Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Hamas

Why Palestinians in West Bank feel trampled and humiliated by Israel settlers?

The Palestinians are not armed and the Palestinian Authority shields the settlers

A dozen Palestinian youths have been shot and killed at close range with live bullets by settlers and Israel army in the West Bank last month.

A Captain emptied his machine gun on a US Palestinian youth of 14 and was acquitted.

Extracts from 3 Hamas governmental documents that completely debunk the dark picture western media has painted around this organisation, and to re-confirm that it is Israel who is standing in the way of the two-state solution:

“We stress the need to reinforce the spirit of tolerance, cooperation, coexistence among the Muslims, the Christians, and the Samaritans in the framework of citizenship that does not discriminate against any on the basis of religion or creed.”

“The right of return of all Palestinian refugess and displaced persons to their land and properties, and the right to self-determination and all other national rights, are in-alienable and cannot be bargained away from any political concessions.”

“The organizing system of the Palestinian political action should be based on political freedoms, pluralism, the freedom to form parties, to hold elections, and on the peaceful rotation of power.

These are guarantees for the implementation of reforms and for fighting corruption and building a developed Palestinian civil society…

[Hamas will] adopt dialogue and reason to resolve internal disputes, and will forbid infighting or the use or threat of force in internal affairs. [Hamas will] emphasize respect for public liberties including the freedom of speech, the press, assembly, movement, and work.

[Hamas] forbids arbitrary arrest based on political opinion. It will maintain the institutions of civil society and activate its role in monitoring and accountability.

[Hamas] will guarantee the rights of minorities and respect them in all aspects on the basis of full citizenship… Public money belongs to all Palestinians and should be used for comprehensive Palestinian development in ways that fulfill social justice and fairness in geographical distribution without misuse, squandering, usurpation, corruption, and defalcation.”

“We will stress transparency and accountability in dealing with public funds… [and] modernize laws and regulations in order to increase the efficiency of the executive system… and embrace decentralization and delegation of power and participation in decision making.

[Hamas] will revise the policy of public employment in ways that will guarantee equal opportunities on the basis of qualification.”

“The aim is to achieve equality before the law among citizens in rights and duties; bring security to all citizens and protect their properties and assure their safety against arbitrary arrest, torture, or regenge; stress the culture of dialogue…; support the press and media institutions and maintain the right of journalists to access and publish information, maintain freedom and independence of professional syndicates and preserve the rights of their membership.”

“Our hands will remain extended to all. Consultation and dialogue on all issues of common concern will always remain our policy to achieve the supreme national interests of our people and nation. The door for participation in the government will remain open. This homeland is for all, it is the destiny and future of all.”

“Our people have shown all creativity in their resistance to the occupation and set an example of patience, sacrifice, and steadfastness. Their creativity will also, God willing, be displayed in building and construction and in reinforcing the democratic choice, something that, if it succeeds, will be a model to be followed by freedom fighters and noble people in the world.”

Source: Hroub, Khaled (2006) A “New Hamas” Through its New Documents. Journal of Palestinian Studies, 35 (4). pp.6-27

Tonnie Choueiri  pointed out the story of Haia Abdel to my attention.

“We never had Hamas in the West Bank and yet the conditions there are more deplorable than ever!

At least in Gaza, Hamas arms their militants and they can shoot at an Israeli settler who is trespassing into Palestinian property.

I lived in a village in the WestBank for two years and saw horrific incidents happen to my family from these illegal settlers! Israel arms these Ben zonas and places them in the middle of our villages to terrorize and wreck havoc on us.

They come down at night and shoot their ak47s in our streets, burn our crops, inject our crops with chemicals, uproot and steal our trees, burn our cars, and in one case they even kidnapped my 6 year old cousin for an hour!

Remember that we Palestinian civilians cannot arm ourselves, it’s illegal. we can only call the Israeli army who come and protect the settlers instead of protecting us! We are told every time “go to Beit el and make a complaint” we go and then it really depends on the officers mood that day, sometimes he jots something down on a paper in hebrew so we can’t read it, but most of the times, he does nothing.

