We need to talk about journalists in Gaza.
“Almost all of them are tied up with Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Almost all of them celebrate the murder of Jews.”
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Hamas just announced that 107 journalists have been killed in the war that it started against Israel.
That’s a crazy number, and one that even the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has said is misleading: Some of the “journalists” killed in Gaza are in fact Hamas employees, and people who work for the terror group should be mourned as such.
Hamas, of course, commingles all deaths and merges them into one massively inflated number to make it appear as though Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. As the joke of late goes: Why does it seem like all Hamas terrorists magically turn into child-aged journalists immediately upon their death?
For truly innocent and uninvolved journalists, their deaths are indeed regretful. Sorrow is not a sign of weakness, nor of losing one’s way, nor of harming the righteousness of this way.
Even in wartime, there is a plenty of space for humanity. The Israeli soldiers who came to a little Palestinian girl who had lost her way, with an injured leg, and they treated her and bandaged her to stop the bleeding, and the soldiers who give truly uninvolved Palestinians food and water because Hamas loots virtually all incoming aid to the strip — they are no less good soldiers. Indeed, they are great soldiers.
And when, as part of the war against the terrorist organization, innocents are also harmed — we know, and the world must know, that this is not about maliciously harming innocents on the Palestinian side, but about protecting innocents on the Israeli side. Yes, war is a cruel zero-sum game more often than not.
There is no need to rely on the data published by Hamas to know that innocent people are being killed. After all, digging into civilian homes, schools, mosques, and hospitals is the method that Hamas has developed and perfected, more than any terrorist organization in the world. But killing innocent people is not proof of a war crime.
International law, it should be noted, does not prohibit harming terrorists just because they are hiding among civilian populations, and vice versa. International law states that “the existence of a protected person shall not be used as a reason to inoculate certain points or areas from military operations.”1 Therefore, harming innocents is the responsibility of Hamas. And only Hamas.
But don’t tell that to most media outlets around the world, which take the numbers and images of Palestinian deaths — including journalists’ deaths — at face value and deliver them via virtue-signaling TV anchors, reporters, and talking heads mostly enjoying the confines of far-far-away cozy and comfortable studios. They regret the deaths, pretend to care, and think out-loud in empty banalities, like: “Why can’t we all get along?” and “I thought there were no more wars.”
The reality is we do not have credible information about most of the dead, journalists notwithstanding. In general, many thousands are surely Hamas members, operatives, servants, and co-conspirators. And only a few make it to the headlines.
One of those few is Hamza Dahdouh, the son of veteran Al Jazeera correspondent Wael Dahdouh. Hamza, who is also classified as a journalist, and Mustafa Turia, a videographer working for the global news agency AFP, were killed during an Israeli strike on a vehicle that they were both in.
Harming journalists during wars, as we know, gets an extra boost of global media attention and thus public opinion. And when it comes to the Jewish state, much of the international press seeks information that aligns with the “Israel story,” a story of Jewish moral failure. The news media’s editorial line, predominantly, is that the conflict is Israel’s fault, and the Palestinians and the Arab world are blameless. As such, the uglier characteristics of Palestinian society are mostly untouched.
This charade serves the media’s interests, but misleads the public. Journalists dutifully report fabrications and know the content is self-aggrandizing manipulations that fail to inform the public about the more complex (and thus harder to explain) issues of history, policy, fraud and corruption, and geopolitics.
What has emerged, according to professor and author Paul Weaver, is a “culture of lying” — for example, all the media outlets across the world, from the New York Times to the BBC, publishing headlines along the lines of: “Two more journalists were killed in Gaza.”
Eight years ago, a BBC journalist even entered Hamas’ terror tunnels, escorted by terrorists. It was written all over the walls, but the world was cemetery silent; they chose to overlook or outright ignore. The BBC, for its part, decided to record and broadcast a “tour” of the tunnels like it was something to be honored.
U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, reacted to Hamza’s death in a similar fashion.
“I regret from the bottom of my heart the killing of Hamza,” said Blinken on Tuesday, when he addressed the matter at a press conference in Doha, Qatar (the country which founded and predominantly owns Al Jazeera). “I’m a parent myself,” added Blinken, “and it’s a tragedy. I am deeply, deeply sorry for the almost unimaginable loss. Too many innocents have been killed.”
