Archive for the ‘Palestinian media’ category

UN Chief Guterres, the Media and Palestinian Fake News

September 1, 2017

UN Chief Guterres, the Media and Palestinian Fake News, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, September 1, 2107

(Please see also, INTO THE FRAY: The Taylor Force Act – Putting “Palestine” in perspective. — DM)

One of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA) chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.

The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report from the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.

The lie about “Jewish extremists” setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a “Jewish extremist.”

According to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis “planting” knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.

Fake news is an old story in the Palestinian world. Yet recently, fake news has been taken to new heights by Palestinian spin-doctors, who have been working overtime to mislead the international community and media. A number of stories published in the past few days in the Palestinian media demonstrate the extent to which Palestinians are prepared to go to deceive the world and impact international public opinion.

Excellence is often a virtue — except when one excels at lying. And if there is one thing at which the Palestinians have excelled in the past few decades, it is spreading lies about its conflict with Israel. The mainstream media in the West usually takes the fake-news bait — it sells papers! — and demonstrates tolerance, if not sympathy, toward Palestinian-produced fake news fabrications.

The most recent case of Palestinian fake news emerged during United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s visit to Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians. The UN chief, who does not seem to be familiar with the Palestinian culture of lies, fell victim to a typical PR stunt organized by his Palestinian hosts.

According to the Wafa news agency, the official organ of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Guterres “held a meeting on Tuesday evening (August 29) with families of Palestinian martyrs and prisoners held in Israeli occupation prisons.” The report said that the families called on the UN secretary-general to take rapid and serious action to save the lives of more than 6500 male and female prisoners held in Israeli prisons. Wafa then quoted Guterres as saying: “We understand the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners and we will work with the relevant parties to end their suffering.”

First, it ought to be of interest that the “prisoners” and “martyrs” are Palestinians who were involved, directly and indirectly, in terror attacks. Many of the prisoners have Jewish blood on their hands and were convicted of often unspeakable crimes.

Second, it quickly became clear that the meeting between the UN chief and the Palestinian families was part of an ambush set up by his Palestinian hosts in Ramallah. According to a UN spokesman, Guterres was surprised by the sudden request of the Palestinian Authority to meet with the “mothers of detained children” but that he agreed to meet with them. To his great credit, Guterres also issued a clarification that the report in Wafa that he had expressed sympathy for the prisoners’ plight was “fabricated.”

Third, it is worth noting that one of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid, from the Al-Ama’ri refugee camp near Ramallah. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.

The response of the UN chief’s spokesman to the “fabricated” report by Abbas’s Wafa news agency and the unscheduled meeting with the families of the “prisoners” and “martyrs” is a fine example of how the Palestinian Authority manipulates the world’s top diplomat. The PA and other Palestinians, however, have been getting away with this for decades.

The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report on the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during his to Ramallah, August 29, 2017. (Image source: UN Photo/Ahed Izhiman)

In another example of Palestinian fake news designed to slander Israel and win international sympathy, several Palestinian media outlets have been reporting during the past week that an Israeli female undercover agent masquerading as a nurse has been uncovered in a Palestinian hospital in Hebron.

According to the fake reports, the “nurse” was an Israeli settler who had helped the Israel Defense Forces infiltrate the hospital to arrest and shoot Palestinian fugitives. A quick check of the facts revealed that the Palestinians were apparently referring to a Western volunteer who had worked in the hospital to treat Palestinian patients. The hospital administration has strongly denied the reports, which continue to spread like fire on social media and Palestinian news websites. The purpose of the fake reports is to implicate Israel and present it as a state that shows disregard for hospitals and patients. This case shows that rumors and fake news are regularly accepted as facts in the world of the Palestinians and Arabs.

Or consider another example of how the Palestinian propaganda machine operates. On August 23, the same Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported on the anniversary of the 1969 fire at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

First, the historical facts: On August 21, 1969, an Australian citizen named Denis Michael Rohan set fire to the pulpit of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Rohan was arrested for the arson attack, tried and found to be insane. He was hospitalized in a mental institution before finally being deported from Israel in 1974.

