Thursday 17 December 2015

Politics, Hamas and Islamic State

Idly watching the parliament channel yesterday I realised the topic was the Israeli / Palestinian situation.
My ears pricked up.  I paid attention to what I was watching. It was the HoC. International Development Questions.

This exchange occurred:

 John Howell: I draw the House’s attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.The Prime Minister has been clear that Palestinian incitement will not be tolerated. As many as 25 Palestinian Authority schools are named after Palestinian terrorists, including Dalal Mughrabi, who killed 37 Israeli citizens. Will the Secretary of State assure me that no British aid goes towards such schools or to support the glorification of terrorism? 
Justine Greening: The Prime Minister and I have been very clear that the UK deplores incitement on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We monitor any allegations of incitement closely and raise instances with both the Palestinian and the Israeli authorities. Regarding the UK’s direct financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, which provides civil service salaries, it goes only to approved individuals through a World Bank trust fund that has an independent audit.

(emphasis added) Justine Greening looked irritable. What, I wondered, is the  incitement on the Israeli side of the conflict? I suppose the government might argue that it’s Israel’s foreign policy. (settlements; the blockade; checkpoints.) But in the long run it all boils down to the fact that the incitement on Israel’s part is its actual existence.  Anything that could be termed incitement from the Israeli side (other than its success, which its enemies find infuriating) pales into insignificance in comparison to the encouragement from the Palestinian leadership - literally and explicitly - to commit violent and murderous acts against Israelis 

Two isolated incidents, the murder of the Dawabshesh family and the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir are the only examples of what could remotely count as comparable in terms of violence against innocent civilians, but they were not incited and were roundly condemned by everyone, everywhere. No schools were named after the perpetrators. No streets were dedicated to them. No-one called them heroic. 

It makes you wonder. Is the government actually aware of the situation? To what extent? Is there anyone in government who understands what is happening?

 A full version (pdf) of this report into the recent Israel/Gaza hostilities “Operation Protective Edge” was published recently. It really needs to be read in full. 
It comes after the earlier UN investigation, which came to the conclusion that war crimes were committed by both sides. 
Some Pro Palestinian advocates have already dismissed the report by the High Level Military Group as biased because some of the individuals in the group are known to be, or have been, pro Israel. 
This cuts both ways, as the dismissers themselves apparently fail to acknowledge.

Dismissers! acknowledge thyselves! 

Also, it’s worth mentioning that those who cavalierly shrug off the report's findings rely on the disproportionate death toll to ‘prove’ their point, even though this concept has been forensically debunked (as detailed in the report) in accordance with the Law Of Armed Conflict. This raises doubts as to whether the critics have in fact read the report before trying to discredit it. 

FYI, This is how the HLMG describe Hamas:

“Following Israel’s disengagement in 2005, Hamas, a terrorist organisation proscribed by the United States and the European Union among others, gained full control of Gaza in a violent coup in 2007. Hamas’s charter explicitly obligates the organisation to destroy Israel through Jihad in order to establish Islamic rule. Its military leadership and most of the organisation’s manpower are in Gaza while its political leadership is split between Gaza and Doha, Qatar. External actors play an important role in supporting Hamas, with Iran in particular being responsible for upgrading Hamas capabilities through the supply of weapons and training. 

  1. Founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas - an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (“Islamic Resistance Movement”) - was established as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1987. Combining Palestinian nationalism with Islamic fundamentalism, antisemitism and conspiracy theories - the Jews control the media and were behind the French Revolution and both world wars, according to the document - the Hamas charter, known as The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, places an explicit obligation on the organisation to destroy Israel and states that Hamas “...strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine… [and] believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf… [and that] it, or any part of it, should not be given up… as long as earth and heaven remain… There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”1 The atrocities the organisation has committed against Israel in the pursuit of this mission, in particular its campaign of suicide bombings prior to the construction of Israel’s security barrier, have made Hamas one of the most prominent terrorist organisations on the planet, proscribed among others by the US, EU, Canada and Australia. 

All emphasis added. 
I wonder if Justine Greening (or the BBC) is aware of this definition of Hamas? 
This is from the section about ... well. It speaks for itself ... the media’s role.  

Media Manipulation and Intimidation 

  1. Hamas coupled this strategy on the ground to a wide-ranging information effort aimed at eroding Israel’s legitimacy. It deployed a sophisticated social media strategy, segmented by audience, and issued directives in pursuit of its goals, such as instructing its supporters to always make reference to civilian casualties, or compare Israel’s operation in Gaza to the Holocaust.44

  1. Moreover, Hamas as a matter of policy constrained press freedom in Gaza and even threatened reporters into acquiescing to their demands about coverage. A Hamas official acknowledged that the group strong-armed journalists in Gaza into a reporting style that bolstered its narrative, keeping many under surveillance, forcing them to “change their message” and expelling from the territory those who sought to film the launching of rockets at Israel, whom it accused of “collaborating with the occupation.”45 Most outlets failed to mention these constraints when covering Gaza, in many cases contrary to their own published guidelines. 46 The Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned “the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza.”47 Reporters told of being interrogated and intimidated by Hamas officials, who also prevented photographs being taken of any wounded or dead terrorists at the alShifa hospital, even though their presence there was common knowledge.48 Rather, only images of wounded or dead civilians were permitted.

