Updated Version of Op-Ed appearing in the Waterloo Record, 11 August 2014

Is Hamas Manipulating Coverage of the Gaza Conflict?

by Daniel M. Berry and Sandra van Eden

First version written: 8 August 2014
Latest update: 15 August 2014

Western media reports Israel's so-called indiscriminate bombing of Gaza as causing the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including babies, children and women.

How can this description of events in Gaza possibly be accurate?

There is no question [13] about the tragic deaths, but is it correct to ascribe them to "indiscriminate bombing" by Israel?

Have you noticed not a single western reporter has been killed during Operation Protective Edge? (As of 13 August, this is no longer true [17]). How can this be? If Israel were bombing indiscriminately, wouldn't western reporters have the same probability of being killed as Palestinian civilians? But miraculously, they are not being killed.

How are western reporters in Gaza able to escape the Israeli bombs that are killing the civilians? Could these western reporters know in advance where and when the Israeli bombs will fall and thus avoid them? That is certainly possible.

Israel is the only nation in the world to go to the extraordinary lengths of dropping leaflets, telephoning building occupants and sending empty bombs to knock on the roofs of buildings about to be bombed in order to get the occupants to leave the building [1].

There is evidence that on Hamas's orders, Palestinians are not only ignoring these warnings and staying in place, they are even rushing to be there when the bomb comes [2, 3, 6]. But the western reporters, who are choosing not to ignore the Israeli warnings, are not being killed or injured.

There is another possibility. In order to intercept and destroy Hamas's rockets, Iron Dome's computers can accurately calculate the path of a rocket. It can just as accurately calculate the launch site. There is evidence [4 5, 10, 12] that Hamas is launching rockets from near civilian institutions such as hospitals. When Israel destroys the launch site, those civilian institutions suffer the blows.

Could Hamas be keeping western reporters away from the civilian institution sites during rocket launches while ensuring that they visit the bombed institution soon thereafter?

This would serve four purposes:

  1. It supports the media war, Hamas's most valuable propaganda weapon. Even though it publicly claims otherwise, Hamas knows and counts on the fact that Israel bombs only military targets [6]. So keeping western reporters safe not only ensures that they will not fall victim to an Israeli bomb, it also safeguards their valuable ability to later report the horrendous civilian tragedies to the rest of the world.

  2. It ensures that western reporters do not witness Hamas's launching rockets in or near civilian institutions.

  3. It ensures that western reporters do not witness a rocket aimed for Israel falling short, landing on the civilian institution instead [7, 8], so that the damage can be blamed on Israel.

  4. Transporting western reporters to bombed civilian institution ensures that they witness and broadcast the tragic injuries and deaths of Palestinian babies, children, and women.

There is evidence that Hamas prevents the freedom of the press by directing western reporters where to go, telling them what to say and how to say it, and even threatening reporters who do not comply [9, 14, 15, 16].

Of course, with any such plan, mistakes are made, e.g., a Finnish reporter above was in a hospital just as a rocket was launched and reported it --- two mistakes from Hamas's viewpoint. She was lucky that Israel happenened not to shoot there that time. However, when Israel picked up her report and added its video to its own blog sites, she got angry [10] and wrote on her facebook page "Don't use me as your propaganda weapon." Possibly, this pro-Hamas reporter had been viewed by Hamas as reliable and was therefore not as tightly controlled as other western reporters.

Are western reporters being misled, willingly or not, into believing and reporting only what Hamas wants reported?

Israel is not deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians. On the contrary, it is trying hard to avoid harming them by going to great efforts to encourage them to leave an area about to be targeted. But, Israel cannot avoid harming innocent civilians when Hamas deliberately keeps them in such an area for propaganda purposes [11].

Thus, the only reason that hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including babies, children, and women are dying is that Hamas is deliberately putting them where they are most likely to be bombed [2, 3, 6] during Israel's legitimate defensive responses to Hamas's civilian-targeting rocket attacks in Israel.


[1] http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2014/07/13/palestinian-un-rep-each-and-every-missile-launched-against-israel-constitutes-a-crime-against-humanity/

[2] http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12019 (See the videos in the article)

[3] http://shoebat.com/2014/07/25/war-crimes-hamas-caught-beating-palestinians-try-evacuate-areas-israel-warned-bombed/

[4] http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/08/01/finnish-tv-reporter-at-gazas-al-shifa-hospital-its-true-that-rockets-are-launched-here-from-the-gazan-side-into-israel-video/

[5] http://www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/08/04/map-exposes-hamas-fortress-shujaiya-neighborhood/ See also http://www.idfblog.com/blog/ for more information.

[6] http://www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/08/04/captured-hamas-combat-manual-explains-benefits-human-shields/

[7] http://elderofziyon.blogspot.ca/2014/07/on-thursday-over-150-gaza-rockets-fell.html

[8] http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/07/30/italian-journalist-defies-hamas-out-of-gaza-far-from-hamas-retaliation-misfired-rocket-killed-children-in-shati/

[9] http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2014/08/hamas-threatening-journalists-wonder-rachel-smalley-thinks/

[10] http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/03/dont-use-me-reporter-admits-seeing-rocket-fired-from-gaza-hospital-then-blasts-pro-israel-media-for-quoting-her%E2%80%A8/

[11] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-a-rizvi/picking-a-side-in-israel-palestine_b_5602701.html

[12] http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/ndtv-s-hamas-exclusive-is-an-international-headline-571487

[13] There may be a question after all about some of these deaths as being staged as in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnjFFY4z8fk&feature=youtu.be in which supposed covered corpses move. In any case, the sole source for the numbers of dead are Hamas controlled institutions.

[14] http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Foreign-Press-Association-blasts-Hamas-for-threatening-journalists-370755

[15] http://www.bicom.org.uk/analysis-article/22033/

[16] http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Hamas-spokesperson-We-deported-foreign-journalists-for-filming-missile-launches-371215

[17] http://en.rsf.org/palestine-explosion-kills-italian-video-14-08-2014,46805.html
Explosion kills Italian video reporter and Palestinian interpreter in Gaza Strip, Published on Wednesday 13 August 2014. The Italian reporter is the first foreign journalist to be killed in the Gaza conflict.... Associated Press video journalist Simone Camilli and his Palestinian interpreter Ali Abu Afash were killed today while covering an attempt to defuse an Israeli missile in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahya.

Daniel M. Berry is a professor of computer science and software engineering at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Sandra van Eden is a narrative therapist working with at-risk youth, Auckland, New Zealand.