Since 1969, however, the Palestinians have repeated the lie that Israel and Jews were behind the arson attack. The fact that Rohan was a Christian is apparently inconsequential to them.

So this year, marking the anniversary of the arson, this is what Abbas’s official mouthpiece, Wafa, had this priceless piece of perjury to say: “The Al-Aqsa Mosque was torched by Jewish extremists in 1969.”

The lie about “Jewish extremists” setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a “Jewish extremist.”

These lies are simply a few recent examples that extend a long list of Palestinian fake news and blood libels aimed at framing Israel and inciting the world against it. Take for example, the famous Palestinian lies about terrorists: according to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis “planting” knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.

The manipulation of the UN chief in Ramallah comes as no surprise to those familiar with Palestinian tactics of deception. The question, however, remains: For how long will the international community receive with equanimity the lies that Palestinians spit in its face, lies that hour after hour, day after day, only endanger the lives of both Palestinians and Jews, promote an all-too-welcomed anti-Semitism, and worst – contrary to the claims of those who purport to want to help them — prolong the suffering of Palestinians who dream of one day living in freedom –like their neighbors, the Israelis — with institutions of democracy like free speech, an independent judiciary and educational system, and most of all, with accountable leadership?

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

Palestinians Escalate War on Journalists

August 12, 2017

Palestinians Escalate War on Journalists, Gatestone Institute, Bassam Tawil, August 12, 2017

They said they did not know what “sensitive information” Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) were trying to hide.

Today, it is safe to say that the situation of the freedom of the media under the PA and Hamas is not much different than that under Bashar Assad’s Syria or even North Korea.

Palestinian journalists’ hateful obsession with Israel brings them no dividends. Rather, such venomous bias diverts attention from the true challenges and threats they face from the PA and Hamas. By expending their efforts in this twisted fashion, the journalists aid and abet their leaders in building dictatorial regimes that suppress public freedoms.

As part of its overarching effort to silence critics, President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) has resumed its war against Palestinian journalists who refuse toe the line or are suspected of being insufficiently loyal to their leaders in Ramallah.

But this is nothing new: Abbas and his team have long been notoriously intolerant of news stories that reflect negatively on them in particular and on Palestinians in general.

In the past few days, PA security forces arrested six Palestinian journalists from Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron. The journalists — Mamdouh Hamamreh, Qutaiba Kassem, Tarek Abu Zeid, Amer Abu Arafeh, Thaer Al-Fakhouri and Ahmed Al-Halaykeh — are suspected of “leaking sensitive information to hostile parties.”

This is the first time that Abbas’s PA has made such a ridiculous charge against Palestinian journalists. In an attempt to justify the latest crackdown on freedom of the media, Abbas’s news agency, Wafa, published a statement by an unnamed “senior security source” who said that the detained journalists were being interrogated about their role in “leaking sensitive information to hostile parties.” The detained journalists, meanwhile, have gone on hunger strike to protest their incarceration.

Upon hearing about the baseless charge, many Palestinian journalists said they did not know whether to laugh or cry. They said they did not know what “sensitive information” Abbas and the PA were trying to hide.

“We don’t have nuclear facilities,” remarked a Palestinian journalist from east Jerusalem sarcastically. “It’s clear that the Palestinian Authority leadership is using the security issue as an excuse to justify its punitive measures against journalists.”

Another Palestinian journalist from Ramallah scoffed at the charge against his colleagues. “This is the most ridiculous claim I’ve heard in years,” he commented. “It reminds us of Arab dictators who accuse their opponents and critics of revealing state secrets and consuming narcotics.”

That the PA leadership has refused to provide further details about the nature of the offense committed by the suspected journalists has only reinforced the belief that they were targeted as part of an ongoing campaign by Abbas and his lieutenants to silence critics and deter other journalists from doing their job or reporting any story that could reflect negatively on the Palestinian leaders.

