In a grossly tendentious United Press International article about this weekend’s fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Pedro Oliveira Jr. whitewashed the terror organization as “pro-liberation forces.”
In his Aug. 6 report, “Israel bombs residential buildings in Gaza in second day of airstrikes,” Oliveira employs highly partisan, pro-terror language to describe Islamic Jihad, a designated terror organization, stating: “In a pre-emptive attack, Israel demolished a residential building in Gaza with a deadly air raid on Friday, saying it had intelligence of a possible attack by pro-liberation forces.” (Emphasis added.)
Pro-liberation forces?! Oliveira does not report that Islamic Jihad is sworn to Israel’s destruction. Nor does he report United Stations, European Union, Canada, Japan and others have designated Islamic Jihad a terror organization. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Treasury listed Ziyad al-Nakhalah. now Islamic Jihad’s leader, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.
While UPI considers the terror organization as “pro-liberation forces,” observers in the region see something different, calling Islamic Jihad a tool of Iran (“Criticism of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Saudi Arabia, UAE: It Is Damaging The Palestinian People In Service of Iran’s Nuclear Ambition,” by MEMRI). As reported and translated by MEMRI, Saudi journalist ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, former editor of the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and director-general of Al-Arabiya TV, tweeted:
Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy organization, just like Hizbullah, [the Iraqi-Shi’ite] Asaib [Ahl] Al-Haq, and the Houthis [in Yemen]. Palestine is not their concern.
Tehran wanted to set the Vienna negotiations over the Iranian nuclear project in motion, so Hizbullah attacked the [Karish natural gas field] with its UAVs, and [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad fired its missiles.
Saudi intellectual Turki Al-Hamad likewise tweeted:
From the Arabs’ and the world’s perspective, it is already clear that these leaders are manipulating the [Palestinian] cause out of self-interest and diplomatic, economic, or even personal motivates, and that the Palestinian issue is completely unconnected to this. The Palestinian cause has become a bargaining chip in the hands of these and other organizations and states headed by the [Iranian] ayatollah regime. (Translation by MEMRI.)
The London-based UAE daily Al-Arab also slammed Islamic Jihad as a tool of Iran, carrying out the regime’s agenda at the expense of the Palestinian people: “Gaza again became an arena for the settling of accounts between Iran and Israel, when the Palestinian citizens are the ones paying the price.” Arguing that Iran opts not to directly respond to Israel for its bombings in Syria and its attacks on Iranian scientists and nuclear facilities, the Emirati paper said the regime instead works through its Islamic Jihad proxy: “Gaza is the sole outlet for an Iranian response” (Aug. 7, cited and translated by MEMRI).
Bombed ‘Residential Buildings’ (That Belong to Islamic Jihad)
In addition to whitewashing Islamic Jihad, UPI also conceals the terror group’s infrastructure. The article’s headline (“Israel bombs residential buildings”) and first paragraphs obscure that Israel is in fact targeting a terror organization, while falsely suggesting that civilian infrastructure are the targets. The article begins:
Israeli jets again pounded the Gaza Strip on Saturday, flattening multiple residential buildings and killing more Palestinians in its second day of airstrikes.
Preliminary reports estimate as many as 15 people have been killed, including a 5-year-old girl, and another 125 Palestinians injured. Israel has reported no deaths and two injured soldiers, as well as three civilians “lightly injured” by debris.
The third paragraph mentions “pro-liberation forces” and buried in the fifth paragraph is a quote from the Israeli military about targeting weapons storage facilities located “in the residences of terrorist operatives in the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip,” New York Times reported.
Why does UPI wait until the fifth paragraph to mention the IJ targets of the Israeli strikes, while repeatedly noting that Israel hit residential buildings in the headline and first paragraphs? Israel hit those buildings because Islamic Jihad located itself within them.
UPI’s article links to The New York Times. While an earlier version of the Times story that weapons caches were located within the residences of terror operatives, the updated article now says in the second paragraph:
The Israeli military said it had hit two buildings in Gaza belonging to operatives of the militant group Islamic Jihad that it described as weapons stores. Military officials said that warnings were given and the buildings had been evacuated before the strikes.
Buildings owned by terror organizations used to store weapons hardly meet most people’s understanding of “residential buildings,” per UPI’s headline. But, then again, “pro-liberation forces” doesn’t say designated terror organization for most people.