Slowly and surely every month, they would say that our land is under a military order because of all the problems (remember these are problems the Shilo and mizpe rahel mezdayens caused) and move in closer and closer into our properties, they confiscate it, and give it to the illegal settlers! This is land which my family along with all the other families in the village own deeds to!

So, if we get upset and try to remove settlers from our land, we are arrested, shot at, and labeled terrorists. If we spend money and energy to take these illegal settlers to Israeli courts and the court rule years later that we are right, no one removes the illegal settlers and they stay and build on our land anyway!

What are we to do?

How can we protect our lands and properties?

We are a farming village, our livelihoods depend on our crops and our lands.

I should mention that mizpe rahel already has taken over 1,000 dunums of our land in the past 3 years alone!”
Haia Abdel


“It is HAMAS protecting me…” A Christian woman in Gaza

Maryam Raniyah wrote:

“One more time: I am a Christian of Gaza and I’m not persecuted by Hamas, I am not suffering under the rule of Hamas!

I am suffering under Zionist blockade, Zionist rule, siege is killing me, not Hamas!

Zionists are bombing my country, not Hamas! I’m suffering under the Zionist occupation.

I AM SUFFERING BECAUSE OF ISRAEL AND ZIONISM. We Palestinians, all of us, are suffering because of Israel…and Hamas only protects me.

If Hamas or other resistance groups were not here, I would be already dead, Israel would have killed me,

If Hamas was not here, Israel would already destroyed my land, my beloved Gaza.

And so the sentence: “Christians of Gaza are suffering under the Hamas rule is a big lie, it’s bullshit”

Naomi replied:

And this very interesting post apparently from Gaza — Maryam I would love it if you would report more on your life there.

Anything, how you get groceries and how you get the kids to school if you have them — how the day goes…how are people doing around you….details…anything you wish to share.

Each time, Israel has disregarded the agreements while Hamas has lived up to them (as Israel concedes).

Until some Israeli escalation elicits a Hamas response, which gives Israel another opportunity to “mow the lawn,” in its elegant phrase.

The interim periods of “quiet” (meaning one-way quiet) allow Israel to carry forward its policies of taking over whatever it values in the West Bank, leaving Palestinians in dismembered cantons.

All, of course, with crucial US support: military, economic, diplomatic and ideological, in framing the issues in accord with Israel’s basic perspective.

Noam Chomsky Humanity for Palestine Robert Martin Fighting for humanity

The accents of the Israeli team

For many, following all the ins and outs of the Israeli-Palestinian saga can be confusing.  Hamas did that, the Israeli army did that.

They started the war. No, they started the war.  They broke the ceasefire.  No, they broke the ceasefire.  Hummus belongs to them. No, it belongs to them.

It is all very overwhelming.  One thing is glaringly clear.

American journalists seem to have a much easier time having conversations with Israeli officials than they do with their Palestinian counterparts.  The reason is obvious.

All of Israel’s official mouthpieces speak perfect unaccented English.  And why wouldn’t they?  After all, they are not from Israel.


Amer Zahr published this August 6, 2014:

Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, and speaker living in Michigan. He is also the editor of “The Civil Arab.” Email Amer Zahr.

Here are the cast of characters acting as Israel’s cheerleaders to the American public.

1. Peter Lerner is the foreign press spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces.  He was born in London in 1973.  He immigrated to Israel in 1985.

Hebrew, one of the two official languages of Israel (yes, Arabic is an official language too, because Israel is a democracy), is his second language.  You might have wondered why Peter Lerner sounds more like a spokesperson for the Queen than he does for Israel.  Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.


2. Dore Gold is a diplomat who has served in many Israeli governments.  He was once Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.  He is currently the president of an Israeli think tank in Jerusalem.  He was born in Connecticut, attended high school in Massachusetts, and earned a BA, MA, and PhD from Columbia University in New York City.

He has appeared on television numerous times during Israel’s latest offensive defending and explaining the policies of the Netanyahu government.  As you might expect, his English is perfect.  Mr. Gold lives in Jerusalem.

He might even live in a house that once belonged to Palestinians:  trust me, in Jerusalem, it’s a safe bet.  You might have wondered why Dore Gold sounds like a Yankees fan.  Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.

3. Mark Regev is the official spokesman of the Netanyahu government.  In 1960, he was born in Australia, where he grew up and finished college.