Some Palestinian journalists take a different view of the matter. These reporters trace the arrest of the six journalists to a desire to pressure Hamas to release two journalists it is holding in the Gaza Strip: Amer Abu Shabab and Fuad Jaradeh.

In other words, the PA security forces are holding the six journalists hostage until Hamas frees the two newsmen it is holding. The journalists detained by the PA work for Hamas-affiliated media outlets in the West Bank.

Notably, the two Palestinian regimes – the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip — have hardly championed freedom of speech and freedom of the media. In fact, the two parties share the same values when it comes to silencing all forms of criticism. Dozens of Palestinian journalists have been targeted over the past two decades by both the PA and Hamas.

These regimes have their own special way of defining freedom of the press. That is, the press is utterly free to blacken the name of Israel. The name of Hamas or the PA, however, is sacrosanct: criticism of either would land a Palestinian reporter behind bars or in an interrogation room.

Hamas and the PA prefer that the press pound Israel. Short of that, they tolerate journalistic critique of municipal services or the shortage of medicine in hospitals.

Today, it is safe to say that the situation of the freedom of the media under the PA and Hamas is not much different than that under Bashar Assad’s Syria or even North Korea. The failure to achieve a free media for the Palestinians is yet another sign of the Palestinian failure to build proper and transparent state institutions.

The Palestinians have no functioning parliament, no open debate and no free media. In the West Bank, the media is controlled, directly and indirectly, by Abbas and his loyalists. In the Gaza Strip, the only “media” is that which is controlled by Hamas — again, directly and indirectly.

But there is an interesting twist to the latest story of Palestinian Authority and Hamas assaults on freedom of the media. Sadly, many Palestinian journalists do not seem to care much about the harassment and suppression of their colleagues at the hands of their leaders in Ramallah and the Gaza Strip.

Instead of organizing widespread protests to demand the release of their colleagues who are being tortured by PA and Hamas interrogators, Palestinian journalists are still scapegoating Israel. Incredibly, they continue to incite against Israel despite the fact that they are being detained and tortured by the PA and Hamas.

Instead of demanding the release of their six colleagues from PA prison, some Palestinian journalists are protesting because some Israeli (Jewish) journalists came to Ramallah last week to cover the visit of Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

The presence of the Israeli reporters in Ramallah enraged several Palestinian journalists, who took to social media to condemn the Palestinian Authority leadership that gave them permission to come and cover the monarch’s visit.

The presence of Israeli reporters in Ramallah last week, to cover the visit of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, enraged several Palestinian journalists, who took to social media to condemn the Palestinian Authority leadership that gave them permission to cover the visit. (Image source: Palestinian President’s Office)

In this cartoon by Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh, an Israeli journalist, carrying a microphone dripping with blood, is interviewing a dog.

Such incitement was easy to find on Palestinian social media websites this week. The presence of several Israeli Arab journalists seemed to roll right over the racist, raging Palestinian journalists — it is the presence of Jewish journalists that they cannot stand.

This attack on Israeli journalists has been backed by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), a Fatah-affiliated group headed by Nasser Abu Baker, a correspondent of the evidently unprofessional Agence France-Press: Baker has also run for election in the Fatah Revolutionary Council.

In a statement published in Ramallah, the PJS strongly condemned the presence of Israeli (Jewish) journalists in Ramallah and urged Abbas to hold accountable whoever gave the Israeli journalists permission to come to the city to cover the Jordanian king’s visit.

It seems that for the PJS, the presence of Israeli (Jewish) reporters in Ramallah is more disturbing than the arrest of Palestinian journalists by the PA and Hamas.

For the record, in recent years the PJS has served as a mouthpiece for Abbas’s office; instead of defending the rights of Palestinian journalists, it devotes more than 95% of its words and actions to denouncing Israel and whipping up rage against Israeli journalists.

Palestinian journalists’ hateful obsession with Israel brings them no dividends. Rather, such venomous bias diverts attention from the true challenges and threats they face from the PA and Hamas. By expending their efforts in this twisted fashion, the reporters aid and abet their leaders in building dictatorial regimes that suppress public freedoms.

