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Media Analyses






CAMERA Op-Ed Addresses Hamas' LA Times Falsehoods


The following CAMERA Op-Ed was published in the Jewish Journal of greater Los Angeles.

 

2007-07-20

L.A. Times gives indicted Hamas leader a soapbox for lies

By Tamar Sternthal

Op-Ed contributors to the Los Angeles Times are an eclectic bunch, including novelists, historians, policymakers, humorists, activists, and most recently, genocidal terrorists. On July 10, 2007, Mousa Abu Marzook, "the deputy of the political bureau of Hamas," authored an Op-Ed full of outrageous falsehoods and inaccuracies that conceal the terrorizing of Gaza's Palestinian population and the murder of innocent Israeli civilians.

Abu Marzook, who in 2004 was indicted in the United States on racketeering and money-laundering charges (a fact the Times withheld from readers), repeatedly argues that Hamas will bring law to the Gaza Strip, claiming, for example, that "Gaza will be calm and under the rule of law."

Which law? Certainly not generally accepted standards of international law, which Abu Marzook mocks: "Our struggle has always been focused on the occupier and our legal resistance to it — a right of occupied people that is explicitly supported by the Fourth Geneva Convention."

Obviously, the Convention makes no allowance — implicitly or explicitly — for deliberate attacks on innocent civilians, including children.

Even Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has in the past underreported Palestinian atrocities, last month condemned Hamas for gross violations of international law.

"The murder of civilians not engaged in hostilities and the willful killing of captives are war crimes, pure and simple," said HRW Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson, detailing Hamas' firing in and around hospitals and executions, including throwing a man off a 15-story building.

Such war crimes are Hamas' ticket to calm. As Ha'aretz reported June 22, 2007: "Hamas imposed a methodical system of terror and scare tactics intended to deter, shock and frighten Fatah operatives and Gaza residents in general." The report described how "the Hamas military wing removed all of the family members [of the powerful Bakr clan] from their compound and lined them up against a wall. Militants selected a 14-year-old girl, two women aged 19 and 75, and two elderly men, and shot them to death in cold blood to send a message to all the armed clans of Gaza."

Given Hamas' barbaric executions of innocent Palestinians, it's difficult to take Abu Marzook's crocodile tears for Palestinian victims seriously. Misrepresenting the facts about Palestinian casualties, he writes: "As I write these words, Israeli forays into Gaza have killed another 15 people, including a child."

Abu Marzook wrote the piece between July 4 (when BBC's Alan Johnston was released, an event to which he refers) and July 9, the day before he was published. During that period, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported 11 fatalities from Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.

The youngest was 18, not a child. According to Agence France Presse, "sources on both sides" said that the all 11 were killed while participating in "heavy fighting."

In another blatant falsehood, the Hamas official states: "Hamas has never supported attacks on Westerners." In actuality, Hamas operative Jamal Abu Samhadana is believed to be responsible for a 2003 attack on a U.S. convoy in the Gaza Strip that killed three American security guards, a fact reported in several 2006 Times news stories. In addition, the leadership of Hamas has called for attacks against Americans. For example, Ahmad Bahr, acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a member of Hamas, declared on April 13, 2007: "Oh Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one" (translated by MEMRI: The Middle East Media Research Institute).

In covering-up Hamas' genocidal platform, Abu Marzook charges that it is Israel that advocates ethnic cleansing. He claims that "a number" of political parties in the Knesset advocate the expulsion of Arabs. In reality, of the 12 parties represented in the Knesset, none call for the expulsion of Arabs and only one — National Union Yisrael Beitenu — calls for voluntary transfer.

Moreover, he advances his Israeli ethnic cleansing falsehood with a bogus Zionist quote: "We must expel the Arabs and take their places."

Scholar Efraim Karsh has documented that David Ben-Gurion, to whom this quote is frequently attributed, wrote the exact opposite: "We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their place."

Ultimately, readers must ask themselves what Hamas truly represents.

Abu Marzook claims: "Nor can any deny the reasonableness of our fight against the occupation and the right of Palestinians to have dignity, justice and self-rule."

But there is nothing "reasonable" about calling for the death of all Jews, as Hamas does in its charter, in its television shows for children and in speeches by political and religious leaders. All contain the Muslim hadith: "The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them, and the rock and the tree will say: "Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, kill him!"

If Hamas can make this genocidal stand perfectly clear to its supporters, why can't the Times be honest with its readers?

Tamar Sternthal is senior research analyst for CAMERA.

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