He immigrated to Israel at the age of 22, when he began his graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  He has remained in his adopted homeland ever since.  Hebrew is also his second language.

You might have wondered why the official Israeli spokesman sounds like Crocodile Dundee.  Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.

4. Michael Oren was most recently Israel’s ambassador to the United States.  He was born in upstate New York.  He earned his MA and PhD from Princeton University in New Jersey.  He immigrated to Israel in his mid-twenties. He has lectured at dozens of American campuses.

He articulately defends Israeli policies on American televisions across our great country.  Well, he is usually articulate, if you don’t count his recent interview on MSNBC when he suddenly (and quite conveniently) couldn’t hear Andrea Mitchell when she asked him about reports that Israel had eavesdropped on John Kerry last year.

But even when he flusters and fumbles, he speaks eloquent East Coast English.  You might have wondered why Michael Oren sounds like an American university professor.  Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.

5. Micky Rosenfeld is the Israeli police spokesperson to the foreign press.  He speaks English flawlessly.  That’s because he is English.  Yup, he was born in England and grew up there.  He is blond and blue-eyed.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  He grew up with Duran Duran, the English Premiere League, and bland food.

The garlicky cuisine of his new homeland must have come as a bit of a shock to him.  You might have wondered why Micky Rosenfeld sounds like Piers Morgan.  Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.

6. Ron Dermer is Israel’s current ambassador to the United States of America. He has been all over CNN in recent weeks.  He attended the University of Pennsylvania before moving to Israel is his twenties.  He was born in 1971 in Miami Beach, where both his father and brother were once the mayor there.

He is one of Netanyahu’s closest advisers, writing many of his speeches, in English I assume.  He is highly educated, yet for some reason he still sounds obnoxious and rude during just about every interview.  You might have wondered why Ron Dermer sounds like a whiny kid from Florida. Why wouldn’t he? He is, after all, a foreigner in the land of Israel.


Now I don’t really mind that all of these Israeli messengers speak perfect English in American, Australian, and British accents.  However, I do mind that with all that Western education they still can’t pronounce “Hamas.”

They insist on continuing to say “Khamas.”  This is just offensive.  Hamas is already frightening enough with its crappy rockets, ancient rifles, and hooded militants.

Do they really have to add that chilling “kha” sound?

Do they do that with all “h” sounds?

It would make some nursery rhymes seem just downright scary.  “Khumpty Dumpty sat on a wall” just sounds alarming.  C’mon guys. It’s “Hamas,” like “happy.”  Just think that.  Hamas. Happy. Hamas. Happy. See, it works.

In any case, this is the cast of characters acting as Israel’s cheerleaders to the American public.

Justifying racial supremacy, ethnic cleansing, and indiscriminate bombing campaigns definitely sounds better when it’s done in an accent we can all relate to.

But I’m sure every American listening to them still wonders why all these Israelis sound like the next door neighbor.  Why wouldn’t they?  They are, after all, foreigners in the land of Israel.  Foreign colonist settlers.

Not in the mood to hear of peace right now

Never ask me about peace again

Tears flowed abundantly when I received a telephone call on Aug. 3, informing me that my family had been targeted by two F-16 missiles in the city of Rafah.

Such was the fate of our family in a war that still continues, with every family in the Gaza Strip receiving its share of sorrow and pain.

Summary⎙ Print A first-hand account of the aftermath of an Israeli strike that killed 9 members of the author’s family.
Asmaa al-Ghoul Posted August 4, 2014. Translator Kamal Fayad

My father’s brother, Ismail al-Ghoul, 60, was not a member of Hamas. His wife, Khadra, 62, was not a militant of Hamas. Their sons, Wael, 35, and Mohammed, 32, were not combatants for Hamas. Their daughters, Hanadi, 28, and Asmaa, 22, were not operatives for Hamas, nor were my cousin Wael’s children, Ismail, 11, Malak, 5, and baby Mustafa, only 24 days old, members of Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Fatah.

Yet, they all died in the Israeli shelling that targeted their home at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Their house was located in the Yibna neighborhood of the Rafah refugee camp. It was one story with a roof made of thin asbestos that did not require two F-16 missiles to destroy.