Bassam Tawil, an Arab Muslim, is based in the Middle East.

Palestinian Authority’s Fatah Faction Appoints Israeli Arab Terrorist to Central Committee Upon Recommendation of Mahmoud Abbas

May 29, 2017

Palestinian Authority’s Fatah Faction Appoints Israeli Arab Terrorist to Central Committee Upon Recommendation of Mahmoud Abbas, The Jewish PressHana Levi Julian, May 29, 2017

(Please see also, Palestinians: Abbas Immediately Breaks Promises to Trump. — DM)

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas sits with US President Donald Trump at the White House, May 3 2017

Fatah has appointed terrorist murderer Karim Younes to its Central Committee upon the personal recommendation of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Media Watch reported this week.

Karim Younes and his cousin Maher Younis are two Israeli Arabs who together kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980.

The two killers have been presented by the Palestinian Authority government as role models for PA children. Public squares were recently named after each, to further glorify them, by the Palestinian Authority government.

The PLO Director of Prisoner’s Affairs said in a statement that he sees the appointment of Younes as proof that “our prisoners are not terrorists.”

“It is also noteworthy that Abbas has chosen an Israeli citizen to be among Fatah’s decision-makers,” Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacquest Zilberdik said in an article on the PMW website. “This is consistent with the Palestinian Authority message to Israeli Arabs to see themselves as part of the Palestinian national movement, and to view all of the land of the State of Israel as part of a future Palestinian state that will replace Israel.

“This new appointment of a terrorist was announced right after Abbas sent a message to Israelis demonstrating on Saturday for “Two states – One hope” at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, in which he stated, ‘The opportunity [for peace] still exists, and it cannot be missed when our hand is extended in peace that is created between those who are brave.’” [Ha’aretz, May 27, 2017]

Significantly, “[PA] Minister of Justice Ali Abu Diyak emphasized that the decision of the Fatah Movement leadership – led by President Mahmoud Abbas – to appoint the veteran prisoner Karim Younes to the Fatah Central Committee is the clearest and severest response to the campaign being led by Israel to accuse the prisoners, Martyrs (Shahids), and the Palestinian struggle of terror.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 28, 2017]

PLO’s Director of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake welcomed the appointment, claiming it proof that the Palestinian prisoners are not criminals:
“I want to note an additional achievement, which was a political response by the Palestinian leadership when the Fatah Revolutionary Council made a decision to appoint prisoner Karim Younes, the most veteran of the prisoners, as a member of the Fatah Movement Central Committee.

“I think that this is a very great and significant political response, [which says] that our prisoners are not terrorists and are not criminals. They are freedom prisoners and fighters who enjoy an important national, human, and legal status among their leadership and among their Palestinian people.”
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, May 28, 2017]

As part of the PA’s campaign to present terrorists as heroes and role models, the PA recently named two town squares after Karim and Maher Younes.

In his statement regarding the appointment of Younes, the Minister of Justice further glorified all terrorist prisoners:

“The prisoners and Martyrs are the spearhead of the freedom fighters, symbols of our legitimate national struggle, and conscience of the Palestinian people…”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 28, 2017]

 

PA TV host longs for days of Palestinian terror, encourages more violence

May 24, 2017

PA TV host longs for days of Palestinian terror, encourages more violence, Palwatch via YouTube, May 24, 2017

(The interview was conducted on the day before President Trump’s meeting with Obama’s “partner for peace,” Abbas. Please see also, Abbas and Palestinian Authority Honor Terrorists Amid Trump Visit.– DM)

 

 

Israeli ‘Sex Mania’ A Global Threat, Says PA TV

April 29, 2017

Israeli ‘Sex Mania’ A Global Threat, Says PA TV, Jerusalem PostAriane Mandell, April 29, 2017

According to a Palestinian Authority broadcast, Israel is using sex as a weapon and the CIA is controlling global moods through hallucinogens.

