Damn the Evidence: AP’s Hushed Tones On Hamas

When it comes to damning evidence incriminating Hamas, the Associated Press’ position is clear: damn the evidence. 

As we previously reported, in recent weeks the Associated Press has treated Hamas’ claims as more credible than Israeli-supplied information. While the news agency repeatedly insisted that information originating with Israel “could not be independently verified,” it hadn’t once singled out the terror organization for the same cautionary warning, including regarding Hamas’ suspect Gaza fatalities count.

Among the multiple instances in which AP claimed that information originating with Israel could not be independently verified was Hamas’ uses of Shifa hospital for its terror activity. “Israel accuses Hamas of having a secret command post beneath the hospital but has not provided much evidence. Hamas denies the allegations,” AP reported earlier this month. 

Yesterday Israel released video evidence that Hamas dragged at least two hostages – two foreign workers, one wounded, one not – to Shifa hospital. A separate video released by the Israeli miltary revealed a vast tunnel underneath Shifa hospital. Israel has delivered the evidence and AP still insists: “The Associated Press couldn’t independently verify Israel’s findings.”

Unlike AP, Reuters dedicated an entire article to the army’s release of CCTV footage showing Hamas tunnels under Shifa and Hamas terrorists dragging hostages into Shifa hospital that horrendous morning of Oct. 7 (“Israel says soldier executed, foreign hostages held at Gaza’s Shifa hospital”) Reuters detailed:

In his televised briefing, [IDF spokesman Daniel] Hagari said Hamas gunmen had also brought a Nepalese and a Thai, among foreign workers seized in the Oct. 7 raid, to Shifa. He did not name the two hostages.

CCTV video aired by Hagari appeared to show a group of men frog-marching an individual into a hospital, to the surprise of medical staff. A second clip showed an injured man on a gurney. Another man nearby, in civilian clothes, had an assault rifle.

Hamas did not immediately comment on Hagari’s statements. The Palestinian Islamist group, which runs Gaza, has previously said it took some hostages to hospitals for treatment.

Separately on Sunday, the Israeli military published video of what it described as a tunnel, running 55 metres in length and dug by Palestinians 10 metres under the Shifa compound.

While acknowledging that it has a network of hundreds of kilometres of secret tunnels, bunkers and access shafts throughout the Palestinian enclave, Hamas has denied that these are located in civilian infrastructure like hospitals.

The video showed a narrow passage with arched concrete roofing, ending at what the military, in a statement, described as a blast-proof door.

The statement did not say what might be beyond the door. The tunnel had been accessed through a shaft discovered in a shed within the Shifa compound that contained munitions, it said. A second video showed an outdoor shaft-opening in the compound.

Mounir El Barsh, the Gaza health ministry director, dismissed the Israeli statement on the tunnel as a “pure lie”.

AP published a video of the footage showing hostages being dragged into Shifa with the warning that the news agency “could not independently verify Israel’s findings.”

AP, on the other hand, buried its coverage of the incriminating videos of the two foreign hostages and tunnels under Shifa several paragraphs into its developing story about the hardships facing the remaining patients and staff at Shifa hospital (“Heavy fighting breaks out around another Gaza hospital after babies evacuated from Shifa”):

Israel’s army said it had strong evidence supporting its claims that Hamas maintained a sprawling command post inside and under the hospital’s 20-acre complex, which includes several buildings, garages and a plaza.

The military released a video showing what it said was a tunnel discovered at the hospital, 55-meter (60-yard) long and about 10 meters (33 feet) below ground. It said the tunnel included a staircase and a firing hole that could be used by gunmen, and ended at a blast-proof door that troops have not yet opened.

The Associated Press couldn’t independently verify Israel’s findings, which included security camera video showing what the military said were two foreign hostages, one Thai and one Nepalese, who were captured by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack and taken to the hospital. [Emphasis added.]

AP’s response was the same last week when the Israeli military released footage of weapons and a tunnel opening at Shifa hospital. At the time, AP reported:

On Thursday, the military released video of a hole in the hospital courtyard it said was a tunnel entrance. It also showed several assault rifles and RPGs, grenades, ammunition clips and utility vests laid out on a blanket that it said were found in a pickup truck in the courtyard. The Associated Press could not independently verify the Israeli claims. [Emphasis added.]

While AP’s story today maintains that the news agency can’t verify the hostage and tunnel footage released yesterday by the Israeli military, the very same article fails to hold Hamas to the same standard of verification. Neglecting to notify readers that the Gaza casualty figures can’t be independently verified, AP reported:

More than 11,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 2,700 have been reported missing, believed buried in rubble. The count does not differentiate between civilians and combatants; Israel says it has killed thousands of militants.

Moreover, AP journalists conceal that Hamas is the source of the data, disguising the source as “Palestinian health authorities,” as if they are credible and independent.

But a recent France 24 interview with a British doctor who spent several months three years ago working at Shifa hospital makes clear to what extent Gaza health officials live under the boot of Hamas terrorists. Speaking about certain areas of the hospital which were strictly forbidden to him, on penalty of being shot, the doctor explained:

Well, I was welcome everywhere else, and as I say, the doctors and nurses there were very welcoming and very kind, and the hushed tones under which this was said were consistent with all the other hushed tones with which Hamas was discussed. You know, people were genuinely fearful.

He added: “I cannot emphasize too much the air of collective paranoia that existed there.”

Whether out of fear or admiration, AP likewise continues to discuss Hamas in hushed tones, failing to label the terror group’s claims as unverifiable even as it delegitimizes “unverifiable” video evidence indicating that Hamas is lying. 

See also “CNN Grasps At Straws to Imply a CNN Conspiracy

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