to let in reporters who act as PR agents for terrorists who stage fake attrocities? Where were calls for cease fires and stoppage of violence when it was Jewish civilians being targeted and killed?

    January 6, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  47. kane

    I would like to see what AC has to say about the situation in Gaza... In the war on Lebanon he was quite supportive of the massacres Israel committed on the Lebanese people... Mr. Cooper, over 630 Palestinians have died so far, are you going to say that Israel is still defending itself against rockets that have killed 23 people within the last 15 years.

    I hope you can put together news worth watching! Fair News! I don't watch our news anymore just because of the level of information they hide from the public... I hope this man has some sort of conscious.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  48. Yatin P

    Stay away Anderson...Its safer to be in Israel and report from there rather than going into Gaza. AC360 is nothing without you...


    January 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  49. Sam

    This is the whole point. Israel doesn't want foreign reporters in Gaza simply becuase they don't want the world to see what is happening. If there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza as they say and their soldiers are upholding human rights then WHY ARE REPORTERS BANNED FROM ENTERING GAZA??????

    January 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  50. jim

    It's about time a modern country fights a war the way they should be fought. There are no innocent civilians in a war, just one side versus the other. The people of that region voted for Hamas to be their representation and hence support their tactics and beliefs. It's time to bring the issues in the middle East to a head and end the decades of living with terror.

    January 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
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