Bar Refaeli in a commercial for the Hoodies chain. (photo credit:screenshot)

According to Palestinian Authority TV host Imad Hamato, Israel is waging war against the Muslim world via “sex mania.”

In a broadcast translated by the Palestinian Media Watch, Hamato, who was appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as dean of Gaza’s Al-Azhar institutes in October 2016, can be seen denouncing Israel’s threats to Muslim modesty protocols.

“Our conflict today between us and Israel is the conflict between spirit and body,” Hamato says with a green screen of Temple Mount behind him. “Israel’s global media has expanded, and its war against the Arabs and Muslims is through sex mania which it distributes globally. Israel had to use this sex mania, as we mentioned in a previous lesson, in order to destroy the spirit of Arabs and Muslims. Everything among the Muslims has died, except for their lust.”

Hamato goes on to specify exactly what kind of immodesty was spreading: “Therefore we see filth and immodesty on many satellite channels, pictures and ads for penis enlargement and for all sorts of things. All of these are contrary to modesty.”

Why does Hamato suppose Jews would do such a thing? Because, he says, “The Jews, as it is said in the Quran, believe only in the body, not in the spirit. What has Israel given to the world in our times, aside from moral corruption and corrupt values, aside from the use of drugs and pills?”

Hamato then turns on long-standing ally of Israel, the United States, who he claims has been controlling the moods of citizens of the Middle East using drugs in Brave New World fashion: “I said in a previous lesson that the CIA has a unit called the Unit for Creating the Global Mood. They look at a map: ‘What is appropriate for Gaza, or Jordan, or Syria? Tramadol pills [pain killers]? Mood enhancers? Hallucinatory substances? They are produced in India, sent to Israel, and distributed in Sinai. Afterwards, they are spread in the region in order to destroy what remains of our children’s values.'”

The program was broadcast this month as a rerun from 2015. Hamato has long been a controversial character on the topic of Israel and religion in general. In 2006, he called on the pope to “repent and ask for forgiveness,” and added: “We want to use the words of the Prophet Muhammad and tell the pope: ‘Aslim Taslam.'”

Aslim Taslam is a phrase that was taken from the letters sent by the Prophet Muhammad to the chiefs of tribes in his times in which he reportedly urged them to convert to Islam to spare their lives.

While there is no evidence of Israel exporting sex mania, as a weapon or otherwise, here are a list of seven other contributions Israel has made to the world.

PA defies US, will raise payments to Martyrs’ families

April 9, 2017

PA defies US,  will raise payments to Martyrs’ families, Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus, April 9, 2017

In defiance of the US, which is demanding that the Palestinian Authority completely stop financial rewards to families of terrorist “Martyrs” (Shahids), the PA is now raising the payments to the “Martyrs'” families. These PA payments include lifetime monthly allowances to families of suicide bombers, and other murderers who were killed during or after committing their crimes.

Muhammad Sbeihat, the Secretary-General of the National Association of the Martyrs’ Families of Palestine, which is the PLO organization dealing with the PA’s payments to “Martyrs'” families, explained last week:

“In the upcoming period the allowances of the Martyrs’ families will be linked to the cost of living index, which will cause an improvement in these allowances, if only slightly.”

[Al-Quds, April 4, 2017]

The fact that the PA is raising the amount of the allowances to Martyrs’ families, even slightly, at this time is in direct defiance of the United States. Palestinian Media Watch exposed in 2011  that the Palestinian Authority pays salaries to imprisoned terrorists and allowances to families of terrorist Martyrs, and in 2016 exposed that the PA was lying when they claimed to have stopped payments to prisoners.

After years of international condemnation of the PA, the United States Congress recently proposed The Taylor Force Act to cut off financial all aid to the Palestinian Authority because of these payments to terrorists and their families. When Taylor Force, an American citizen, was murdered last year in Tel Aviv, American legislators were incensed to learn that the family members of the dead terrorist would be rewarded with lifetime payments, thus benefiting either directly or indirectly from American financial aid.

