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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘journalists’

ISIS Joins Hamas, Palestinian Authority in Silencing Journalists

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Terrorists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) operating in Gaza have united with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction to silence Palestinian journalists, Arab affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh writes in an article for the Gatestone Institute.

Over the past few days, a number of Palestinian journalists have received death threats from the “Gaza branch” of ISIS and were accused of publishing “lies” about ISIS in particular and about Islam in general.

The threats were sent via social media and messages to the journalists’ mobile phones.

“Islamic State warns the journalist and media people against their continued and constant attacks on us,” reads the text of one message sent. “We in Islamic State affirm that we will execute the rule of the Shari’a [Islamic law] against these apostates, who are sowing discord among Muslims.”

Many Palestinian journalists were already being targeted by Hamas in Gaza and the PA in Judea and Samaria. Those threats were reported last summer and confirmed by international journalists after they once they escaped from Gaza and reached their home countries, where they were free from the danger of being killed by Hamas and its terrorist allies.

The latest threats have only ratcheted up the pressure on these reporters, who are taking the threats seriously and are increasing their vigilance and their self-censorship.

“Of course we are afraid,” a veteran journalist in Gaza told Toameh. “You never know who is hiding behind the mask. It could be someone from ISIS or Hamas or Islamic Jihad or even Fatah. It is not safe to be a journalist living in the West Bank or Gaza.”

“The threats against Palestinian journalists are important because this is no longer a ‘local’ issue or an internal Palestinian affair,” Toameh writes. “Those who are seeking to silence the Palestinian journalists are also trying to prevent the international media from learning about what is really happening in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“A Palestinian journalist working with international news agencies and newspapers is not going to report truthfully and honestly, when he or she is facing daily threats from so many parties. The only stories these journalists are going to offer the international media are ones that depict Israel in a negative manner. The Palestinian journalists know that at the end of the day they need to go back to their families in Ramallah and Gaza without having to worry about masked men knocking on their doors at night.

“The threats against Palestinian journalists are worrying, and should be exposed and brought to the attention of human rights groups around the world. More disturbing is that many of the international journalists operating in the region are willing to turn a blind eye to the dangers facing their Palestinian colleagues and employees. The international media outlets and their representatives are prepared to take almost any story offered to them by Palestinian reporters, especially if the story consists of anti-Israel statements,” Toameh writes.

The above is especially important to consider in light of the current investigation into last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, being carried out by the United Nations Human Rights Council. As they did with depositions taken for the notorious and inaccurate Goldstone Report, the investigators are taking at face value anything said to them by Gaza residents they interview. They fail to understand the nature of the threat under which the average citizen lives his or her life in Gaza – nor do most “outsiders” realize how many so-called “civilians” are ancillary members or supporters of terror groups as well.

As a result, the evidence gathered is skewed from the start, though the investigators are wholly unaware of it, or worse, could care less.

International media by and large relies on news reports that have been self-censored by on-the-scene Palestinian stringers who are frankly afraid for their lives.
Threats by ISIS will now only raise the heat in the area.

ISIS Kidnaps Four European Hostages

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Islamic State terrorists have seized four more foreign journalists and aid workers, two of them Italian women, bring to more than 24 the number of hostages they are holding, presumably alive for the time being.

The terrorists, still described as “militants” by wire services, abducted their victims in Aleppo or Idlib in western Syria and have moved them to the ISIS stronghold in the north.

ISIS terrorists this year have freed at least 10 kidnap victims after receiving a ransom.

One of the abductors of a British citizen who later was freed was the same terrorist who appeared as the executioner of James Foley in the video posted by ISIS, showing the masked killer beheading Foley, a journalist.

The Images Missing From The Gaza war

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

There has been no shortage of images from the Gaza conflict.

We’ve seen rubble, dead Palestinian children, Israelis cowering during rocket attacks, Israeli military maneuvers and Israeli army footage of Hamas militants emerging from tunnels to attack Israeli soldiers.

What we haven’t seen are practically any images of Hamas fighters inside Gaza.

We know they’re there: Someone’s got to be launching those rockets into Israel (more than 3,200) and firing at invading Israeli troops. But so far the only images we’ve seen (or even heard about) are the Israel Defense Forces’ videos of Hamas fighters using hospitals, ambulances, mosques and schools (and tunnels) to launch attacks against Israeli targets or ferry arms around Gaza.

Why haven’t we seen journalists’ photographs of Hamas fighters inside Gaza?

We know Hamas doesn’t want the world to see images of Palestinian fighters launching rockets or using civilian havens like hospitals as bases of operation. But if we’re able to see images from both sides of practically every other war – in Syria, in Ukraine, in Iraq – why is Gaza an exception?

If journalists are being threatened and intimidated when they try to document Hamas activity in Gaza, their news outlets should be out front saying so. They’re not.

Last week, The New York Times published an account by photographer Sergey Ponomarev on what his days are like in Gaza. Here’s what Ponomarev said:

“It was a war routine. You leave early in the morning to see the houses destroyed the night before. Then you go to funerals, then to the hospital because more injured people arrive, and in the evening you go back to see more destroyed houses.

“It was the same thing every day, just switching between Rafah and Khan Younis.”

If you’re wondering whether the Times has assigned another photographer to cover the Hamas aspect of the story, it hasn’t. Looking through the 45 images in four of the Times’s recent slideshows on the conflict, there’s not a single one of a Hamas fighter.

Why not? After all, Hamas attacks against Israel are crucial to understanding what’s underpinning this conflict.

When I posed this question to the Times, here’s what Eileen Murphy, the newspaper’s vice president for corporate communications, told me:

“Our photo editor went through all of our pictures recently and out of many hundreds, she found 2 very distant poor quality images that were captioned Hamas fighters by our photographer on the ground. It is very difficult to identify Hamas because they don’t have uniforms or any visible insignia; our photographer hasn’t even seen anyone carrying a gun.

“I would add that we would not withhold photos of Hamas militants. We eagerly pursue photographs from both sides of the conflict, but we are limited by what our photographers have access to.”

Now, I’m no war reporter. It’s a risk I’m not willing to take, and I commend those who do. So I’m hesitant to question the work of reporters in Gaza right now.

But here’s what I don’t get: With the hundreds of journalists there, including numerous photojournalists with experience covering bloody conflicts in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, and Afghanistan, how is it that they aren’t able to get any images of Palestinians fighting the Israelis?

We know these images exist – unless you believe the IDF is fabricating its footage of Palestinian fighters using ambulances to transport rockets, firing from hospitals and mosques, and launching rockets at Israel.

It’s certainly important to show the human and structural devastation in Gaza. But with more than 3,200 rockets fired at Israel thus far from Gaza, and plenty of other fighting there, you’d think media outlets would be able to document some of it. But they haven’t. (Israeli news outlets are barred from Gaza, so they get a pass.)

Foreign Journalists Testify to Hamas’ Threats for Honest War Coverage

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Journalists from across the globe who flooded Israel and Gaza to cover the war have testified to the Israeli government that they often suffered violence and that their equipment was damaged by Hamas because they had documented criminal activity by Hamas, such as the launching of rockets from the heart of civilian areas.

The Government Press Office (GPO) has dealt with 705 foreign journalists from over 42 countries who came to cover the war, dubbed by The Jewish Press as the IDF’s Protective Edge campaign against Hamas’ Operation Death Wish.

The number of foreign journalists reporting on the war was more than double the 303 reporters who came to Israel in November 2012 to cover Operation Pillar of Defense.

The GPO said Wednesday it has accumulated testimony by foreign journalists regarding harassment by Hamas activists regarding the carrying out of their assignments. Journalists said that during their coverage of the fighting they received threats and, in several cases, were the victims of violence that included destruction of their equipment

At the onset of the operation, the GPO opened a media and information center in Ashkelon and held weekly tours, briefings and press conferences with Cabinet ministers and government and military officials. Journalists noted that their meeting with Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who briefed them on the challenges of urban and guerrilla warfare, assisted them in understanding the complexity of the current violence.

Reporters also visited and spoke with wounded IDF soldiers at Sheba Medical center at Tel HaShomer as well as with Gaza Arabs who were being treated in Israel.

They toured the IDF field hospital at Erez Crossing, which received and treated approximately 50 wounded Arabs. The number would have been much higher, but Hamas prevented hundreds from arriving and being helped by Jews.

During the tour, the journalists witnessed the violation of the ceasefire by Hamas and heard t explosions in the area. They also observed the scope of the humanitarian assistance, which included medicine, medical equipment, food, clothing and fuel. In the past month, approximately 1,500 trucks with humanitarian aid entered Gaza, belying the libel that Gaza is under Israeli siege.

Despite the international condemnation from governments around the world, newspaper coverage was less anti-Israel than usual, with the obvious exception of The New York Times.

Another major factor in the change in coverage was the work by the staff of the office of the IDF Spokesman. The army learned its lessons from Operation Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud and filmed dozens of Hamas war crimes violations and provided footage of the IDF warning civilians in Gaza to stay away from areas from which Hamas was shooting rockets and which were to be bombed.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett, both fluent English speakers and communicators in the media, flooded American television programs with precise answers on false allegations by Hamas and international leaders that tried to paint Israel as the villain for defending against rocket attacks and terrorists infiltrations.

Arab-Israeli Journalist to Gazan Journalist: Hamas is Playing a PR Game on the Expense of the People of Gaza”

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

i24 News’ anchor Lucy Aharish, an Israeli Arab, lashed out against a Gazan journalist who was a guest on her show last week, telling him that Hamas were to blame for the crisis in Gaza. The journalist, Alaa al-Mashehrwi, was asked about the current situation in Gaza. He began lamenting about the reality there, accusing Israel of war crimes, of occupying Gaza and of generating a humanitarian crisis, which he defined as ‘very bad, very strong and very dangerous’.

Lucy Aharish did not sit silent and allow the lies to be aired and cut him off, saying that Hamas leaders use civilians as human shields, hide weapons caches and launchers in civilians homes, and therefore they are responsible for the civilian casualties.

She called on al-Mashehrwi to go out together with other journalists and civilians, face Hamas and the Islamic Jihad and demonstrate against their use of the civilian population. She urged them to demand from Hamas that they stop firing into Israel, assuring him that once they stopped the suffering on both sides would stop.

Egypt Slaps White House, Jails Al Jazeera Journalists for 7 Years

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Journalists around the world are expressing outrage in the wake of an Egyptian court’s decision to sentence three Al Jazeera journalists to prison for seven years.

The three were taken from their hotel room in Cairo in December 2013 and charged with conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to tarnish Egypt’s international reputation. Australian ex-BBC reporter Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian ex-CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy, and local Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were among 20 accused in connection with the charges.

Al Jazeera has denied the accusations and journalists around the world have condemned Egypt for conducting what is seen as a direct campaign by Egypt’s new president to snuff out freedom of speech.

In the United States, the issue was also perceived as a diplomatic slap to the White House, which condemned the sentence. Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to express his government’s “serious displeasure” over the matter.

The court decision had come just one day after Kerry’s unannounced visit to Cairo in which he announced that Washington had unfrozen billions of dollars in military aid to Egypt. He also vowed during his visit that the U.S. would deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters for use in the fight against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.

Newly-elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi refused to “interfere in the judicial verdict,” setting off an international firestorm.

“Egypt should review its unacceptable sentences against Egyptian and international journalists, and show commitment to freedom of the press,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Al Jazeera reported.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott added that his government would work to get the imprisoned journalists out of the country “quickly.”

Leaders from various other international groups said that they, too, would work to free the journalists.

Does Israel Recognize Itself as a Jewish State?

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

A government press release, referring to Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot as the “autumn holiday” raises a question whether the Netanyahu administration recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, a demand it has made of the Palestinian Authority.

The Government Press Office sent a letter to “press attaches at foreign embassies” with an invitation to attend a “Spirituality and History Tour of Jerusalem” next month.

The “spirituality” part is a bit hard to understand unless it is limited to Christianity.

“We will watch the Armenians march from their theological seminary to prayers in the St. James Cathedral, in the Armenian Quarter,” the letter stated.

“We will then proceed to the Jewish Quarter where will hear about the autumn holidays, visit the Old Yishuv Court Museum and ascend to amazing view from the roof of Aish HaTorah Yeshiva,” it continued.

“We will end our tour at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where will hear about Jerusalem’s multi-faceted Christian communities while observing ceremonies of the various sects.”

There are two glaring absences. One, there is no reference to Islam, which like it or not, is part of the history of the Old City.

The other and more blatant gaffe is the mention of “the autumn holidays.”

Autumn holidays?

A case could be made by a secular Jew that Sukkot really is all about the harvest and is one of the three Festivals in which agriculture is a major part.

But Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur?

Would the GPO dare refer to refer Christmas as “the winter holiday?”

The Jewish Press asked a couple of questions from people involved in the tour, and everyone emphasized there was no slight intended and that, in fact, the holidays do fall in the autumn.

One person indeed was taken aback and said that the question would be looked into.

It would be too complicated to explain non-Jews that they are “High Holidays” – then you have to explain what is a “low” holiday.

To explain “Tishrei,” the month in which the holidays occur, requires a long span of listening attention, although Ramadan is accepted.

But Jewish? Can’t they even say the word “Jewish?”

Before the High Holidays, the GPO will send out its annual multi-page explanations of the Jewish holidays, allowing all of the foreign journalists to study the spirituality, if they want to wade through it all.

Maybe on the actual “Spirituality and History Tour of Jerusalem,” the autumn holidays will become Jewish.

One person told The Jewish Press,” Don’t make a mountain of a mole hill.”

Well, we are, because those when those little mole hills pile up on each other, they become a big, big mountain.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/does-israel-recognize-itself-as-a-jewish-state/2013/08/25/

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