  1. Hamas’s media manipulation was not just by censorship, however, but included the proactive fabrication of its narrative in pursuit of its key strategic goal of utilising the media for its assault on Israel. The Washington Post newspaper documented several cases of scenes being “prepared” in advance of Hamas led visits for photojournalists, as well as the coaching of a young child for television news.49 This management of the all important imagery of the conflict appears to have been successful with Hamas fighters being virtually invisible. Several New York Times slide shows on the Gaza conflict, for example, while showing Gaza civilians in distress and IDF tanks and personnel, failed to show a single armed Hamas operative or rocket launching squad.50 Moreover, Hamas effectively used members of the media as human shields in similar fashion to its own civilian population, deliberately endangering their lives. Reporters witnessed a Hamas unit firing an RPG adjacent to a crowded hotel occupied by foreign journalists and some NGOs. In Hamas’s strategic win-win calculation, either the presence of high-profile civilians would protect its operatives or a retaliatory strike would be a major propaganda victory.51 A similar report by India-based NDTV on Hamas assembling and firing a rocket next to a hotel used by journalists was filed hours after the reporter left Gaza, because according to the reporter, “Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired”.52 

  1. Hamas’s effective manipulation of the messages emanating from Gaza during the conflict is not just a matter of upholding the standards of accurate and balanced reporting, but rather, coupled to its strategic concept, forms a core part of a deliberate strategy to shape the narrative around the conflict in its favour. The impact of this strategy in the form of the resultant media imagery amplified by misinformed commentary about LOAC is a key reason why Hamas is able to act with the unlawful modus operandi of a terrorist organisation, but enjoy a strategic communications advantage over Israel, which seeks to act within LOAC. 
  1. This dynamic is substantially aided by a broader asymmetric advantage Hamas enjoys in the media space, which often fails to reflect Hamas’s modus operandi not just in reporting, but also in ascribing equal weight to Hamas pronouncements to those of Israel on events during conflict, despite one being a terrorist movement and the other a democratic state. This has a serious effect on the strategic environment for Israel and has allowed some of the greatest gains for Hamas’s misinformation strategy against Israel. 

...though Jeremy Bowen and Lyse Doucet dispute it. They deny any knowledge of intimidation or restrictions on their reporting imposed upon them by Hamas. If this is genuine it must be because there was no need for any strong-arm tactics as the BBC’s army of reporters were already on message.

The next segment of the HoC spectacle concerned BDS.  I thought David Cameron opposed BDS, in agreement with Boris. Not so. Here’s the bit I found particularly startling.
Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield) (Lab): Surely the Secretary of State will be aware of the guidance on the Foreign Office website, which warns UK companies thinking of investing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the “legal and economic risks” if they engage in“financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements and other economic activities in Israeli settlements or benefitting Israeli settlements”because of the illegal nature of those settlements and their being an obstacle to peace. Does the right hon. Lady therefore agree that it is perfectly reasonable for both public and private institutions to pay due regard to that advice when they make their own investment and procurement decisions?
Justine Greening: They should do that; that is good Foreign Office advice. We have been very clear that we deplore illegal settlements, because they take us further away from a two-state solution and peace in that part of the world, when we need to be taking what could be final steps and final chances to reach a two-state solution.

Richard Burden is a well known Israel-hater and BDS activist. Justine Greening’s eyes glimmered with loathing as she gave her answer in favour of BDS and I had the impression that David Cameron was sitting right beside her.   Good Foreign office advice? BDS? Who knew?

Later, in a section headed Gaza: Youth unemployment, came this: 
Simon Danczuk: Gaza still faces restrictions on access to 35% of its agricultural land and 85% of its fishable waters, and Gazans are rarely allowed to travel outside their territory. Until such restrictions are removed, DFID will continue to work with one hand tied behind its back. Does the Minister not agree that the real problem is the blockade of Gaza?

and this:
Mr David Winnick (Walsall North) (Lab): Can we make it absolutely clear that supporting the Palestinian people has nothing whatever to do with anti-Semitism? I wanted to clarify that at the outset.Does the Minister not agree that the appalling situation in Gaza—and he has given us the figures—shows the need for the developed democracies to do far more? What hope can there be for the Palestinian people when they are faced with so little hope of obtaining jobs and having a decent life? Should we not be far more concerned with the Palestinian tragedy than we are?
Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con): Does my hon. Friend not agree that the ill-considered, short-sighted campaign for boycotts and disinvestment is actually leading to more unemployment among the Palestinian people?

and later, another relevant section in the HoC International development session concerned: “Gaza: Water and Sanitation.” 
After documenting a litany of Gaza’s woes, implicitly all because of Israel’s blockade:
 Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) (Lab):What can be done about that, or is it just a case of lifting the Israeli blockade and getting on with life?”
After which

Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): The hon. Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham) speaks about the blockade, but surely if they did not embrace Hamas and continually fire rockets into Israel, there would not need to be a blockade in the first place.