Similar legislation was proposed in the Israeli parliament last month, to deduct the equivalent amount that the PA pays to terrorists and their families from the tax revenues that Israel collects on the PA’s behalf.

The following are the payment amounts, mostly based on PA law signed by former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in 2011:

1- Immediate (one-time) payment: 6,000 shekels2- Monthly (life-time) payments: 1,400 shekels/monthly, plus additions 2A: Addition for spouse: 400 shekels 2B: Addition for each child: 200 shekels 2C: Addition for residents of Jerusalem: 300 shekels >2D: Addition for residents of Israel: 300 shekels

2- Monthly (life-time) payments: 1,400 shekels/monthly, plus additions 2A: Addition for spouse: 400 shekels 2B: Addition for each child: 200 shekels 2C: Addition for residents of Jerusalem: 300 shekels >2D: Addition for residents of Israel: 300 shekels

3- Monthly payments to families abroad: $350

3B: Addition for each child: $50

Total expenditure per year (2016 budget): 660,315,772 shekels ($180,839,067)

[Official PA 2016 budget]

In 2016, more than 32,500 Martyrs’ families received payments.

Raising the allowances at this time is a sign of the PA’s direct defiance of the US and other Western countries that fund the PA, many of whom have condemned the PA’s financial reward payments to terrorists and their families.

Note: Payments to Martyrs families go to families of all Palestinian terrorists killed during the act of terror including suicide bombers, or in any combat with Israel, as well as families of those killed during riots, or disturbances, including non-combatants.

In addition, at the ceremony where Sbeihat spoke, laptops were distributed to children of Martyrs including the daughter of a terrorist who murdered 9.

The following is an excerpt from the article in the Palestinian daily, Al Quds:

“The National Association of the Martyrs’ Families of Palestine distributed laptops to the Martyrs’ (Shahids) sons and daughters in the [Tulkarem] district who successfully completed high school studies last year, and are currently in their first year of university studies.

This was during a ceremony that was held under the auspices of Tulkarem District Governor Issam Abu Bakr, who provided considerable financial aid to fund the computers…

The Secretary-General of the [National] Association [of the Martyrs’ Families of Palestine Muhammad Sbeihat] mentioned the issue of stopping the allowances (mukhassasat) of many of the civilian Martyrs’ families (i.e., a few dozen families stopped receiving payments in February 2017, Ma’an [independent Palestinian news agency]) , and of some of the Martyrs’ wives who married the Martyrs’ brothers. He emphasized that the issue has been raised to [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas, and that the Association and the [PLO] Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution are investing intensive efforts to deal with the issue as quickly as possible. He emphasized that Abbas and [PA] Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah are following the issue with the relevant parties, and expressed optimism about its resolution in a few days.

He emphasized that in the upcoming period the allowances of the Martyrs’ families will be linked to the cost of living index, which will cause an improvement in these allowances, if only slightly. He emphasized that the Association will continue its efforts and demands to improve the allowances of the Martyrs’ families, and deal with the issue of the allowances of the families of the Martyrs of the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip in 2014 (i.e., 2014 Gaza War)…

At the end of the ceremony, the computers were distributed to Ahmed Ali Ja’ar (PMW was unable to find additional information -Ed.), Badour Ibrahim Al-Ajami (PMW was unable to find additional information -Ed.), Bisan Fawaz Badran (i.e., daughter of terrorist Fawaz Badran) [and additional children of Martyrs].”

[Al-Quds, April 4, 2017]

Fawaz Badran – 27-year-old terrorist and top official in the Hamas Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas’ military wing), according to Israeli sources responsible for the planning of two terrorist attacks in Netanya in which 9 people were murdered, and dozens injured. On July 13, 2001, Badran was killed in a car explosion. Hamas blamed Israel for the car bombing, but Israel denied responsibility. PMW has been unable to confirm which attacks he was responsible for.

