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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Distortions Being Reported on The Gaza "Media Center" Attacks

The following from NGO Monitor is reposted here with permission:

NGO Warfare Update:
Distortions on Gaza "Media Center" Attacks

NGO Monitor

On November 18, the Israeli army targeted Hamas' operational communications arrays and antennas on the roof of two buildings -- the Shawa Hussari and Al Shourouq towers. A number of foreign media outlet offices were located on the lower floors of the Al Shourouq tower. (Hamas has systematically placed strategic infrastructure and weapons close to or within civilian buildings.)

  Many political advocacy NGOs active in the Durban strategy, including false accusations during the 2008-09 Gaza conflict, immediately accused Israel of deliberately targeting journalists and the foreign media. As in the past, these statements provided highly incomplete factual information, lacked context, and made allegations of "war crimes" and other legal claims without any evidence.

NGO Monitor's analysis shows
  • The NGOs incorrectly declare that Israel acted unlawfully -- simply because the buildings contained civilians. Under international humanitarian law, if civilian objects are being used for military objectives, they are indeed legitimate targets (attacks must comply with the rules ofproportionality). This is particularly the case where combatants are exploiting those objects for cover, as Islamic Jihad members have.

  • None of these NGOs acknowledges that Al Aqsa and Al Quds TV are an integral part of the Hamas military structure; that Al Aqsa is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist; that channels are used by Hamas to transmit threats to the Israeli civilian population; that they are used to incite genocide and war crimes on the civilian population of Israel; that they are used to indoctrinate and recruit child soldiers.

  • Adalah and Al Mezan falsely claimed that Israel was intending to "demolish the 'Al-Shoroq Tower'." The building was not demolished; rather, the IDF issued statements that it was targeting installations on the roof of the building, and based on video footage from the strikes, that is exactly what the IDF did.

  • Reporters without Borders claimed that "these attacks constitute obstruction of freedom of information," but there is no protection under international law for Hamas to engage in incitement to violence or hate speech.

  • The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), funded by European governments, accused Israel of "a systematic crime to silence the press and prevent journalists from reporting on the crimes that are being committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip." This claim is wildly incongruous with the reality of hundreds of media stories, blog posts, tweets, and other reports emanating from Gaza.

  • HRW's Executive Director, Ken Roth, characterized these news outlets simply as "pro-Palestinian." The failure to provide the full context is highly deceptive and immoral.

  • None of the NGOs involved in this campaign possesses the expertise to determine whether a military action was "indiscriminate." To make such claims, they would need access to IDF military intelligence; specific information known to the IDF commanders prior to the strikes, as well as their intentions; knowledge of how the targets fit into the overall war effort; location of Hamas installations, combatants, and weapons; among many other factors.

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