Media Coverage of Hamas

File:Flag of Hamas.svgThe landslide victory of the Hamas terror organization in the Palestinian Authority elections has tremendous ramifications not only for the Middle East peace process but for the global fight against terrorism. While it is our mission to portray and respond to media bias, it is also important to note when the media do an accurate job. Most of the media we monitor, including many news organizations which we have previously cited for anti-Israel bias, have so far been responsible in their coverage of the issue.

The Associated Press noted correctly:

“The group (Hamas), which opposes the existence of Israel and has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings, is expected to lead the next Palestinian government, hurting the chances for a peace deal.”

Reuters also draws attention to the fact that:

“Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel and its replacement by an Islamic Palestinian state.”

The New York Times shows how not only is Hamas unapologetic for its history of terrorism, but also that no Hamas leader is prepared to accept compromises to achieve peace with Israel:

(Hamas leader Khalad Maashal) insisted that “resistance is a legitimate right that we will practice and protect,” and he defended attacks on Israeli civilians, which included many suicide bombings until a cease-fire nearly a year ago…

(The Hamas Charter) calls for the elimination of Israel and Jews from Islamic holy land and portrays the Jews as evil, citing an anti-Semitic version of history going back to the Crusades. It also includes a reference to the noted czarist forgery of a plan for world domination, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and condemnation of supposedly Zionist organizations like the Rotary Club and the Masons…

No Hamas leader or candidate is on record as sanctioning a permanent recognition of Israel’s right to exist side by side with an independent Palestinian state, which has been the cornerstone assumption of peace negotiations since the Oslo accords in 1993…

…As Mr. Zahar (prominent Hamas leader in Gaza) also said, “We do not recognize the Israeli enemy, nor his right to be our neighbor, nor to stay, nor his ownership of any inch of land.”

We will be monitoring the New York Times and other major media to make sure they continue to cover Hamas as a terrorist group devoted to the destruction of Israel.

CNN also uses quotations from Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to demonstrate that Hamas has no intention of disarming. On the contrary, Hamas is seeking to strengthen its armed faction:

Mashaal indicated the possibility of a Palestinian army in the wake of the historic elections that swept his party into power this week.

At the same time, he stood by the militant group’s longstanding refusal to disarm.

“If you do not like our militancy, we are ready to unify the Palestinian arms … and create an army, just like any other country,” Mashaal said.

“Hung Up on the Wrong Issues” 

A columnist in The Guardian takes an opposite approach. Citing Hamas’ victory as “the best news from the Middle East for a long time,” Jonathan Steele goes on to assert that:

Above all, Europe should not get hung up on the wrong issues, like armed resistance and the “war on terror”. Murdering a Palestinian politician by a long-range attack that is bound also to kill innocent civilians is morally and legally no better than a suicide bomb on a bus. Hamas’s refusal to give formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist should also not be seen by Europe as an urgent problem.

The Israeli Defense Forces have never “murdered Palestinian politicians.” Following waves of suicide bombings and other terror attacks, the IDF has acted to arrest or incapacitate terrorists planning attacks and terrorist leaders. In addition, the IDF has taken great pains to avoid civilian casualties, even when it means increased risk to IDF soldiers.

Comments to the Guardian: letters@guardian.co.uk

Comments to Jonathan Steele: j.steele@guardian.co.uk

We at HonestReporting believe in not only exposing media bias but also in giving credit where credit is due. Now that many of the major media organizations are on record describing Hamas accurately, we will measure how their current coverage is reflected in their future reporting. Since Hamas is being described as a “terrorist” organization, make sure that media you read continue to use the word “terrorist” when referring to Hamas.

Those who need one more example of how extreme and dangerous Hamas is need look no further than Hamas’ own website which includes the following statement from their charter:

The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

HonestReporting

(Image of Flag of Hamas via Wikimedia Commons/Guilherme Paula)

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