Would someone please inform Israel that refugee camp houses can be destroyed, and their occupants killed, with only a small bomb, and that it needn’t spend billions to blow them into oblivion?

If it is Hamas that you hate, let me tell you that the people you are killing have nothing to do with Hamas.

They are women, children, men and senior citizens whose only concern was for the war to end, so they can return to their lives and daily routines. But let me assure you that you have now created thousands of Hamas loyalists, for we all become Hamas if Hamas, to you, is women, children and innocent families.

If Hamas, in your eyes, is ordinary civilians and families, then I am Hamas, they are Hamas and we are all Hamas.

Throughout the war, we thought that the worst had passed, that this was the pivotal moment when matters would improve, that they would stop there.

Yet, that real moment of pain, of extreme fear, was always followed by something even worse.

Now I understood why the photographs of corpses were so important, not only for international public opinion, but for us, the families, in search for an opportunity to bid farewell to our loved ones, so treacherously killed.

What were my family members doing in those last moments? What did they look like after their death?

I discovered the photos of my dead relatives on social networking sites.

The bodies of my cousin’s children were stored in an ice cream freezer.

Rafah’s Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital was closed after being shelled by Israeli tanks, and the Kuwaiti Hospital that we visited just a day earlier had become an alternate venue, where this freezer was the only option available.

Al-Najjar’s director, Abdullah Shehadeh, told Al-Monitor, “We decided to move the patients when shells hit the main gate. Some patients, out of fear, ran out, despite the gravity of the security situation. We are now working out of this ill-equipped hospital.”

The Emirati Red Crescent Maternity Hospital, west of Rafah, has been transformed into a large container for corpses, with fruit and vegetable freezers filled with dozens of bodies.

I saw corpses on the floor, some with nametags on their chests, while others remained unknown. We held our noses, for the stench was unbearable, as flies filled the air.

Ibrahim Hamad, 27, removed his 5-year-old son’s shroud-wrapped body from a vegetable freezer. Fighting back tears, he told Al-Monitor, “He died as a result of a reconnaissance drone missile attack. His body has been here since yesterday. The dangerous situation prevented me from coming to take him any sooner.”

My relatives were quickly buried, and  my cousins Mustafa, Malak and Ismail did not remain long in a freezer, lest their bodies freeze, and their souls now rest in peace, leaving us with nothing but the silence of death and bodies forever trapped in the postures of their passing.

On the 5th day of the war, when I went to write my Rafah report about the shelling of the Ghannam family, I stopped by to visit my cousin’s house. I saw my relatives and we took photographs together. During the war, my cousin Wael’s wife had given birth to twins, Mustafa and Ibrahim, who were like two tiny angels, harbingers of hope and joy.

How could I have known that this would be our last meeting?

I wish I had stayed longer and talked to them some more. Hanadi, Asmaa, my uncle and his wife laughed as they joked about the twist of fate that brought us together in the middle of a war, at a time when Israeli occupation forces had not yet begun perpetrating their wanton war crimes against Rafah.

Endings are so strange, as are living moments that suddenly become relegated to the past. We will never see them again, and the pictures that I took of the twins are now so precious, as one of them, Mustafa, was killed, while the other, Ibrahim, remained alive.

I wonder how they could differentiate between them, for they looked so much alike. Who identified them when their father died and their mother lay wounded in intensive care? Who was Mustafa, and who was Ibrahim? It was as if they had merged upon one twin’s death.

In the photos taken after their death, my family looked so peaceful, asleep with their eyes closed. None of them were disfigured or burned, unlike hundreds of dead children and civilians that US-made weapons killed before them.

We wondered if they died in pain. What happened when the missile, carrying tons of explosives, impacted their modest house and exploded, creating air pressure so fierce that their internal organs burst? Their suffering was perhaps lessened by the fact that they were sleeping.

I didn’t see them when I went to Rafah on Aug. 2. I wrote about the death of the Ayad Abu Taha family, which was targeted by warplanes, and saw the corpse of Rizk Abu Taha, one year old, when it arrived at the Kuwaiti Hospital.

I observed him at length. He looked alive. One could see that he had been playing when he died, dressed in his pink pants. How could he be at such peace? The bodies of war victims look so different from how they appear on television. They are so real, so substantial, suddenly there before you, without any newscast introductions, music or slogans.

