Newsweek’s Hammer-Blow

Dear Honest Reporting Member,


In 1973, four hostages were taken in a botched bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. At the end of their captivity, six days later, the hostages actively resisted rescue. They refused to testify against their captors and raised money for their legal defense. Psychologists gave the phenomenon a name: “Stockholm Syndrome.” They defined it as a hostage’s strategy of trying to please the captor in order to stay alive. The hostage identifies so much with the captor that the hostage’s psyche is warped to the point of sympathizing with the tormenter.

On May 29, Newsweek’s Jerusalem bureau chief Joshua Hammer and photographer Gary Knight were kidnapped by Fatah Hawks in Gaza. Hammer and Knight had just concluded an interview with Palestinian leaders in the Gaza Strip, and were informed by the interviewees that they were now prisoners. The two Newsweek correspondents were held captive for about four hours.

But in reading about this incident in Newsweek, it sounds like Stockholm had moved to the Middle East:

“Despite the strong language, Hammer says he never feared his captors would hurt him or Knight. ‘They never threatened us or pointed their guns at us,’ Hammer says. ‘They actually fed us one of the best meals I’ve eaten in Gaza.'”

In a lengthier Newsweek piece, Hammer proudly describes being summoned “for an audience with Mohammed Dahlan, the chief of Preventive Security and a close aide to Arafat, in a luxurious apartment near the sea.” Hammer uncritically repeats Dahlan’s excuses: “Saying he was embarrassed by our kidnapping, Dahlan insisted that the men who abducted us were probably a tiny cell of youths who wanted to humiliate the Palestinian Authority. Dahlan denied that his own men were shooting Israelis…”

Considering the documented harassment and intimation carried out by the Palestinian Authority against reporters and correspondents, we wonder how many journalists have been suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome these past 9 months.



Last week, Hammer (and Dan Ephron) wrote an article for Newsweek, “Technology vs Terror,” which criticized Israel’s use of F-16 aircraft to attack a Palestinian police station. Newsweek wrote: “Twelve Palestinian policemen died in a missile strike that turned the government headquarters in Nablus into rubble… The 12 who died were ordinary cops.”

Contrary to the Newsweek claim, There are no “ordinary cops” in the Palestinian Authority. All of the PA forces, including the police, have been mobilized in the 9-month “intifada.” There are countless examples of Palestinian police shooting at Israeli soldiers and abetting terrorist activities, including:

– Mortar factories have been set up in Gaza to produce long-range 120 mm aluminum mortars. Ghazi Jabali, Arafat’s chief of police, is in charge of the weapons manufacture.

– And as the New York Times reported at the destruction of Joseph’s Tomb: “Palestinian troops stood by, some shooting in the air to express their own the joy.”

– When a Tanzim member was killed after murdering two Israeli soldiers in Gaza, he was given a posthumous promotion by Arafat’s trusted deputy, Mohammed Dahlan, head of Palestinian Preventive Security.

– Arafat’s own Presidential Guard, “Force 17,” is responsible for dozens of roadside ambushes in the Ramallah and Jerusalem areas, and for an attack on the Social Security offices in Jerusalem.

Arafat’s leadership of all of these organizations and their close affiliation with “radial” groups such Hamas and the Islamic Jihad is worthy of notice. As the world waits to see if Arafat implements his promised “ceasefire,” violations by any of these organizations will indicate the Palestinian Authority’s lack of desire — or ability — to contain the Palestinian violence.

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