There is only one thing worse than the  image of a child killed by military conflict, and that is the image of a child  killed by military conflict having deliberately been placed in the line of  fire.

War is, by definition, a very nasty business, and invariably it is the  innocents on all sides who bear a significant cost in lives lost, people maimed  and communities traumatized.

But solid evidence now reveals how Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza have been  deliberately placing their civilian population in mortal danger, choreographing  a number of seemingly gory scenes, as well as releasing images from other  conflicts, such as Iraq and Syria, and passing them off as dead Gazan civilians  killed by Israeli missiles.

In an attempt to persuade the world that Israel is committing war crimes and  to distract attention away from the illegal and immoral use of their own  population as human shields, Hamas has resorted to staging a number of fake  deaths and scenes of severely injured people right in front of international TV  crews.

The BBC recently broadcast a news report showing a man being carried off by  four others, seemingly the victim of an Israeli missile strike, only for him to  reappear in the same clip a few seconds later wandering around completely  unharmed. The same organization’s Jon Donnison yesterday re-tweeted a picture of  the dead body of a young girl on a stretcher in Gaza with the headline  “Heartbreaking,” only for it to transpire that the girl had sadly been killed  three weeks earlier in Syria.

Such is the sometimes chaotic nature of the situation on the ground in Gaza  that mistakes can be made, but according to Paul Hirschson, spokesman for  Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hamas has crossed a red line even in the  Arab world by promoting the use of images of dead people — children in  particular — against the tradition of their religion and the expected respect  for the dead.

Hirschson told that, “There’s no question that there are  civilians being killed and injured on both sides of this conflict, but respect  for the dead within the Muslim world is a core principal and what Hamas is doing  is in contradiction to the customs and traditions of the local  community.

“As in Judaism, Islam believes in taking the body and burying it at the first  opportunity,” he said. “Even Al Jazeera is sensitive to this and has blanked out  faces as it is an invasion of privacy. This is a cynical abuse of respect and  privacy and is not something that is reconcilable with the norms of the  community. There are certain moral and ethical codes that we all behave by. In  Egypt and Jordan this stuff doesn’t get published. Hamas are going to suffer for  it amongst their own.”

Does the apparent manipulation of pictures, the “photoshopping” of images to  suggest scenarios that later prove to be false, suggest a desperation then on  the part of the Islamists to persuade the outside world of their opinion,  regardless of the truth being told or not told?

“Hamas is using these pictures in order to deliberately incite Arab public  opinion because their leadership is disappointed at the relative lack of public  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 well  be because in Syria, in Egypt, or in Bahrain, for example, they have problems of  their own. The other factor is that, yes, we have seen a rise in Islamists in  the Arab world, but not everyone there is excited at that prospect. It is  significant that there has barely been anything from Gaza’s brothers in the  Palestinian Authority. The (West Bank) leadership is nauseated with Hamas.”

Some argue that Hamas’ manipulation of images is effectively undermining  their own case and risking losing public sympathy as viewers and readers cannot  be sure if the suffering being displayed is genuine. Those instances of real  tragedy and trauma become lost in a fog of spin and manipulation.

“War has very ugly consequences,” Hirschson continued. “The one thing I don’t  want to do is to suggest it is all staged, that there are no injuries, and this  is all a bluff. People are being killed on both sides, and sadly sometimes  uninvolved people are being killed and hurt. I’m not all that concerned about  those who are involved (in terrorism), but the manipulation of images, the  faking of images, and the presenting of images from other conflicts as fact on  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 center  in Gaza was hit by an Israeli missile. Hirschson suggests that Islamic Jihad had  deliberately positioned their command and control center in the building.

“Whether or not those international crews knew that Islamic Jihad were there  is unclear. But by effectively using the media as human shields, nothing less  than a war crime is being committed,” he concluded.

Source: Fox News


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here