Hamas would rather spark war with Israel (and the media) than make peace with Palestinians.
Following the latest popular demonstrations for Palestinian unity, Hamas goons attacked media offices in Gaza and fired some 50 rockets at Israel over the weekend.
The Committee to Protect Journalists elaborates on the media intimidation:
Following a demonstration in Gaza City, Hamas security personnel stormed the bureaus of Reuters, CNN, and the Japanese news channel NHK, attacking journalists, confiscating tapes, and destroying equipment, CNN and others reported. Security forces hit a Reuters employee with an iron bar, threatened to throw another out of a window, and smashed a television and computer keyboard, Crispian Balmer, the news organization’s bureau chief for Israel and Palestinian Territories, told CNN and The Associated Press. Security personnel also searched CNN’s offices for footage of today’s demonstration, CNN said, and confiscated an NHK tape, according to NHK Jerusalem bureau chief Disuke Iijima.
The situation’s even worse for Palestinian journos. According to Maan News, Hamas threatened to kill a Palestinian woman (and her son) if she continued writing about the national unity protests:
The journalist told Ma’an that Hamas police threatened her and her son if she wrote anything on Facebook or her blog about the pro-unity protests that have been dispersed violently throughout Gaza in recent days.
She said authorities sent the head of her family a text message saying, “We will kill her the next time she blogs against us or uses Facebook to organize anything . . . If you won’t do it, we’ll do it for you.”
Meanwhile, Hamas interior minister Fathi Hammad insists Hamas respects press freedom. Really.
But, as Khaled Abu Toameh says, the media attacks and rocket barrages are really just a Hamas diversion to ease popular pressure for reconciliation with Fatah:
The Hamas crackdown on journalists is seen as an attempt to prevent further coverage of daily protests throughout the Gaza Strip.
Hamas’s actions indicate that the movement, which has been controlling the Gaza Strip since 2007, is afraid that the current wave of popular uprisings sweeping the Arab world will hit the Strip . . . .
Ironically, an IDF operation in the Gaza Strip will undoubtedly ease the internal pressure on Hamas. The mortar attacks are aimed at dragging Israel into a military offensive that is needed by Hamas to divert attention from its problems and rally the Palestinian public behind it.
How sad. Hamas would rather bring war to Gaza than reconcile with its Palestinian brethren.
If that’s the way Hamas wants to be, well, Sigall Horovitz has a timely reminder about Accountability of Hamas under International Humanitarian Law.