Israeli media parrots Fatah disinformation on Hamas
Ever since Hamas’ counter-coup against Fatah in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2006, the bulk of the Israeli press has been serving as a readily available mouthpiece for Fatah propaganda, disinformation and outright lies against Hamas.
According to reliable inside sources in Ramallah, a “special disinformation unit” affiliated with the PA routinely provides the Israeli media with fabricated stories and concocted statements for the sole purpose of tarnishing Hamas’ image and public standing.
“This unit employs some propaganda experts who concoct and invent stories and mix them with some factual elements , and then the Israeli newspapers, eager to print anything and everything against Hamas, would feature the mendacious stories on their front pages,” said a source who is aware of the activities of that unit.
The source gave several examples of how some Israeli newspapers readily parroted Fatah’s brash lies about Hamas without even bothering to ask any questions.
A few months ago, Fatah operatives telephoned the right-wing Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, telling its West Bank correspondent Khaled Abu Tuma that Hamas activists had stoned to death a young Palestinian girl in a Gaza street on suspicion of shaming her family by indulging in a promiscuous sexual behavior.
The Jerusalem Post featured the story rather prominently and even published the gruesome picture of a badly bludgeoned girl lying dead in the street. Predictably, the story elicited angry talkback responses from around the world, vilifying Hamas for the barbaric act.
However, three days later, a vigilant reader alerted the Post that the picture they had published actually belonged to a Yazidi girl whose family members and tribesmen brutally killed her in early 2006 on the ground that she befriended and fell in love with a Sunni boy.
The Yazidis, who live in northern Iraq, are not Muslims and are commonly known as Satan worshipers.
Fatah operatives eager to besmirch Hamas’ image had apparently cut and pasted the picture from the internet and forwarded it to the Jerusalem Post which published the picture along with the story which claimed that the barbaric event took place in Gaza, not in Northern Iraq.
Similarly, on numerous occasions, the same paper, widely viewed as a mouthpiece for the Jewish settler movement and other extremist right-wing groups, quote fictitious sources vilifying Hamas with anonymous or no attribution.
Last week, the Jerusalem Post quoted a “senior Hamas leader” as threatening to kidnap Egyptian soldiers to force Egypt to free a number of detained Palestinians.
The report, however, turned to be baseless. Hamas’ spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, accused Israel and Fatah intelligence of fabricating “black propaganda” against Hamas for the purpose of poisoning its relations with Egypt.
The latest act of disinformation which the Israeli press, especially Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem Post, have readily embraced is the claim that Hamas militiamen had confiscated a shipment of food and medicine donated by Jordan and Kuwait.
However, on Saturday, 9 February, Ziad al Zaza, the economy minister in the democratically-elected government in Gaza, asserted that officials of the PA-affiliated Red Crescent had breached an understanding with his ministry stipulating that all Arab and foreign donations earmarked for Gaza should be passed to and be distributed by the UNRWA to the poor and needy Palestinian families.
Zaza accused the American-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership in Ramallah of “conniving” with the Red Crescent to divert the Jordanian donations to Ramallah City in order to distribute them to members of the PA security apparatus loyal to Abbas and his allies.
Interestingly, the Israeli press most of the time fails to retract inaccurate reports about Hamas. And when retractions are made, they are usually done very tersely and buried as a secondary detail in a large story.