Media Misfeasance Exposed in “Eyeless in Gaza” Documentary

March 4, 2017

Media Misfeasance Exposed in “Eyeless in Gaza” Documentary, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Noah Beck, March 3, 2017

2021

Hamas operatives burst into the Associated Press (AP) Gaza bureau during the 2014 war with Israel, angered by a picture shot by an AP photographer. Gunmen threatened the AP staff, which never reported the incident.

The incident shows that Hamas can control what journalists report, and what they don’t, former AP Middle East reporter Matti Friedman says in a new documentary, “Eyeless in Gaza.”

Producer Robert Magid’s 50-minute film, which is screening via pay-per-view online, examines the flaws and challenges in reporting on the 50-day war.

Magid said he wanted to “set the record straight and provide context,” after being appalled at news coverage that ignored Hamas’ practice of launching rockets from civilian areas. That omission allowed the media to push a false narrative that “Israel was callous in their bombing.”

The sullied moral image of Israel that emerged from the media’s biased coverage sparked public outrage and anti-Semitism. “Muslims will crush the Jews as they did in Khyber 14 centuries ago,” protestors in the film shout. Another says: “I see the Jews in Israel as total Nazis.”

Reporters routinely failed to show the history leading up to the conflict or how Hamas instigated it. Magid provides viewers with some brief historical context: Israel expelled 10,000 of its own citizens from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and offered the Palestinians their first chance at self-rule. But Hamas took over the territory and turned it into an Islamist terror state, rather than a model for responsible self-rule and peaceful coexistence with Israel.

Viewers see how attack tunnels exemplify Hamas’s policy of diverting public resources to pursue terrorism. Israel allows high-quality cement into Gaza in response to the humanitarian need to rebuild damaged buildings, only to discover the same cement being used to build massive underground tunnels whose only purpose is to target Israelis. Each tunnel costs about $3 million, and an Israeli military spokesman interviewed in the film estimates $100 million in resources were diverted.

Despite Israel’s unprecedented efforts to minimize Gaza’s civilian casualties, the film shows how Hamas works to maximize them.

“The Israeli army called me, they asked me to leave Al-Sajaeya,” says one Gazan. “We stayed at home because Al Aksa and Al Quds [Hamas] radio stations told us ‘Don’t leave your homes, it’s rumors.’ We remained in our homes, but when we saw the bombs pouring on us, we miraculously got out…Five of my brothers’ sons were killed, and the houses destroyed.”

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) went to great lengths to spare civilians, issuing warnings by leaflets, SMS messages, the “roof knock” technique, and social media. Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, notes in the film “the immense efforts that the IDF took when fighting in this very challenging environment, to minimize the number of civilian deaths [even though] Hamas used human shields virtually constantly. They deliberately site their weapon systems, and their fighters among the civilian population.”

“Eyeless in Gaza” shows the underreported perspective of Israelis trying to survive Hamas rocket attacks, including a huge explosion on a populated beach, and people racing to shelters with just 15 seconds to reach them. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system is no silver bullet: “10 percent [of] rockets…could hit you,” notes Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya. “And…if the enemy is firing thousands of rockets…10 percent…is quite a lot.” Even intercepted rockets can still cause shock and injuries from falling shrapnel.

Kneejerk global condemnations of Israel triggered by a lopsided casualty count resulted, at least in part, from the media’s failure to cover the true nature of the mass casualty-threat facing Israel. Hamas launched thousands of rockets at schools, hospitals, and densely packed Israeli neighborhoods, demonstrating the group’s intent to kill many thousands of civilians. Hamas failed only because Israel had invested billions in a rocket defense system and Israelis regularly scurried to bomb shelters despite the disruption to their lives.

Former Russia Today correspondent Harry Fear, who calls himself “one of the most Palestinian-sympathizing journalists in the world,” notes that Palestinians “rejected cease fires, which could have saved…thousands of lives…”

Fearing violent retribution from Hamas, journalists engaged in collective self-censorship, he told Magid. Just about all foreign correspondents witnessed Palestinian war crimes without reporting them. “Rockets were being fired consistently from densely populated areas,” he said. He was expelled from Gaza after reporting on Twitter such fire.

