There is only one thing worse than theÂ image of a child killed by military conflict, and that is the image of a childÂ killed by military conflict having deliberately been placed in the line ofÂ fire.
War is, by definition, a very nasty business, and invariably it is theÂ innocents on all sides who bear a significant cost in lives lost, people maimedÂ and communities traumatized.
But solid evidence now reveals how Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza have beenÂ deliberately placing their civilian population in mortal danger, choreographingÂ a number of seemingly gory scenes, as well as releasing images from otherÂ conflicts, such as Iraq and Syria, and passing them off as dead Gazan civiliansÂ killed by Israeli missiles.
In an attempt to persuade the world that Israel is committing war crimes andÂ to distract attention away from the illegal and immoral use of their ownÂ population as human shields, Hamas has resorted to staging a number of fakeÂ deaths and scenes of severely injured people right in front of international TVÂ crews.
The BBC recently broadcast a news report showing a man being carried off byÂ four others, seemingly the victim of an Israeli missile strike, only for him toÂ reappear in the same clip a few seconds later wandering around completelyÂ unharmed. The same organization’s Jon Donnison yesterday re-tweeted a picture ofÂ the dead body of a young girl on a stretcher in Gaza with the headlineÂ “Heartbreaking,” only for it to transpire that the girl had sadly been killedÂ three weeks earlier in Syria.
Such is the sometimes chaotic nature of the situation on the ground in GazaÂ that mistakes can be made, but according to Paul Hirschson, spokesman forÂ Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hamas has crossed a red line even in theÂ Arab world by promoting the use of images of dead people — children inÂ particular — against the tradition of their religion and the expected respectÂ for the dead.
Hirschson told FoxNews.com that, “There’s no question that there areÂ civilians being killed and injured on both sides of this conflict, but respectÂ for the dead within the Muslim world is a core principal and what Hamas is doingÂ is in contradiction to the customs and traditions of the localÂ community.
“As in Judaism, Islam believes in taking the body and burying it at the firstÂ opportunity,” he said. “Even Al Jazeera is sensitive to this and has blanked outÂ faces as it is an invasion of privacy. This is a cynical abuse of respect andÂ privacy and is not something that is reconcilable with the norms of theÂ community. There are certain moral and ethical codes that we all behave by. InÂ Egypt and Jordan this stuff doesn’t get published. Hamas are going to suffer forÂ it amongst their own.”
Does the apparent manipulation of pictures, the “photoshopping” of images toÂ suggest scenarios that later prove to be false, suggest a desperation then onÂ the part of the Islamists to persuade the outside world of their opinion,Â regardless of the truth being told or not told?
“Hamas is using these pictures in order to deliberately incite Arab publicÂ opinion because their leadership is disappointed at the relative lack of publicÂ pressure throughout the Arab world on Arab governments to support Hamas,” Hirschson argued. “That could be for a number of reasons, but it could very wellÂ be because in Syria, in Egypt, or in Bahrain, for example, they have problems ofÂ their own. The other factor is that, yes, we have seen a rise in Islamists inÂ the Arab world, but not everyone there is excited at that prospect. It isÂ significant that there has barely been anything from Gaza’s brothers in theÂ Palestinian Authority. The (West Bank) leadership is nauseated with Hamas.”
Some argue that Hamas’ manipulation of images is effectively underminingÂ their own case and risking losing public sympathy as viewers and readers cannotÂ be sure if the suffering being displayed is genuine. Those instances of realÂ tragedy and trauma become lost in a fog of spin and manipulation.
“War has very ugly consequences,” Hirschson continued. “The one thing I don’tÂ want to do is to suggest it is all staged, that there are no injuries, and thisÂ is all a bluff. People are being killed on both sides, and sadly sometimesÂ uninvolved people are being killed and hurt. I’m not all that concerned aboutÂ those who are involved (in terrorism), but the manipulation of images, theÂ faking of images, and the presenting of images from other conflicts as fact onÂ the ground in Gaza, is a cynical ploy on the part of Hamas.”
On Monday, a number of foreign journalists were injured when a media centerÂ in Gaza was hit by an Israeli missile. Hirschson suggests that Islamic Jihad hadÂ deliberately positioned their command and control center in the building.
“Whether or not those international crews knew that Islamic Jihad were thereÂ is unclear. But by effectively using the media as human shields, nothing lessÂ than a war crime is being committed,” he concluded.
Source: Fox News