Hamas Deception Is Killing Journalism

News Image By Jerusalem Post January 16, 2024
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'Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," goes the well-known proverb from the 1600s.The world, according to this measuring stick, should feel utterly ridiculous because Hamas succeeds in fooling it time and time again.

And no, the intent here is not to address the obscene miscarriage of justice currently taking place in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, where Israel stands accused of committing genocide.

That's right; it is democratic Israel that warns civilians to flee neighborhoods before it attacks, giving terrorists ample opportunity to escape as well, which stands accused.

Democratic Israel, which allows fuel and humanitarian aid into Gaza even though this prolongs the war and, as a result, increases IDF fatalities. Democratic Israel, which neither started this war nor desired it.

Israel stands accused, and not Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization that has the destruction of Israel as the cardinal tenet of its founding charter and which launched a savage, unprovoked attack on the Jewish state, murdering, raping, burning, mutilating thousands, and kidnapping hundreds. The extent to which Hamas has fooled the world can be seen in the grotesque proceedings at the ICJ.

How has Hamas mastered deception?

Hamas has perfected deception. Just witness what happened on Sunday when the West was full of stories about, as a New York Times headline put it, "two more journalists killed in Gaza."

The outrage was quick to follow. However, according to the IDF, the two were not intrepid war correspondents in the Ernie Pyle or David Halberstam mold; rather, they were in the service of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Al-Dahdouh's death was "an unimaginable tragedy" and that "far too many innocent Palestinian men, women, and children" have died in the war.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour posted on X that "the number of journalists killed during Israel's war on Hamas is appalling and unprecedented... Journalists in Gaza are our eyes and ears for the truth."

"Eyes and ears for the truth?" Is that what the two men were? According to the IDF spokesman, whom this newspaper believes more than Hamas or the Hamas-backed Al-Jazeera, they were operating a drone that endangered Israeli forces in Khan Yunis.

They worked for news operations - so what? It was not their only role.

According to the IDF, basing its conclusion on documents captured inside Gaza, Al-Dahdouh was a member of PIJ's electric engineering unit, and Thuria was the deputy head of a Hamas terror battalion.

"That cannot be," the willing-to-be-fooled will argue, aghast. It cannot be that terrorists moonlight as "journalists." Hamas would not do that. They would not place journalists in danger by doing such a thing.

Right. And Hamas would never use ambulances to ferry around terrorists, place its central headquarters underneath a hospital, or hide missiles in preschools and mosques.

Beyond the gullibility of the world and its willingness to take at face value what a terrorist organization says, including taking as gospel the casualty figures that it provides, equally disturbing is the willingness to believe the absolute worst about Israel.

As former ambassador to the UK Mark Regev told the BBC this week, Israel does not deliberately target journalists. "We're the only country in the Middle East with a free press," he said. "We're the only country in the region where the press can write bad things and criticize government leaders. To say Israel deliberately targets the press is ridiculous; we're the only country that glorifies the free press."

But much of the world will dismiss what Regev said as Israeli propaganda. Instead, they will choose to believe Hamas's lies. Why? Hamas has turned fooling the world - having it believe that norms that apply to Western democracies apply to them as well - into an art form.

If "fool me twice" is shame on me, what befalls those deceived a thousand times?

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post

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