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False narrative about 'innocent civilians' in Gaza

The death of a journalist, who was holding Israelis captive in his home during the recent IDF rescue operation, sparked criticism against Israel rather than the Palestinians. This is an unusual situation but not surprising.

Imagen de archivo publicada por las Fuerzas de Defensa de Israel (FDI) el 10 de diciembre de 2023 que muestra la continuación del combate de las FDI contra Hamás en la Franja de Gaza. Armas estadounidenses junto con el tuit de las IDF denunciando la relación de

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The rescue of four Israeli hostages during an impressive operation carried out by brave IDF soldiers brought joy to a large number of people in Israel and the world, as well as relief to the families of the young people who had been kidnapped on October 7. However, it also once again highlighted the disastrous way in which a large part of the press, non-governmental organizations and world politics address the issue of civilian suffering in Gaza with the sole purpose of demonizing Israel.

In an article published in Commentary, Seth Mendel argued that the prejudices and errors committed by the media and some organizations that call themselves humanitarianare not a collection of errors but the scaffolding of a narrative. And once you dismantle that scaffolding you can see that their entire narrative of the war was a lie.”

During the recent rescue of four Israelis, it was revealed that a so-called Palestinian journalist who had three of the kidnapped people in his home in the town of Nuseirat, Gaza, died. Abdullah al-Jamal, who worked for Palestine Chronicle (a US-based organization), had collaborated with Al Jazeera and, as noted by journalist Eitan Fischberger, was also a spokesman for the Hamas Ministry of Labor. Therefore, it is important to highlight that there was a reporter writing about the war while holding three Israelis captive.

Despite the heroic operation to rescue the hostages, some voices complained about the death of the journalist and the number of people who lost their lives when Hamas terrorists shot at the hostages and soldiers during the withdrawal.

One of the critics of the operation was Professor Ben Saul, UN special reporter on human rights and counterterrorism and professor of international law in Australia, who stated that the rescue could have been illegal because it could be anticipated that the number of civilian casualties would be “excessive” and because Israel would have committed “perfidy” by disguising some of its forces as civilians.

In his article, Mendel stated that although Israel is intended to be condemned for the operation, the fact is clear that the Israelis pretended to be local instead of entering into the shooting where the hostages were. And he added that beyond the "nonsense" that 'you can't fool the enemy in war,' the Israelis were not on a mission to kill but to rescue. And yes, they responded when Hamas terrorists tried to kill the civilians they were rescuing.”

However, unusually, the same people who complain about the death of a journalist do not care that he had Israeli hostages in his house. This is also not the first time cases of reporters participating in terrorist activity have been revealed.

Journalists or terrorists?

Throughout the war between Israel and Hamas after the October 7 massacre, the Jewish State has accused some Al Jazeera journalists of being part of the ranks of the Palestinian terrorist organization.

The American journalist Jonathan Schanzer mentioned some of them in an article published in Commentary.

In March, the author noted, the Israeli military arrested Al Jazeera reporter Ismail al-Ghoul during an exchange of fire with Hamas terrorists at Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The Qatari television channel immediately criticized his arrest, insisting that he was an innocent journalist. More than a week later, the Israelis released him, so the station took advantage of the circumstance to reinforce its argument that al-Ghoul was innocent.

A month earlier, Schanzer noted, Al Jazeera denounced the IDF after one of its correspondents was injured during an attack carried out by an Israeli drone. However, the spokesman for the Jewish State Army in Arabic responded that Ismail Abu Omar “Held the position of deputy company commander in Hamas' Khan Yunis Eastern Battalion. Abu Omar even filmed himself participating in the bloody massacre in [the community] Nir Oz on October 7 and posted it on social media.” Schanzer added that the reporter signed his name on a photo posted on Telegram of a murdered IDF soldier whose body was taken by Hamas to Gaza. After the scandal, Al Jazeera denied any wrongdoing and stated that its “employment policies and regulations stipulate that the employee must stay away from political affiliations that could affect their performance.”

Another incident that demonstrates how journalists of Al Jazeera were allegedly involved in terrorist activity occurred in January, when reporter Hamza al-Dahdouh and a colleague of his were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the vehicle both were traveling in from Khan Younis to Rafah. As expected, the Arab television channel condemned the Israeli offensive. Hamas, for its part, announced Dahdouh's death and added his name to a list of journalists allegedly killed in the war. However, the IDF stated days later that the vehicle was bombed because both reporters were operating a drone that posed a threat to Israeli soldiers near Rafah. The Jewish State Army later added that Dahdouh was an agent of the Electronic Engineering Unit and a regional official of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rocket Unit. Al Jazeera rejected the Israeli accusation and condemned “attempts... to justify the murder of colleague Hamza Wael Al-Dahdouh and other journalists.”

The other reporter who died in the offensive was cameraman Mustafa Thuraya, who the IDF said was the one who operated the drone and who appeared on a list of terrorists fighting for Hamas' Al-Qadisiya Battalion.

