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August 5, 2014 1

The Foreign Media Fails to Cover Hamas

With a shaky cease fire in place, for­eign jour­nal­ists are begin­ning to leave Gaza, some of them reveal­ing for the first time on-the-ground photo and video evi­dence of Hamas oper­a­tions in civil­ian areas.

Dur­ing the four weeks of Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge, there has been plenty of video and pho­tos taken by for­eign jour­nal­ists in Gaza, most of it depict­ing the civil­ian human­i­tar­ian toll. To the con­ster­na­tion of many, there were vir­tu­ally no videos of Hamas oper­a­tives launch­ing one of the over 3,000 rock­ets sent against Israel, no pho­tos of armed Hamas oper­a­tives on the streets, few descrip­tions of Hamas oper­a­tions cen­ters or safe houses.

On August 5, the Indian net­work NDTV fea­tured an “exclu­sive” video of a rocket being pre­pared and fired from a loca­tion just out­side their hotel, in an area of civil­ian homes and com­mer­cial businesses.

Why have these pho­tos and videos been lack­ing until now?   There have been alle­ga­tions that jour­nal­ists in Gaza were bul­lied into silence, reports that those who reported on or pho­tographed Hamas oper­at­ing in civil­ian areas were forcibly removed from Gaza.   In explain­ing why news sto­ries haven’t men­tioned the well-known fact that Hamas has an oper­a­tion cen­ter in a bunker directly under­neath one of Gaza’s main hos­pi­tals, Tablet Mag­a­zine explained:

“What Hamas has done, there­fore, is to turn Shifa Hos­pi­tal into a Hol­ly­wood sound-stage filled with real, live war vic­tims who are used to score pro­pa­ganda points, while the ter­ror­ists inside the hos­pi­tal itself are erased from pho­tographs and news accounts through a com­bi­na­tion of pres­sure and threats, in order to pro­duce the sto­ries that Hamas wants.”

Oth­ers claim that such pho­tos were just not avail­able to be taken.  In an inter­view for The New York Times’ The Lens Blog, pho­tog­ra­pher Tyler Hicks explained why among the hun­dreds of pho­tos he took over a two week period in Gaza, almost none were of Hamas rock­ets, weapons or operatives:

Q: We have many pho­tos of the casu­al­ties and destruc­tion in Gaza. Why don’t we have many pho­tos of Hamas fight­ers or mis­siles? A: This is a war fought largely behind the scenes. Hamas fight­ers are not able to expose them­selves. If they were to even step a foot on the street they would be spot­ted by an Israeli drone and imme­di­ately blown up. We don’t see those fight­ers. They are oper­at­ing out of build­ings and homes and at night. They are mov­ing around very care­fully. You don’t see any signs of author­ity on the streets. If you can imag­ine every police offi­cer, every per­son of author­ity in Amer­ica gone, this is what that would look like.  If we had access to them, we would be pho­tograph­ing them. I never saw a sin­gle device for launch­ing the rock­ets to Israel. It’s as if they don’t exist.  Some­times peo­ple assume that you can have access to every­thing, that you can see every­thing. But the fight­ers are vir­tu­ally invis­i­ble to us. What we do as pho­tog­ra­phers is doc­u­ment what we can to show that side of the war. There are funer­als, there are peo­ple being rushed to the hos­pi­tal, but you can’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate the fight­ers from the civil­ians. They are not wear­ing uni­forms. If there is some­one com­ing into the hos­pi­tal injured, you can’t tell if that’s just a shop­keeper or if this is some­one who just fired a rocket towards Israel. It’s impos­si­ble to know who’s who. We tried to cover this as objec­tively as possible.

Other news crews have inad­ver­tently filmed rock­ets.  For exam­ple, this France24 reporter was sur­prised when a rocket was fired right behind him dur­ing his July 31 live report. Upon post­ing the video of the rocket launch­ing, NDTV explained that it was being made pub­lic because the news team respon­si­ble for the clip had left Gaza:

This report is being aired on NDTV and pub­lished on ndtv.com after our team left the Gaza strip — Hamas has not taken very kindly to any report­ing of its rock­ets being fired. But just as we reported the dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences of Israel’s offen­sive on Gaza’s civil­ians, it is equally impor­tant to report on how Hamas places those very civil­ians at risk by fir­ing rock­ets deep from the heart of civil­ian zones.

As jour­nal­ists begin to stream out of Gaza  to cover other crises around the world, it is likely we will be see­ing more and more of these “exclu­sive” videos and pho­tos of Hamas oper­a­tions sud­denly revealed.

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August 4, 2014 6

New Black Panthers Exploit Gaza Conflict To Promote Anti-Semitism

hashim-nzinga-leader-black-panther

Hashim Nzinga

As inci­dents of anti-Semitism in the U.S. increase in response to Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tions to stop Hamas rocket fire from Gaza, the New Black Pan­ther Party, the largest orga­nized anti-Semitic and racist Black mil­i­tant group in Amer­ica, has begun to use the con­flict to pro­mote its bigotry.

