With Hamas using the civilian population of Gaza as a human shield, we warned in our last communique of the imminent danger of a future mass casualty event and the increased pressure on Israel from media reaction.
With Hamas losing on the battlefield, we posited that the terrorist group would hit back by cynically causing civilian casualties to achieve what it could not do on the battlefield – bringing about intense pressure on Israel to halt its military operation.
Tragically, Palestinian civilians lost their lives on Tuesday as an Israeli tank shell hit a UN school where they were sheltering.
In the past, journalists have complained that Israel has been too slow to present its side of the story to make the print deadlines. This time, the media has no such excuse. With righteous indignation, many media outlets have condemned Israel, choosing to ignore the responsibility that Hamas bears for this tragedy, which becomes clear following an initial IDF investigation into the incident:
- Hamas terrorists fired mortar bombs from the area of the school towards Israeli forces, who returned fire towards the source of the shooting. The Israeli return fire landed outside the school, yet a series of explosions followed, indicating the probable presence of munitions and explosives in the building. Intelligence indicates that among those killed were Immad Abu Iskar and Hassan Abu Iskar, two known Hamas mortar crewmen.
- While the investigation of the incident continues, one crucial detail is already apparent: this tragedy occurred because Hamas consistently uses its own population as human shields. While betting that Israel will hesitate to strike back at areas with civilians present, Hamas covers its bet with the knowledge that should civilians be harmed, Hamas still wins since Israel will be censured by the world’s media.
According to the Associated Press, two Palestinian residents said “they saw a small group of militants firing mortar rounds from a street near the school, where 350 people had gathered to get away from the shelling. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.”
Make sure that your local media outlet covers this tragic incident fairly and from both sides of the story.
This is not the first time that Palestinian terrorists have abused UN school facilities. Click here or on the button below to see archive footage of Hamas mortar fire from the UN school in Beit Hanoun from October 2007.
Hamas Exploitation of Civilians as Human Shields
This study (completed during the first week of Operation Cast Lead) provides many examples of how Gazan civilians are used as human shields during terrorist attacks against Israel and combat against the IDF.
YNet News also reports that:
civilians are simply used as cannon fodder or human shields. Reports out of Gaza say residents who attempted to flee their homes in the northern area of the Strip were forced to go back at gunpoint, by Hamas men….
Other civilian complaints state that Hamas gunmen pull children along with them “by the ears” from place to place, fearing that if they don’t have a child with them they will be fair game to the IDF. Others hide in civilian homes and stairwells, UNRWA ambulances, and mosques.
In other reported cases Hamas gunmen hold civilians hostage in alleyways in order to provide themselves with a living barricade to ward off IDF forces.
Click on the image below to see video footage of an armed Hamas terrorist grabbing an innocent young boy off the street to use as a human shield to save his own life.
The Jerusalem Post comments on Tuesday’s incident and the issue of how the media, leaving out vital context, becomes part of the problem:
When readers of Britain’s Guardian are confronted by a front-page photo of a father collapsed in front of his three dead children, they can be forgiven for losing sight of the bigger picture: that between 2001-2008, over 8,000 flying bombs were launched at Israel, traumatizing an entire generation of Israeli children; and that unless the IDF manages to stop Hamas, the months ahead could see life in metropolitan Tel Aviv become as perilous as it is in Sderot.
And when readers of London’s Times see the headline: “We’re wading in death, blood and amputees. Pass it on – shout it out” they, too, may be forgiven for overlooking the fact that Hamas purposely situates its launchers in densely populated areas.
When the Arizona Republic reports: “Israel ignores calls for peace,” a photo isn’t even necessary….
Too many news outlets have allowed their coverage of Gaza to be agenda-driven, to willfully disregard the duty of presenting news and images in context.
Cynically thrusting pictures of dead toddlers at readers and viewers obfuscates truth, bedevils news consumers, and robotically demonizes those “who could do such a thing.”
What a devious way of giving succor to the uncompromising fanatics who are really to blame for the horror of it all.
Robert Fisk: “Massacres” and “Lies”
In the worst case of commentary on Tuesday’s events, notorious anti-Israel polemicist Robert Fisk actually accuses Israel of lying in The Independent:
What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties….
And I write the following without the slightest doubt: we’ll hear all these scandalous fabrications again. We’ll have the Hamas-to-blame lie – heaven knows, there is enough to blame them for without adding this crime – and we may well have the bodies-from-the-cemetery lie and we’ll almost certainly have the Hamas-was-in-the-UN-school lie and we will very definitely have the anti-Semitism lie.
Fisk, to recall, is a first-class liar who falsely accused Israel of using depleted uranium during the 2006 Lebanon conflict, a charge that he refused to retract after it was comprehensively disproven.
Read the full opinion piece and send your considered comments to The Independent – firstname.lastname@example.org - remembering to include your name, postal address and daytime telephone number to ensure a chance of publication on the letters page.
LIVE BLOGGING OF THE MEDIA
Due to an immense increase in e-mail traffic and the attempts of cyber-jihadists to hack into our system and silence our voice, it has become necessary to carry out overnight upgrades to our servers to ensure that we can continue to provide you with content during this crisis period.
In the meantime, head to Backspin, where our chief blogger Pesach Benson is live blogging media coverage of the Gaza war and finding the best and worst examples out there. Our websites HonestReporting and HR UK will still be there providing you with content and resources over the weekend. We’ll be back soon ready to fight anti-Israel media bias with your help.