An Indian television crew aired footage of Palestinian terrorists firing rockets from civilian areas only after it had left Gaza. Its report, shown in “Eyeless in Gaza,” notes that the rocket fire “will obviously have serious consequences… for those who live here, should Israel choose to retaliate.”

Hamas’ intimidation of journalists produces flawed, misleading coverage, as Friedman elaborates: “Most of the work of the international media in Gaza is done not by western journalists … but by local Palestinians from Gaza: fixers, translators, reporters, photographers … their families are in Gaza, and they’re not going to get Hamas angry. And because these people largely shape the coverage, that ends up having a very significant effect.”

Fear decries the limits to free speech in Gaza, citing a 2014 poll indicating that 80 percent of Palestinian journalists exercise self-censorship for fear of retribution.

Similarly, Friedman says in the film, “I understand why reporters censor themselves … in Gaza. What I don’t understand is why the news organizations haven’t made clear the restrictions under which they operate in Gaza, so that news consumers can understand that they are seeing a warped picture.”

The intimidation can be worse for Palestinian journalists. Ayman Al Aloul describes his imprisonment and torture by Hamas after he refused to stop writing about Gaza’s extreme poverty, and Hamas’ failed economic policies. “They started beating me and cursing at me. When I went back inside [my cell], I feared someone would be sent to end my life… I was scared they would say, ‘He died from cold or hunger.’ I was really scared.”

While the Western media and United Nations Human Rights Council obsessively harp on any alleged Israeli human rights violation, it completely ignored Al Aloul’s case.

Conflicts that receive far less media attention than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite being exponentially bloodier, also have been neglected, thanks to the media’s obsession with Israel. The film notes that, since 2011, nearly half a million people have been killed or wounded in Syria, compared to about 2,000 in Gaza. “160,000 Palestinians lived in Yarmouk prior to 2011. [Because of] Syrian…bombing and starvation policies, there are now 18,000.”

Thus, campus protesters who routinely accuse Israel of “genocide” and “massacre” are either grossly misinformed (at least in part because of media bias) or simply anti-Semitic.

UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesperson Chris Gunness acknowledges a double standard by the media and Arab governments’ in terms of attention given to the plight of Palestinians in Syria versus Gaza. But when asked why UNRWA failed to condemn Egypt’s security-motivated destruction of thousands of homes along the Gaza border, he says only, “we are not mandated to work in Egypt.”

Friedman notes, “If Israel did 1 percent of that, of course the international community would be in an uproar. I think people aren’t interested in Arabs in general, or what Arabs do to each other. I think they’re basically interested … in the actions of Jews. And that’s why Egypt can destroy entire neighborhoods [bordering] Gaza, as it did recently, and the world kind of yawns. That I think proves that … the story being told here by the international media is not a story about current events. It’s a story about something else. It’s a morality play starring a familiar villain [the Jews].”

This hostile paradigm explains the failure of Western media to report on the anti-Semitic nature of the Hamas charter, which blames all of the world’s woes – including every major war and revolution, and even the Holocaust – on the Jews, while calling for their annihilation, Friedman says in “Eyeless in Gaza.”

“If you say that Hamas is anti-Semitic, if you quote their charter, if you look too closely at exactly what their goals are, and who they are, then it would disrupt the narrative, according to which Israel is an aggressor, and the Palestinians are passive victims who have reasonable goals,” Friedman says.

Nevertheless, the media’s failure to include critical facts like those exposed in “Eyeless in Gaza” encourages terrorist groups like Hamas to embrace tactics intended to maximize civilian casualties. The resulting global condemnation of Israel for Gazan deaths only encourages Hamas to jeopardize civilians in the next round of violence.

As “Eyeless in Gaza” highlights, the kind of journalism that covered the 2014 war in Gaza distorted the truth, abetted a terrorist group, and strengthened the party most responsible for Gaza’s misery and ongoing hostilities with Israel. For more on the film, click here.