Providing a Platform for Propaganda

On August 31, 2004, double suicide bombings carried out by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas killed 16 and wounded over 100 in the Israeli city of Be’er Sheva. Hamas distributed leaflets calling the attacks a message to Israeli leaders that Hamas’ resistance is not broken by Israel’s military efforts against the group. Reuters news agency echoed and expanded upon Hamas’ words in reports on the attacks. According to Reuters reporters:

With two human bombs from the West Bank, the Palestinian militant group Hamas has shown that Israel’s campaign to kill off its leadership has not broken its will or wherewithal to shed Israeli blood. (Nidal al Mughrabi, "Hamas militants rebound despite Israeli blows," September 1, 2004)

The bombings by the militant Islamic group Hamas in the southern city of Beersheba…showed that Hamas was not a spent force, even after repeated Israeli assassinations of its leaders and the building of a West Bank barrier. (Steven Scheer, "Twin suicide bombings on Israeli buses kill 16," August 31, 2004)

The attacks – the first in Israel since March and the deadliest since last October – showed that Hamas was not a spent force even after repeated Israeli assassinations of their leaders and the building of a West Bank barrier.(Megan Goldin, "Israel hunts for militants after twin bus bombings," August 31, 2004)

The clear implication is that the terrorist attack by Hamas has proven that Israel’s anti-terrorism measures are not succeeding. The situation on the ground, however, indicates quite the contrary. Why then would the news agency blindly accept and disseminate Hamas’ bravado as fact?

It is hard to imagine that reporters in the region are unaware that:

1) The relative calm over the past months has been a result — not of Hamas’ waning motivation to attack Israelis but of the intensive operations by the IDF, Shin Bet, and other security forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to arrest and intercept potential attackers, as well as the presence of the security fence. With daily intelligence reports about intended terrorist attacks against Israelis, the country’s security forces are fully aware that Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups have not ceased their attempts to shed Israeli blood, and have never pretended otherwise. Details of planned suicide attacks and the military operations that thwart them are reported almost daily in the Israeli press.

2) Where the fence has been built, it has succeeded in bringing about a 90% reduction in terrorist attacks. The terrorists were able to perpetrate the attack in Be’er Sheva because no fence has yet been built there.

For Reuters reporters to echo Hamas’ own words, implying that Israel’s military measures are unnecessary and ineffective in the face of all evidence to the contrary suggests that the news organization’s agenda may involve more than just reporting the news.

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