Too many? How does he know? Does Blinken also rely on data from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry?
And what really happened to Hamza? Why did the IDF launch a missile that killed the vehicle’s two occupants, and injured a third?
Well, in the minutes before the incident, the IDF located a drone that was operating in the area. The drone was identified as a hostile aircraft, which had already been operated in the past by Hamas for the purpose of tracking the movements of IDF soldiers.
In this incident, the IDF was also able to identify the control device of that drone, which was in the exact same vehicle Hamza was in. And who was operating this drone? Mustafa Turia, a familiar figure to the IDF. Although a videographer, he was also a scout in the service of Hamas.
David Collier, an investigative journalist, researched on social media 100 of the “journalists” in Gaza. “Almost all of them are tied up with Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Almost all of them celebrate the murder of Jews,” he said.2
Ahmed Shahab is a good example. He was killed at his father’s home and is listed as a journalist. Had anyone accessed his social media, they’d know his father was a key Palestinian Islamic Jihad figure. “If that house was targeted, it had nothing to do with journalism,” said Collier.3
A video showed Reuters and AP journalist Ashraf Amra laughing at footage of an IDF soldier being lynched. Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa, a freelancer who has been working for Reuters, was photographed with Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza and mastermind of the terror group’s October 7th massacre, kissing Mostafa on the cheek.
Mostafa’s border photos, one of which seems to show the lynching he had shared on Amra’s Instagram Live, were recently selected by Reuters and the New York Times to be included in their 2023 “Images of the Year.”
According to a media report, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visited Amra in September in a hospital because Amra broke his hand, and Haniyeh told him that he appreciated Amra’s role and that of the Palestinian media in exposing “the crimes of the occupation.” Amra replied that the injury won’t prevent him from returning to his “national role.”
Amra has also been working alongside Hassan Eslaiah, a freelance photojournalist whose infiltration into Israel on October 7th and close ties with Sinwar were detailed in HonestReporting’s exposé last November. Subsequently, the Associated Press and CNN cut ties with Eslaiah.
But it is a bit more challenging to hold accountable Al Jazeera, a quasi-media outlet designed to overshadow its real purpose: to be a propaganda tool for Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood and, among other entities, Hamas. Here and there on Al Jazeera is a semblance of “freedom of expression” — because Israelis are also interviewed on the platform — but it was and remains a channel that promotes Hamas and hides the truth from tens of millions of viewers.
When a resident of Gaza was interviewed live and complained: “Why are Hamas members hiding in the Deir al-Balah hospital? Let them go hide in hell.” — he was interrupted and the microphone was taken from him. This is not how a media outlet works, or at least is supposed to. But it is how a propaganda machine operates.
The U.S. has asked Qatar, an American ally, to “tone down” the profuse anti-Israel rhetoric on Al Jazeera during the Israel-Hamas war. The Americans have also preached an overwhelming dose of morality to Israel, not because American standards are higher, but because Israel is itself — a Jewish state that must adhere to guidelines no other country would even think about entertaining given the circumstances.
Every army dealing with terrorist operatives, such as the Taliban, ISIS, or Hamas, has rules regarding the harming of innocents as part of a wanted elimination. In the past, Mark Garalsko, who was appointed on behalf of the Pentagon for the elimination of wanted persons, admitted that it is permissible to harm 29 innocent people in order to eliminate a senior wanted person. Israel approves of harming a much lower number of innocents.
Even if the Americans and other countries don’t ask, they should be presented with the true story about the journalists in the service of Hamas. The IDF has plenty of proof, and the world should know.
Journalists reporting from the front lines of wars are supposed to be our eyes and ears for the truth in the midst of bloodshed, and they must be protected, like civilians, under the laws of war. So too are hospitals supposed to be for the sick and recovering, mosques for prayer, schools for education, and hotels for leisure.
But in Hamas-run Gaza, journalists, hospitals, mosques, schools, and hotels are not used for their intended and innocent purpose. They exist solely to be in the service of Hamas’ genocidal, fascist, Islamic fundamentalist ideology.
Article 28, Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949
David Collier on X
“Hamas claim of 107 dead ‘journalists’ is totally fabricated.” The Jewish Chronicle.