Bodies lay everywhere, and it was if everything in life had been to prepare us for this moment. Suddenly, the dead left their personal lives behind: their cell phones, homes, clothes, perfumes and daily chores. Most importantly, they left the fear of war behind.

Distances in the small Gaza Strip have grown larger, distances and time expanding as a result of the fear and death that shrank the life expectancy of the populace.

We were unable to join the family for the funerals. My uncle, Ahmad al-Ghoul, later told me over the phone, “Because of the inherent danger, our goodbyes to them lasted mere seconds. Malak’s eyes laid open, as if to ask, ‘What wrong did I commit?‘”

I was born in 1982, in that same house in Rafah’s refugee camp, where the family’s large household expanded. I grew up there, and everything else grew with us: the first intifada, the resistance, my nearby school that I walked to every day.

There, I saw my first-ever book library. There, I remember seeing my grandfather fall asleep as he listened to the BBC. And there, I laid eyes on the first Israeli soldier in my life, striking my grandfather to force him to erase the national slogans that adorned the walls of our refugee camp home.

Now, the house and its future memories have been laid to waste, its children taken to early graves.

Homes and recollections bombed into oblivion, their inhabitants homeless and lost, just as their camp always had been. Never ask me about peace again.

Read more:

Note: Italian journalist and photographer Simone Camilli died as a team were dismantling an unexploded Israeli/US missile in Gaza a few days ago

”Camilli once said a favorite story of his was about a group of clowns performing for young Syrian refugees, bringing moments of happiness to the lives of the boys and girls who fled the civil war.”

Indeed Simone Camilli did an amazing job. he really captured the right atmosphere with his lens. And he was looking forward to doing more videos about social clowning.

here’s the link of his work. we were lucky to have him with us. What a special person/artist he was.

See More

“I think the only philosophy behind this is having fun and how, like, what’s best than going from a war zone where you have people who are feeling unsafe, who are feeling really unhappy and feeling horrified of…



Foreign press: Hamas didn’t censor us in Gaza.

Hamas fighters and leaders were nowhere to be found

Reporters who covered Operation Protective Edge in Gaza dismiss Israeli accusations of giving Hamas an easy ride.

Anshel Pfeffer Published this 08.08.14

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Aug. 6, 2014, news conference in Jerusalem regarding Hamas firing rockets into Israel. / Photo by AP Photo/Jim Hollander Po…
On Wednesday night Benjamin Netanyahu briefed the foreign press, summing up four weeks of warfare in Gaza. “Now that the members of the press are leaving Gaza and are no longer subjected to Hamas restrictions and intimidation,” he said,” I expect we will see even more documentation of Hamas terrorists hiding behind the civilian population, exploiting civilian targets. I think it’s very important for the truth to come out.”The prime minister’s voice betrayed no rancor but his words masked a deep frustration in his office over what one adviser called “a conspiracy of silence” by the foreign correspondents reporting from Gaza for the past month.

They have remained silent over how no one digs too deep into the Hamas side or into how they use civilians as human shields,” the adviser said. “That’s how they get an opportunity to cover Gaza, and it creates an imbalanced picture, which is bad for Israel. We should be trying to expose that.”

Netanyahu’s expectations have yet to be fulfilled.

Of the 710 foreign journalists who crossed into Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, only a handful have claimed they were intimidated by Hamas or produced hitherto unpublished footage of rockets being fired from civilian areas, such as the pictures filmed by Indian channel NDTV, which were shown at the Netanyahu briefing.

Maybe such footage will still emerge — all the foreign correspondents interviewed for this piece insisted that it doesn’t exist, and not because they wouldn’t have liked to obtain such pictures.

“It’s a phony controversy,” said one reporter who spent three weeks in Gaza and, like most who were interviewed, asked to remain anonymous. “This is a post-facto attempt to claim the media’s biased and Netanyahu [is] therefore infallibly right.”

Elusive Rockets

But how could Hamas and other Palestinian organizations launch 2,657 rockets and mortar shells from Gaza, Israeli officials ask, and only NDTV reporter Sreenivasan Jain captured a launcher on film?

