After witnessing the killing of four Palestinian boys of the same family by Israeli forces on a the beach of Gaza, as they played soccer, NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin (who has received advanced glorification for his courageous and innovative coverage of the war) was ordered by NBC to leave Gaza without delay. Mohyeldin was kicking a soccer ball around with the boys literally minutes before they were killed.
This video contains graphic content
Mohyeldin is a longtime reporter who covered many Middle East events. During the 2008-2009 Israeli offensive on Gaza; he was one of the only foreign journalists reporting from Gaza.
He made many reports about Gaza and Israeli occupation, sparking criticism from some supporters of the Israeli offensive. Back in 2008 and 2009, when he worked for Al Jazeera, Mohyeldin and his colleague Sherine Tadros were the only foreign journalists on the ground in Gaza as Israel killed 1,400 people in what it called “Operation Cast Lead.”
A source inside NBC said that the executives claimed the decision came due to “security concerns,” as Israel started its ground invasion. But soon after, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli offensive (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic). A source also told the Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone that executives were motivated by those concerns.
Mohyeldin reported on the savage killing by Israeli gunboats of the four young boys (who were between the ages of 9 and 11 and all from the same family) as they played football on a beach in Gaza. He spoke about the moments before their death and posted many frightening details on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, including the victims’ names and ages, photographs he took of their suffering parents, and a video of one of their mothers as she learned about the death of her young son.
He interviewed one of the wounded boys at the hospital shortly before being operated on. He then appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, where he described what he witnessed in Gaza.
Democracy Now spoke to Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, who exposed that the decision to pull Mohyeldin from Gaza and remove him from reporting on the situation came from NBC executive David Verdi. According to Democracy Now, NBC News did not respond to Democracy Now!’s repeated requests for getting more details about its decision.
“The way that this came to my attention was that there are people inside NBC News, including some very recognizable and high-profile journalists, who were very angry that, first of all, when NBC News with Brian Williams reported on the killing of those four boys on the beach, instead of having their journalist who made this event known to the world and who witnessed it firsthand, Ayman, report on it, they instead had Richard Engel in Tel Aviv do the reporting, and Ayman never appeared at all on the Nightly News broadcast. But that, you can chalk up to sort of standard network news machinations about who’s a bigger star and who’s more senior and the like.” Greenwald said.
Mohyeldin‘s Twitter feed has been inactive for a few days since NBC decision, although he provided his eyewitness account on the Today show, he was conspicuously absent from that evening’s broadcast of NBC Nightly News. But only days after NBC pulled him from Gaza, Ayman Mohyeldin will return to the region as a correspondent, NBC said on Friday, July 18.
Despite the fact that the real reasons behind NBC decision are still unknown, Mohyeldin wrote on his twitter: “Thanks for all the support. I’m returning to #Gaza to report. Proud of NBC’s continued commitment to cover the #Palestinian side of the story.”
Israel has been attacking Gaza barbarity for over 10 consecutive days, murdering more than 350 people and injuring more than 3000 others. UN reports said 77% of the victims in Gaza are civilian and defenseless people. As the offensive continues, these numbers will unfortunately continue to rise.