CNBC Sanitizes Hamas

In an October 10 piece at CNBC,What is Hamas? What you need to know about the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip,” author Sam Meredith presents a wholly inadequate and inaccurate description of the terrorist organization, Hamas. 

According to the article, Hamas “is dedicated to the establishment of an independent Islamic state in historical Palestine and has controlled the Gaza Strip — one of two Palestinian territories, along with the West Bank — since 2007.”

Hamas doesn’t just want the establishment of an Islamic state in “historical Palestine.” Rather, it wants to establish an Islamic state over all of what it considers “historical Palestine” via the violent destruction of the Jewish state, as its overtly antisemitic and genocidal covenant makes clear. Just last year, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal openly declared: “The battle is not over. We want all the land.”

Disturbingly, Meredith then sanitized and even provided justification for Hamas, while once again getting the facts wrong, writing: “The United Nations classifies Israel as an occupier state over the Palestinian territories, whose occupations and annexations following the 1967 Six-Day War remain in violation of international law.”

It’s a completely irrelevant point to Hamas’s motivations. Hamas’s own covenant makes clear it cares not about the so-called “occupation” since 1967, but the existence of all of Israel, including Israel within the 1967 “Green Line.” The juxtaposition of this in a section titled “What is Hamas?” thus gives the entirely misleading impression that it has any relevance to Hamas’s motivations.

Moreover, CNBC gets it wrong that an occupation can be a “violation of international law.” According to Yoram Dinstein, a renowned expert on the law of occupation: “international law – far from stigmatizing belligerent occupation with illegality – recognizes its frequency and regulates its application in great detail.” The International Committee of the Red Cross also explains:

References to ‘unlawful occupation’ can be misguiding, as they confuse the issue of the lawfulness of the resort to the use of force with that of the rules of conduct to be applied once armed force has been used, and therefore also obscure the fundamental distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Regarded from a purely [international humanitarian law] perspective, occupation law applies equally to all occupations, whether or not they are the result of force used lawfully within the jus ad bellum.

Thus, in the span of two sentences, CNBC grossly misrepresents Hamas’s goals and, in what reads as an attempted justification for Hamas, gets both the law and the facts wrong.

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