Another employee of Al Jazeera who was allegedly involved in terrorist activity is Muhammad Wishah, who works at the channel Al Jazeera Mubasher. On February 11, the IDF confiscated his laptop in the northern Gaza Strip, on which, according to the Israeli army's Arabic-language spokesperson, images and documents were found proving that Wishah is a commander of the military wing of Hamas. The Qatari channel has not responded to these accusations. However, following the IDF revelations, Wishah deleted social media posts that showed him shaking hands with Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh.

Palestinians massively support Hamas

On October 7, not only terrorists belonging to official organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Fatah committed all kinds of atrocities, but also the civilians who entered with them or those who were waiting in Gaza beat the kidnapped that Palestinian criminals brought from Israel, dead and alive.

This situation is not surprising, since according to several polls, Palestinians massively support Hamas.

According to a poll conducted in March by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, a majority of Palestinians want Hamas to retain control of the Gaza Strip after its war against Israel ends.

In addition, the organization maintained that Palestinian support for Hamas' actions during the course of the war "remains stable at 70%, with those living in the West Bank offering a slightly higher percentage of satisfaction."

While support for Hamas' October 7 terrorist attack on Israel fell 11 points in the West Bank in March compared to December 2023, the numbers rose 14 points among those living in Gaza, the organization said. The numbers may vary as we move further back in time from the day of the massacre, but the truth is that the percentage of support for Hamas' savagery is still too high.

"When asked about their preferences for which party should be in control of the Gaza Strip after the war, 59% (64% in the West Bank and 52% in Gaza) favored Hamas," noted the organization.

Former Gaza resident claims that 99% of Gazans support terrorism

According to the testimony from Dor Shahar, a former Gazan living in Israel who converted to Judaism, the issue is actually related to the indoctrination to which Palestinians are subjected since childhood, so hatred of Jews has already run through their veins since they can remember, no matter what Israelis do or don't do. In fact, he stated that "99% of Gazans support terrorism." In fact, he stated that "99% of Gazans support terrorism."

Shahar recalled during the interview that once a well-dressed man entered the classroom of the school he attended in Gaza, and “told us that he was going to give us a special class (...) and started saying that Jews are murderers (...) that they had stolen our grandparents' lands, that all of Israel is Palestine, that our blood must be shed to recover our lands, that the Jews were Muslims and became infidels, that they have three legs, and that the most important commandment is to kill a Jew."

Indoctrination was not only experienced at school, but also in their own home. Shahar said that he used to play soccer with Israeli soldiers, and on one occasion one of them gave him candy. When he returned home with the wrapper in his hand, he asked his father if he could buy him one, but the answer was not what he expected. "He got angry and threatened me. He told me not to take sweets from the Jews because "they could poison them," he commented.

Naturally, if you combine indoctrination in Jew-hatred with a war in which Israel has to respond harshly against Hamas after October 7, the survey results are not surprising. Therefore, it is a very complex task to make Gazans understand that they are the same ones who govern them and have put them in that situation.

The press war against Israel: lies and more lies

The war in Gaza, like any other modern war conflict, is not only fought on the battlefield, but also in the press. On one hand, there is Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, where in addition to the official data provided by the authorities, various media and non-governmental organizations can work freely to report on what is happening there. On the other side is Hamas, the terrorist and authoritarian organization that rules in Gaza, where there is no freedom of expression and all the information that comes out of the Strip is provided by the Islamist group.

In a nutshell; on one hand, all the magnifying glasses in the world are watching, including the Israeli ones, since the government must be held permanently accountable in a country where a democracy with division of powers governs; and on the other side is the Hamas story and only the Hamas story. However, on repeated occasions, a large part of the world press has decided to take the information provided by the terrorist group as true, without the need to verify or investigate anything at all.

The false information provided by Hamas led to even the UN practically halving the number of women and children killed in Gaza in early May. However, the agency still does not determine how many of the dead mentioned belonged to the terrorist organization and operated as members of its militia.

Voz Media has listed here some of the most important false or distorted news that was published to demonize the Jewish State after the October 7 massacre.

Innocent civilians vs. civilians or innocent?

As we have seen, the information that usually comes from the war in the Middle East is mainly made up of the international press and all types of organizations that usually take the information provided by Hamas as reliable, innocently or maliciously. And that hardly even mentions the number of terrorists who die in combat. Furthermore, when analyzing the reality in Gaza, polls that show massive support for terrorism on the part of Palestinians and the horrible images of civilians brutally attacking Israelis are not usually taken into account. Many of these civilians, Shahar indicated, choose to be in that difficult position and that Gazans who really want to live in peace left the Strip many years ago.

Israel must continue to respect international law in war and continue to avoid civilian casualties to the extent possible. However, the conflict in the region will be eternal if Palestinian leadership is not required to stop oppressing their own people by indoctrinating them in hatred and using them as cannon fodder.