Thursday, January 28, 2016

When The Media Notices That Hamas Tortures Journalists

“We are not oppressing people and people can speak loudly, can criticise the government, can criticise Hamas. We never put anyone in jail who criticizes Hamas or write something against Hamas. We have different organisations, political parties, even writers, they have full freedom to write what they want.”
Hamas deputy foreign minister, Ghazi Hamed, January 2014

And of course, if Hamas says it -- it must be so. After all, how often do we read or hear in them media about any human rights abuses by the Hamas terrorist group. If the media is inclined to not report on Hamas rocket attacks until after Israel retaliates, what is it supposed to take before the media will report on Hamas humanitarian rights abuses?

That is what makes it so unusual to read in The Times about Three nights of torture: the price for criticising Hamas:

Two Palestinian journalists who were vocal critics of Hamas have told how they were arrested and tortured by the group in an apparently successful attempt to silence them.

“I was blindfolded and forced to sit down on a tiny chair for three nights in a row. It was extremely cold and I was denied sleep,” Ramzi Herzallah, 27, told The Times. He and another Gaza-based journalist, Ayman al-Aloul, were held for more than a week this month.

Mr al-Aloul, who is editor-in-chief of the Arab Now Agency, said that he was beaten, blindfolded and forced to sit all day long during his captivity. He joked that he would now focus on sports, food, literature and fashion reporting. “I’ve decided not to talk about the general situation any more,” he said, adding that Hamas had accused him of harming “the resistance” against Israel.
Ayman al-Aloul was held for more than a week MAHMUD HAMS/ Getty Images

The article goes on to note a correlation between Hamas's crackdown on the media and signs of broader public protest. Both journalists had criticized Hamas on domestic issues such as tax increases and blackouts as well publishing pictures of Gazans looking for food in garbage dumps. Herzallah reported that he "was told to shut up because the Hamas government has enough to worry about.”

The domestic problems of Hamas are the result not only of its own misgovernance,but also as a result of its deliberate terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, without regard for the safety of its own Gazan civilians.

While the media has not held Hamas responsible for precipitating war with Israel, at least we have an instance here of the media holding Hamas responsible for intimidating and torturing journalists.

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