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor says he can’t believe “how veteran war photographers couldn’t capture even one launch team, a single Hamas fighter on a barricade, the kind of exclusive photo they routinely risk their neck for.”

“What nonsense,” says one senior correspondent based in Israel. “The fact that NDTV succeeded proves nothing; it was an almost unbelievable opportunity. There are places which are just too dangerous and a photographer has to first protect himself.”

“I didn’t see a rocket at point of launch,” says one European photographer who left Gaza a few days ago, “but I did see a lot in the air, and those pictures were published. If I had a chance I would have photographed launchers, but they were well hidden. Israel, with all its sensors and drones, didn’t find them all.”

“You couldn’t tell exactly where a rocket was being launched from,” says an American reporter. ”Often they were hundreds of yards away, although you could hear the launch and see the contrails. We didn’t hesitate to mention the general area in our reports, but that didn’t necessarily add much.”

“There are always some gung-ho photojournalists who would go to any front line, no matter how dangerous,” says Anne Barnard, the New York Times Beirut bureau chief, who spent two weeks reporting from Gaza.

But that requires essentially an informal embed with the militants, to even be able to locate them without getting caught in crossfire on the way. Our team in Gaza noted frequently in stories that Hamas operates in urban areas and from farm fields. We mentioned witnessing specific rocket launches in numerous stories, witnessing the rocket going up from some distance away, that is. But in two weeks I never saw a rocket crew; for obvious reasons, to avoid getting a hit by Israeli strikes, they try not to be seen.”

Missing in Action

The elusive rocket launchers are only one detail in the Israeli criticism. Where were the Hamas attackers throughout the operation? Why are pictures of uniformed and armed fighters totally absent from the coverage?

“I described the few Hamas fighters I saw in my pieces,” says one veteran war reporter, “but there were so few of them. It reminded me a lot of Lebanon in 2006, where you didn’t really see Hezbollah fighters even right at the border. Except for one chance encounter with a mortar team who looked embarrassed to be spotted. It was the same in Iraq, too, in the 2003 insurgency. Most of the time the fighters were invisible and dangerous.”

Reporter after reporter returning from Gaza has spoken of how, with the notable exception of spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas fighters melted away during the warfare, even abandoning their regular checkpoint at the entrance to the Strip from Erez, so no one was checking the journalists’ passports.

“Members of the political wing could only very occasionally be found or talked to,“ says Barnard. “This was frustrating because, of course, there are many questions they should be asked, not just to respond to Israeli allegations but to evaluate their performance on their own terms and those of Palestinians in Gaza: Are their strategy and tactics effective? Do they believe they have popular support for their conduct of the conflict and the decisions they made? How do they respond to people who complain that they went into hiding and left ordinary people who had no choice about the fact that their neighbor was in Hamas to be targets?”

The New York Times came in for specific criticism from pro-Israel advocates who focused on the seeming failure of its star photographer, Tyler Hicks, to capture any militants in his camera lens.

“Tyler saw some guys come out of a hole in the side of a building in Shujaiyeh during the brief cease-fire on July 20,” recalls Barnard. “They were without guns but making gestures to say no photos. I put that in the story. Tyler also took pictures of at least one Hamas member being buried, but again funerals were harder to access than usual because they were held quickly and without much fanfare and [with] few mourners because of the danger. You could understand why they stayed out of sight: Israel appeared to be defining Hamas targets very broadly, to include any member of the Hamas administered police, government, etc. They may have felt that they would be targets, and so would the reporters they were talking to. We certainly were concerned about that ourselves.”

“There’s been a lot of talk about Hamas preventing us from seeing them,” says another correspondent with extensive experience in covering Middle East wars. “But the fact is that the areas they were fighting in were just too dangerous. If I had tried to report from Shujaiyeh during the fighting, I would probably have got killed. Hamas isn’t a regular army: When they leave the fighting areas, they don’t wear uniforms or carry guns.”

None of this impresses the Foreign Ministry’s Palmor. “The fact remains [that] we didn’t see anywhere pictures of fighters carrying weapons or launching rockets. There were humanitarian cease-fires when they were free to walk around without being attacked. Why didn’t they try to photo them then? I don’t think anyone was in Hamas’s pay.

