One of the major problems facing Israel in the propaganda war over the Gaza war was its inability to substantiate the claims that Hamas was operating and firing rockets adjacent to civilians and private properties.
Yes, there was the hi-tech evidence from surveillance drones, but no confirmation on the ground from reporters.
Now we know why.
Ynet News reports that the reason foreign reporters were silent was because they were threatened and intimidated by Hamas and other terror groups. At least, those reporters from democratic and/or western countries.
Reporters working for al-Jazeera are not part of the above group, since their employer is simply the PR arm of Hamas, and objective reporting is not their strong point.
According to the other reporters, they feared for their lives. “We saw the Hamas men,” a Spanish reporter admitted. “But had we dared point the cameras at them, they would have opened fire at us and killed us.”
Only now that they have left Gaza do the feel safe and free to open up about what Hamas was REALLY doing.
For example, Indian journalist Sreenivasan Jain working for the Hindi language news channel NDTV, documented and filmed operatives preparing, and eventually launching rockets from right outside the window of his hotel. The video was only released after he and his crew had left Gaza.
He explained, “There’s a conspiracy of silence rooted in fear – no one wants to report in real-time.” He stressed that it was “important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones.” The video went viral and has been viewed by thousands of people.
Gallagher Fenwick reporting for FRANCE 24 showed rockets being launched just 50 meters away from the hotel where foreign journalists were staying, and 100 meters away from a UN facility. His report also showed children surrounding a rocket launch site.
After leaving Gaza, he said:
“The Israeli army has repeatedly accused the Palestinian militants of shooting from within densely populated civilian areas and that is precisely the type of setup we have here. Rockets set up right next to buildings with a lot of residents in them.”
An Italian journalist, Gabriele Barbati, tweeted after he left Gaza:
“@IDFSpokesperson said truth in communique released yesterday about Shati camp massacre. It was not #Israel behind it.”
The interesting point is that Hamas tried to re-arrange the debris to remove any incriminating evidence that could prove Israel was innocent.
It is an open secret that the main command and control center for Hamas — and the place where its leaders cowered for the past month — was located in the basement of the Al-Shifa hospital.
A Local Palestinian reporter Radjaa Abu Dagga said that his passport was confiscated, and he was heavily questioned in the hospital by armed Hamas militants. He did subsequently publish an article in the French newspaper Libération but was forced to remove it after receiving threats.
Reporters in Gaza were also manipulated by Hamas. Sudarsan Raghavan, a reporter for The Washington Post, described how he was taken to photograph a mosque that had been bombed, and found that the scene had been “prepared” with burnt pages from the Quran.
CBN News reported that Hamas uses churches as well as mosques from which to launch attacks.
Gaza’s most prominent Christian leader, Archbishop Alexios, took CBN journalist George Thomas to the roof terrace outside his office to show how the militants used the church compound to launch rockets into Israel.”
The Archbishop explained, “Islam is the rule of this place and whatever Hamas says we must obey or face consequences.”
And that line pretty much sums up how everyone has to live in Gaza.
But these revelations are only the tip if the iceberg. Others who were threatened might need to go back there sooner rather than later if this current truce doesn’t hold.
They prefer not to incur the wrath of Hamas!
[Images via proisraelbaybloggers.blogspot.com and www.timesofisrael.com]