The Media Aids Hamas

Hamas is losing on the battlefield. And its allies in the Western press are doing everything that they can to save the terrorist group. Their efforts are already bearing fruit.

On March 7, 2024, President Joe Biden announced the construction of a “temporary pier [that] would enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day.” The President added: “Israel must do its part. Israel must allow more aid into Gaza and ensure that humanitarian workers aren’t caught in the crossfire.”

Details of the plan remain vague. On March 9, 2024, the U.S. Army Vessel General Frank S. Besson, a logistics support vessel, departed Joint Base Langley-Eustis for the Eastern Mediterranean “carrying the first equipment to establish a temporary pier to deliver vital humanitarian supplies,” the U.S. Central Command noted. More than 1,000 U.S. military personnel will take part in the mission.

Yet the day before, at a press conference, when a reporter asked Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder if they thought Hamas would fire at U.S. troops, Ryder said: “that’s certainly a risk…but if Hamas does truly care about the Palestinian people, then again, one would hope that this international mission to deliver aid to people who need it would be able to happen unhindered.”

But Hamas doesn’t care about the Palestinian people. Indeed, its entire strategy is to sacrifice them in the name of murdering Jews. This includes using civilian population centers, such as hospitals, schools, and playgrounds, to plot and launch attacks. But it’s also evident in the terrorist group’s strategy of hoarding aid from Gazans—a fact that has been amply documented, but often ignored by major media outlets.

Indeed, if some Western policymakers are blaming Israel for Gazans not getting aid, they’re but regurgitating a narrative pushed by many in the press.

Unsurprisingly, the Washington Post is foremost among them. CAMERA has documented the newspaper’s anti-Israel bias, which includes promoting blood-libels and parroting casualty statistics supplied by Hamas. The Post’s coverage of Gaza aid has been similarly lackluster.

At seemingly every turn, the Post has downplayed or ignored Israel’s efforts to get aid to the Gaza people while simultaneously ignoring the root of the problem: Hamas. The problem with aid flowing to Gazans isn’t the Israelis. It’s not a supply problem. Rather, it’s a distribution problem. Hamas steals aid.

Yet the Post has pretended otherwise. Take, for example, a March 1, 2024 dispatch by David Ignatius (“Food convoy carnage distills what’s gone terribly wrong in Gaza”). The Post columnist asserts that “Israel’s war aim is to destroy Hamas, but sadly, it is also destroying any vestige of orderly life in Gaza.”

This, of course, is nonsense. Would Ignatius claim that the Islamic State presided over an “orderly” rule? That those living under its authoritarian fist had an “orderly” life? Would he blame the Allies for the conditions that Germans dealt with in the closing days of World War II? Somehow Hamas is judged by a different standard.

Indeed, Ignatius writes that “Palestinian civilians have been bombed out of their homes, driven into refugee camps, deprived of food and sanitation, and now this: clawing at [aid] trucks in their struggle to survive—while Hamas hides underground, and Israel protects its own troops but not the civilian population.”

This is risible. As John Spencer, the chair of urban war studies at West Point and a combat veteran, pointed out “Israel has taken more measures to avoid needless civilian harm than virtually any other nation that’s fought an urban war.” In his Jan. 31, 2024 Newsweek Op-Ed, Spencer catalogues the extensive efforts employed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to limit civilian deaths, including the use of certain munitions, advance warning to evacuate urban areas, and other methods. Israel, he notes, “has taken precautionary measures even the United States did not do during its recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

All this information is open-source and was readily available to Ignatius. He just chose to ignore it, preferring to put the onus on an American ally instead of a genocidal U.S.-designated terrorist group whose strategy is to encourage civilian casualties.

Ignatius insists on blaming the Jewish state for issues with aid distribution in Gaza, even claiming that aid distribution was going “smoothly” until Israel started targeted Gazan police who were supposedly preventing rioting and looting from “armed gangs.” The police, he asserts, were but “affiliated” with Hamas.