That’s why the question mark is so large. We know Hamas were trying very hard to hide, not just for their security but for propaganda purposes. We have heard of reporters who said they weren’t allowed near fighters and were threatened. But this is the A-Team of the war-reporting profession. How did Hamas succeed so completely?”

Press Freedom

This is perhaps the biggest bone of contention that Israeli spokesmen have with the foreign media corps: Why won’t they acknowledge they were being pressured and monitored by Hamas? All but a few journalists deny there was any such pressure.

“I wasn’t intimidated at any point,” says one seasoned war reporter. “I didn’t feel Hamas were a threat to my welfare any more than Israeli bombings. I’m aware some people had problems, but nothing beyond what you would expect covering a conflict. Hamas’s levels of intimidation weren’t any worse than what you occasionally experience at the hands of the IDF, which didn’t allow access to fighting for most of the conflict either. As a rule no armed forces permit you to broadcast militarily sensitive information.”

If anything, most reporters are complaining that Hamas seemed to make little effort to engage with the media. “How could there be Hamas censorship if there was no Hamas to be seen?” says one exasperated reporter.

“The American military, and many others including Israel, imposes limits on embedded reporters under which you cannot reveal troop movements, weapons locations and other info that could compromise ‘operational security,’” says another experienced correspondent. “There was no such official restriction from Hamas because there was no embed and almost no contact. Hamas did not complain about anything to anyone on our team.”

In a few cases, journalists who tweeted on their personal Twitter accounts about seeing rockets launched from specific areas deleted the tweets after other Twitter users complained. Most of these complaints seem to have come, though, from local residents who were worried that they would lead to Israeli strikes. “I heard that Hamas officials made inquiries about a reporter who tweeted about rocket launches,” says one journalist, “but it seemed they were asking to see if she was really a reporter and not a spy.”

In another case, a number of reporters have said off the record that Hamas officials summoned one photographer and warned him that they would confiscate his camera if he didn’t delete a certain picture. There are also reports of fighters brandishing rifles to prevent photographers from taking their picture, but all the reporters insist these were isolated cases.

“Look, no one is claiming for one moment that Hamas is an enlightened organization that believes in freedom of the press,” says one reporter who has been visiting Gaza for years. “I don’t think I have to mention that fact in every report I make. At least over the last month, they (resistance fighters) were simply too busy fighting to bother themselves very much with the media.”

Government officials are convinced that the great majority of foreign journalists are simply too embarrassed to admit that they worked under Hamas monitoring. “It’s clear that they were being intimidated and had to face abnormal pressure,” says one spokesman. “We know of specific cases in which they were harassed and menaced.”

“I can’t really judge them,” says another senior press official. “It is extremely difficult with Hamas in your hotel lobby and in the corridor.”

Asymmetric Journalism

“Israel wants reporters to write about the conflict as it conceived it, as a security problem framed by the IDF,” says one reporter with 30 years experience in hot spots worldwide. “Most journalists chose to report it from the point of view of [the] humanitarian impact of conflict, which is what war reporters actually usually do. They’re not writing like defense correspondents. I personally chose not to speak to Hamas mouthpieces because I hold Hamas propaganda in as much contempt as that of Netanyahu.”

“In all conflicts, reporters are loathe to ‘serve’ either side by revealing information that could lead to a specific strike in real time,” says the New York Times’s Barnard. “Even information that could be seen as having led to a specific strike.

“First of all, that could endanger all reporters by making them be seen as spies. But beyond that, we are observers, not participants. We don’t want to be the reason that, say, a bomb was dropped. What if it killed a bystander? So let’s say I had seen a rocket launch from a specific building in Gaza, which I did not, I would not have reported it in real time, by my own choice. For one thing I wouldn’t want the return strike to come while I was standing there. That said, I also assume the Israeli military has better ways than reporters’ tweets to know where rockets are launched from. But I would, and did, report launches that we saw, in stories a few hours later.”

“Much of the criticism from the government, and groups monitoring the [coverage,] is from people who don’t understand the real role of the media. They just want to see which side ‘wins’ in each report,” says a another journalist in Gaza. “Our job isn’t to give out points, and this isn’t a game. The great majority of our readers simply rely on us to explain what is happening here.”

