Sixteen years ago today, in the midst of the Second Intifada, Alison Weir set off to Palestine as an independent reporter, bent on seeing for herself the reality behind the news headlines that depicted Israel under storm by hostile Arabs. She had never visited Israel or Palestine and was completely new to understanding the so-called “Mideast Conflict.”
Weir traveled alone through Gaza and the West Bank, witnessing the carnage and tragedy Israel was inflicting on Palestinians, interviewing families and visiting wounded children in hospitals. She quickly realized that the reality was the inverse of what the American media portrayed, and concluded that the story of the dispossession and occupation of the Palestinians was perhaps the most covered-up story she’d ever seen.
Weir vowed to share what she had learned with her fellow Americans. Upon returning to the U.S. she founded If Americans Knew to inform Americans about the true facts of Israel-Palestine and to counter misinformation and distortion in the US press.
Some of her first reports from the trip can be read here (one was reprinted in The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid, by Verso Press) and some of her photos are here. These photos from 2001 show the massive destruction in Gaza before any Gazan rockets were ever fired at Israel.
Here is a photo she took of Gaza at the time: