Hamas’ manipulation of the international media to score PR points continues, becoming ever more brazen with each successful effort. They are becoming experts in the field, and they know it. This week was a perfect display of the propaganda skills that Hamas has acquired to augment its growing military capacity.
Act One was Hamas’ shutting off of power to Gaza City. Israel had reduced Gaza’s fuel supply in response to the tens of rockets Hamas fired daily from the Gaza Strip. Hamas saw an opportunity to embarrass Israel and set up Act Two, the mass exodus into Egypt. The media snatched up the narrative of innocent Gazan civilians sentenced to the dark and cold because of Israel’s ‘collective punishment’. In Monday’s Boston Globe, Page A3, or ‘The World” section, features a large picture of a pretty young Gazan woman washing dishes by the light of a kerosene lamp. The headline read “Power cut leaves Gaza City in the dark”, and the caption was “A woman used a lantern yesterday after electricity was cut in the Gaza Strip. The power cut sent beleaguered Gazans to stock up on food and batteries in anticipation of dark, cold days ahead. Gaza officials warned the move would cause a health catastrophe.” The half page article featured only seventy words explaining the Israeli side, that the blackout “is a Hamas ploy to pretend there is some kind of crisis to attract international sympathy.” The article reports that “Minutes later, residents started a candlelight march as a protest”, an obvious sign that the march was organized by Hamas to be done in coordination with the shutting off of the power. And the media fell for the march as well, featuring prominent photographs of Palestinian women and candles, civilly protesting against their cruel Israeli jailers.
Then Hamas tore down the wall between Egypt and Gaza. They presented it as gift to the Palestinians, a chance for the people to escape the siege imposed by Israel. But the Times found a security officer who had witnessed Hamas’ slow destruction of the wall over the course of the last several months.
Hamas, which took control of the coastal territory last June after a stand-off with Fatah, has denied that its men set off the explosions that brought down as much as two-thirds of the 12-km wall in the early hours.
But a Hamas border guard interviewed by The Times at the border admitted that the Islamist group was responsible and had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall using oxy-acetylene cutting torches.
That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations between midnight and 1am the 40ft wall came tumbling down, leaving it lying like a broken concertina down the middle of no-man’s land as an estimated 350,000 Gazans flooded into Egypt.
The guard, Lieutenant Abu Usama of the Palestinian National Security, said of the cutting operation: “I’ve seen this happening over the last few months. It happened in the daytime but was covered up so that nobody would see.”
The skill of the Hamas demolition operation was clear to see along the border, although The Times could not visit the entire length of the border. Where the charges had been laid, the wall was heavily damaged. Elsewhere it appeared to be clearly cut.
But, again, the ploy worked beautifully. The Boston Globe and The New York Times ran the same picture above the fold on the front page, showing Palestinians moving across the felled barrier. The New York Times editors did exactly what Hamas anticipated, linking the fallen wall to the power crisis- except this time, they said that Israel shut off the power.
We are deeply concerned about the many innocent Israelis who live along the border with Gaza and must suffer through the constant bombardment. But Israel’s response – shutting off power and other essential supplies – is a collective punishment that will only feed anger and extremism.
Melanie Phillips, writing in The Spectator, points out the fact that the wall lies between Gaza and Egypt makes it difficult to claim that Israel is besieging Gaza-
Yet even while Israel is being excoriated for ‘laying brutal siege’ to Gaza and inflicting ‘collective punishment’ upon the Palestinians in their ‘open prison’, the said Palestinians suddenly breach a hole in the wall with Egypt and pour through. What’s this – a ‘Berlin wall’ that the Telegraph and others have suddenly discovered Egypt operates to keep the Palestinians in Gaza and out of Egypt? Just like Israel has done? Isn’t Egypt’s wall therefore also an ‘apartheid wall’ — or is it only the Jews who do apartheid? And what’s this – a supply route into Gaza controlled by Egypt, not Israel? So how can this have been Israel’s ‘brutal siege’? Hasn’t Egypt equally been laying ‘brutal siege’ to the Gazans, also enforcing upon them ‘collective punishment’ and also forcing them to live in an ‘open prison’? Or is it only the Jews who can ever be guilty of such heinous acts? Clearly this is so for Tim Butcher of the Telegraph, for whom breaching the Egyptian wall ended Israel’s swingeing blockade.
And what’s this? Khaled Abu Toameh reports in the Jerusalem Post:
At least 90 Gazans, most of them women, were wounded by Egyptian border guards using tear gas, clubs, water cannons and live ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, who were protesting against the continued closure of the border crossing
That’s protesting against the closure of Egypt’s border crossing. If Israel had wounded 90 Palestinians using tear gas, clubs, water cannons and live ammunition, there would have been hysterical claims of a massacre and genocide. Yet when the Egyptians do it, the British media scarcely even report it.
Steve Erlanger reports that
More quietly, Hamas gunmen could be seen taking delivery of hundreds of bags of cement. Israel has sharply restricted the import of cement into Gaza, even for aid projects, because it says Hamas diverts the supply to build fortified tunnels and emplacements for use against any major Israeli military action in Gaza.
Absolutely correct. Hamas knows that it is a matter of time before a Kassam hits a preschool and triggers the massive Israeli invasion that has been in the works for more than a year. They have learnt from the Hizbullah model, building heavily fortified positions to incur heavy casualties on the IDF, in the hope that public opinion will turn against the operation because of the casualties.
Pallywood continues, and the media is no wiser to it now than they were when they misreported the Al-Dura incident or the Jenin ‘massacre’.