Hoorah for the blonde in the back row. (Not that the water shortage in Gaza is due to the blockade. It’s due to disputes between the PA and Hamas and the shambolic and corrupt administration in Gaza) but then, what does one expect when the present state of ignorance about the situation prevails?

What do we expect while our major news organ fails in its duty to inform, educate or entertain.

I often wonder if any BBC journalists ever look at the website Palestinian Media Watch.  
 It seems unlikely. They might not even have heard of it, but even if they have I doubt if they’d want to know. They’d consider it a hate site, which I suppose it is, in that it’s a site that’s all about hate. It probably contains too many implicit value-judgments for the delicate sensibilities of BBC policy makers.

If they did deign to look at it, they'd be able to educate themselves about the glorification of terrorists, one theme that constantly pours from the Palestinian media. PMW provides English translations of the incitement to violence and the pure racist Jew-hatred that emanates from Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies. Antisemitic obscenities are scatter-bombed over Palestinian audiences, day in and day out. 

If any BBC employees ever do see this side of Palestinian society, the viewer never gets any indication of it. 
The website MEMRI features subtitled videos (in English) showing Islamic Scholars, clerics, sheikhs and imams spouting outrageous, venomous nonsense about Jews deliberately designed to inflame the audience, but if any BBC employee accidentally stumbled upon one of these, no doubt they’d reflexively dismiss it as propaganda and ‘smears’. 

Why does the BBC refuse to acknowledge the existence of such racist hatred? This deficiency feeds the ignorance of our MPs.  

Closer to home, does the BBC have any interest in the allegiances of personnel they invite to opine on, say, radicalisation, terrorism and matters appertaining to the Middle East? 
Do commissioning editors read articles documenting such allegiances? Do any BBC investigative journalists ever investigate it?

Do the BBC’s political editors know of websites like Elder of Ziyon, BBC Watch, UK Media Watch?  They must be aware of the Gatestone Institute. Calling it all ‘far-right propaganda‘ is no substitute for at least taking it in. 

The website Harry’s Place isn’t far right. It’s kind of centre leftish. It frequently exposes darlings of the left or hard left for what they really are. Hard-line Islamists with pro-Jihadi tendencies and terrorist sympathisers.
Someone recently commented:  
What I want to know is why is this left to Harry's Place to collate and expose? Where are our newspapers? Where are they? Why are they not exposing this? Why are they asleep at the wheel?”

Wouldn’t you like to know that too?  Instead of doing its job - ‘educate inform and entertain’ - the BBC seems to be part of a tacit collusion between ill-informed politicians, ageing adolescents and left wing journalists who are desperately trying to convince themselves that Muslim communities, Islamic leaders and Muslim individuals of all degrees of intensity and religiosity are thoroughly virtuous and completely unrelated and unconnected to Islamic State, which is nothing to do with Islam.  

Unlike a certain person whose head was repeatedly banged against a wall by torturers, some of us bang our own heads against brick walls without the outside help. I’ve been banging mine against one for aeons, millennia, asking the same questions, in vain. 

Why does the BBC report the Israel / Palestine conflict with a moral equivalence so scrupulous that equal credence is given to Hamas (terrorists) and Israel. (democratic state)  The BBC’s mindless pursuit of value-judgment-free reporting amounts to the failure to distinguish between guilt and innocence, good and bad and Islamic extremism and normality. 

For those who think Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, and that terrorism is nothing to do with the real Islam, which is “the religion of peace”, and for those who call Hamas and Hezbollah their friends, and refer to them as militants because the word “terrorist” would constitute a value judgment of the wrong kind, then look up the Times and the Times of Israel, who recently reported
"Hamas fighters are defecting to Isis."

“Though Hamas is an Islamist group, Isis propaganda accuses it of corruption and a lack of religious fervour, while castigating it for agreeing cease-fires with Israel.”
“Though Hamas with 35,000 fighters under arms appear unassailable in Gaza it finds it difficult to counter the message of Isis. In January Isis flags were seen flying in Gaza at a demonstration against Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.”

Even though the penny is beginning to drop about Islamic State, the connection between that vile organisation and Hamas has yet to be acknowledged by the MSM or the government.


  1. All that seems to be happening is that our elites in Europe are drifting further and further away from the people.

    Tonight on This Week, the four guests all wished to nominate Angela Merkel as their admired international politician of the year (but one took Obama, as they were going second and the first had already nominated Merkel!).

    Really? Merkel?

    Who in Europe actually supports her open door policy? Only Sharia promoters, capitalists looking for cheap labour to exploit, socialists looking for votes to prop up their ailing voter base and multi-culturalists wishing to bring an end to European culture. Most of these mass-migrationists form the political elite.

  2. Thanks for this report Sue. It is important work you are doing. The massive funding for anti Israel propaganda from influential sources needs to be exposed. There may yet be one or two MP's who may be interested in this angle.

  3. I suspect that from most Palestinians' view, the only difference between Hamas and ISIS is which is the stronger horse. The BBC probably hates seeing Hamas, who have sacrificed so much(their sons and daughters and wives) for all these years, having their credit for the heroic final justice taken away from them.


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