This too is inaccurate. The police are run by Hamas. They report to Hamas. Just as it was under the Islamic State. Or, for that matter, the police in Nazi Germany. This is a fact detailed in numerous studies on Hamas. It is also odd to draw sharp distinctions between terrorist groups and armed gangs. Ignatius’s claim that aid distribution was going “smoothly” is also suspect. Israeli forces have—for months—found copious aid, including fuel, food, and medical supplies, being hoarded in tunnels and headquarters used by Hamas.

A March 3, 2024 dispatch by Cairo bureau chief Claire Parker repeated many of Ignatius’s mistakes, but characteristically added more of her own. Parker previously claimed that Hamas perpetrated the October 7th massacre—the largest slaughter of Jewish civilians since the Holocaust—because Israel was “stroking tensions” with a counterterrorist raid on al-Asqa mosque.

As CAMERA documented, this was literally a regurgitation of Hamas propaganda, and it also overlooked obvious facts, including that such an attack required months, perhaps even years, of planning. Indeed, it was later revealed that the attack had been planned for years and that it was approved by Hamas’s benefactor, Iran. This itself was obvious to those who closely study the region and follow its developments—but such people seem to be in short supply at the Post.

Like Ignatius and other Post colleagues, including Ishaan Tharoor, Shadi Hami, and Karen Attiah, Parker puts the onus for aid not getting to Gazans on Israel as opposed to the terrorist group that is stealing and hoarding it. Notably, Tharoor, Hamid, Attiah and Ignatius are opinion columnists, whereas Parker is supposed to be engaged in strait-laced reporting as opposed to editorializing. But at today’s Washington Post such lines are so thoroughly blurred as to be meaningless.

In contrast to the Post, a March 6, 2024 Newsweek op-ed by Spencer, entitled “I Have Delivered Aid in War Zones. They Were the Missions We Feared Most,” provides essential facts and context. Spencer points out that Hamas, like other terrorists, targets aid convoys, seeking to disrupt distribution in active war zones. “We know Hamas dressed in civilian clothes have been walking up to armored vehicles to place magnet bombs and fire into the crowd during aid distribution,” he writes. Such details are not reported in the Post.

Nor were they noted in a Feb. 18, 2023 Post guest column by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Peter Welch (D-VT) entitled “The U.S. Should Go It Alone on Humanitarian Relief in Gaza.” Regrettably, the Senators also put the onus for aid not getting into Gaza on Israel, as opposed to their Hamas oppressors. Notably, several of these Senators have also recently stated their support for restoring funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an agency that has been caught collaborating with—even employing—Hamas operatives. In fact, UNRWA supplies—funded by American taxpayers—have routinely been found in Hamas headquarters.

Another Washington Post report, “Israel faces crisis of its own making as chaos and hunger engulf Gaza,” also blamed the Jewish state. Indeed, its very headline was taken from an anonymous White House source who asserted that Gaza “was the chaos of Israel’s own making.” Using an anonymous source to craft a headline is questionable journalism. But this is par for the course for one of the Post reporters involved. As CAMERA has highlighted, Yasmeen Abutaleb has previously engaged in soft denial of the mass rapes perpetrated by Hamas on October 7.

Other news outlets have also provided inaccurate and incomplete coverage of the aid situation in Gaza. Politico and USA Today, among others, have blamed the Jewish state while minimizing both Hamas’s role and the difficultly in supplying aid to an active war zone. Notably, all of these outlets have ignored recent events, including Gazan terrorists hijacking six aid trucks and Israel reportedly taking out a top Hamas commander, Mohammad Abu Hasna, who was responsible for seizing humanitarian aid and distributing it to Hamas fighters.

Israel seems to be the only country in history that is expected to effectively aid, feed, and empower the very enemy that it is fighting against. This double standard is revealed in press coverage that is short on details and context and replete with omissions. And it has very real policy implications.

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