On the July 28 episode of the NBPP’s online radio pro­gram, Black Power Radio, NBPP National Chair­man Hashim Nzinga por­trayed Israel as satanic, stat­ing, “These crack­ers over in Israel do a cease­fire with the brother and sis­ter Pales­tini­ans, and then they start bomb­ing their chil­dren in the next 30 min­utes.” He con­tin­ued, “If you’re of a higher edu­ca­tion and a higher learn­ing, under­stand the order of the devil. The devil is gonna deceive you.”

On the July 21 episode, NBPP Chief of Staff Chawn Kweli sim­i­larly demo­nized Israelis, call­ing them “so-called Jews in Israel in what’s really Palestine…some player haters, some Zion­ists, some so-called Jews who the Book of Revelations…calls the Syn­a­gogue of Satan.”

chawn-kweli

Chawn Kweli

Kweli praised the tac­tics of Hamas, stat­ing that the Black com­mu­nity in the U.S. “can learn to fight for [its] land” from the Pales­tini­ans. “They don’t have all them tanks…they don’t have that, but they got heart. They got will. They got guerilla tactics.”

In Nzinga’s July 14 crit­i­cism of Israel, he invoked the anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­ory that Jews car­ried out the 9/11 attacks. Accord­ing to Nzinga, “Since George Bush and the Jews exploded Amer­i­can peo­ple with 9/11 and put fear in America…it’s not out of sync that them Jews would attack the Pales­tini­ans dur­ing Ramadan and start a war dur­ing the holy days.”

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August 1, 2014 0

Gaza’s Future: It’s Up to the International Community

by Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared in The Jerusalem Post

The “bar­baric vio­la­tion of the cease-fire agree­ment,” in the words of the White House spokesman, by Hamas when they attacked Israeli sol­diers, killing two and tak­ing one hostage, sums up the chal­lenge fac­ing Israel and the West in this vital conflict.

An orga­ni­za­tion that launches rock­ets at civil­ians, uses its own civil­ians as human shields, that has in its char­ter repeated calls for the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish state is, not sur­pris­ingly, an orga­ni­za­tion to whom an agree­ment on a cease­fire is just another tac­ti­cal oppor­tu­nity in its ongo­ing war and is there merely to be vio­lated to achieve their evil ends.

This bla­tant action high­lights the need for stronger solu­tions to the prob­lem of Hamas in Gaza. Make no mis­take about it. If this con­flict ends leav­ing Hamas stand­ing with­out a clear path toward pre­vent­ing its rear­ma­ment in the years ahead, the vio­lence to come will make what we have seen so far look pale in comparison.

Some would argue that what Israel has to do is expand its oper­a­tion to destroy the Hamas infra­struc­ture and lead­er­ship so that it is no longer a threat and can no longer dom­i­nate Gaza. Such a deci­sion lies, of course, with the Israeli gov­ern­ment, but clearly there has been a hes­i­ta­tion to go in that direc­tion because of the poten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant IDF casu­al­ties, the inevitable dra­matic rise of Pales­tin­ian civil­ian casu­al­ties, and the impact on it would have on inter­na­tional, and specif­i­cally U.S. opin­ion toward Israel.

Short of such an expan­sion of the war, the goals need to focus on two things: pre­vent­ing Hamas from rearm­ing after this con­flict and the need for a Secu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion estab­lish­ing a super­vi­sory mech­a­nism and force to imple­ment the ban­ning of new weapons to Hamas.

The his­tory of such efforts is not good, as for exam­ple, the U.N. res­o­lu­tion about Lebanon after the 2006 war which banned weapons going to Hezbol­lah. It is believed that Hezbol­lah now has as many as 60,000 rock­ets, not to men­tion other advanced weaponry.

A com­mit­ment to pre­vent the rearm­ing of Hamas, how­ever, can be far more suc­cess­ful. In the case of Hezbol­lah, Iran was the main sup­plier of weapons and Syria the main conduit.

In the case of Hamas, all of its neigh­bors under­stand that Hamas is not only a threat to peace and sta­bil­ity but it rep­re­sents the larger threat of Islamic extrem­ism that is a dan­ger to mod­er­ate forces through­out the region. There­fore, Egypt, Jor­dan, Saudi Ara­bia, and the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity all would have an inter­est in ensur­ing that a Secu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion of this sort would work and that a super­vi­sory body would have enough author­ity and means to make sure that it does work.

And here is the cru­cially impor­tant upside: only through such an agency could con­di­tions be ripe to improve the qual­ity of life for the res­i­dents of Gaza and for the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity to return to gov­ern­ing Gaza.

One of the dis­may­ing aspects of this con­flict is the lament about civil­ian casu­al­ties in Gaza with­out suf­fi­cient recog­ni­tion of why they have occurred and what has to take place to pre­vent them from recurring.

The com­bustible com­bi­na­tion of an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion hav­ing access to rock­ets, mor­tars, machines and mate­r­ial to dig and build tun­nels for mas­sive acts of ter­ror, made this war inevitable.  Future wars are like­wise inevitable unless a new dynamic is created.

The Israel Defense Forces will do their part. It is now time for the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity, led by the U.S., to do its part. The viciously cal­cu­lated vio­la­tion by Hamas of the 72-hour cease­fire agree­ment must serve as a reminder: with­out an over­see­ing body man­dated to pre­vent Hamas from rearm­ing, we will find our­selves in a worse sit­u­a­tion down the road.

The time to act is now.

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