But Israeli spokesmen find it hard to accept such a view of the reporters’ role in Gaza. “Their entire objective seems to be to supply pictures of dead babies and blood,” says one. “Not context.” Another spokesman echoes him, saying that “when it gets down to pictures of dead children, then Israel can’t win because we don’t have any. That’s the fact of life.”

Many reporters, especially those belonging to large news organizations that had reporters and teams on both sides of the conflict, dispute these claims.

“There’s an asymmetry here, not just in the warfare but also in the coverage,” says one bureau chief. “You can’t cover an organized army and a guerrilla group in the same way, and it’s pointless to try. You have to find the correct proportions in each report and news package, and I believe we did a good job of that.”

Not all the Israeli officials share the criticism. Nitzan Chen, director-general of the Government Press Office, says that “you can’t judge the correspondents without having been in their place. At the end of the day they also have families and want to get home in one piece. Their job isn’t to do [PR] for Israel; they don’t work for us. All in all, I think the coverage was relatively balanced.”

On the other side are some correspondents who accept at least a bit of the Israeli criticism.

“Looking back, I should have at least tried to report a bit more about the Hamas fighters and still plan to,” says one reporter still in Gaza.

“There was just so much work around the civilian casualties and the destruction that it swamped us. Going to home after destroyed home, where multiple family members were killed, was just too shocking, even for those who had covered Syria.

The civilian angle took up nearly all the attention, but the Hamas angle should have got more coverage, especially the fact [that] they were fighting with so much greater tenacity and discipline than in 2009 and, to judge by the Israeli strikes, had hidden weapons in private homes and mosques. That should have been covered better, but there was just so much death all around.”

Hamas offers deal to Israel: 10 conditions for a 10 year truce


Report: Hamas offers Israel 10 conditions for a 10 year truce


The Jerusalem Post reports, based on an Israeli Channel 2 newscast, that Azmi Bishara announced the proposal on Al Jazeera television today.

Bishara, a former Israeli Knesset member, fled Israel in 2007 after being accused of spying for Hezbollah. He is currently living in Qatar where he is a high level government advisor.

According to Ma’ariv (Hebrew) these are the conditions:

1. Withdrawal of Israeli tanks from the Gaza border (No sweat and gladly).

2. Freeing all the prisoners that were arrested after the killing of the three youths (No sweat for the return of Aron).

3. Lifting the siege and opening the border crossings to commerce and people. (Israel may agree but will not apply it, as all conditions that Israel doesn’t want)

4. Establishing an international seaport and airport which would be under U.N. supervision (humm).

5. Increasing the permitted fishing zone to 10 kilometers. (why not? As long as the Gaza offshore gas reserves are outside this zone)

6. Internationalizing the Rafah Crossing and placing it under the supervision of the U.N. and some Arab nations (Forget the Arab nations: they are totally useless).

7. International forces on the borders. (Great idea. People in Gaza need badly the practical contributions of these forces and money, as South Lebanon has been benefiting)

8. Easing conditions for permits to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque. (Abbass is helpless in this case, as in so many other cases. Funny, a permit to pray)

9. Prohibition on Israeli interference in the reconciliation agreement (between Fateh in the West Bank and Hamas). (How can be implemented?)

10. Reestablishing an industrial zone and improvements in further economic development in the Gaza Strip.

Note 1: And after 10 years, Israel will eradicate all the infrastructure within 3 days of carpet bombing

Note 2: Since 2008, kids in Gaza have experience three major preemptive wars, and they will dare not hope for a 10-year reprieve.

About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY.

Jon Stewart: Attacked by pro-Zionist roster of correspondents 

Many have accused Jon Stewart of being pro-Hamas for expressing sympathy for the residents of Gaza, where more than 620 people have been killed — including at least 100 children — in recent fighting with Israel.

So on Monday night’s “Daily Show,” just about the entire roster of correspondents popped up to scream at him any time he uttered the word “Israel.”

“Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this,” Stewart said when the shouting subsided. “But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”

That of course led to a new round of shouts and insults, prompting Stewart to turn to a “lighter” topic: Ukraine.

Watch the clip above for more.




April 2020

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