Why Do Journalists Still Assume Everything Hamas Tells Them Is Truth?


An unfortunate event happened earlier today: a Hamas bomb disposal crew took some journalists with them, and an unexploded ordinance exploded, killing them all.

Beyond the obvious question of why would Hamas place journalists in an unsafe area, there’s yet again disparity between what journalists report, and events that took place.

Three days ago, the Guardian interviewed Rahed Taysir al-‘Hom, and published it following the events today. Here are some interesting excerpts:

Rahed Taysir al’Hom was buried in the sandy soil of the cemetery of Jabaliya, the rough Gaza neighbourhood where he had grown up, at 1pm on the third day of the ceasefire.

His funeral was quick, attended by a hundred or so mourners, and accompanied by a quick sermon from a white-turbaned cleric, a sobbing father and some shots fired from a Kalashnikov by a skinny teenager.

The 43-year-old father of seven lies next to his brother – a Hamas fighter killed in an Israeli air strike two weeks ago. But the al’Hom who died on Wednesday was not a warrior. He was head of the sole bomb disposal unit of Gaza’s northern governorate and his job was to protect several hundred thousand people from the unexploded ordnance that now litters the streets, fields and the rubble of many homes.

Al’Hom, who died when a 500kg bomb he was trying to defuse exploded at 10.30am on Wednesday, was an incidental casualty of a month-long war that no one seems able to stop.

Further on, Burke gives us some more interesting info:

He had no protective clothing and used basic tools – screwdrivers, pliers and cutters – as he worked to make everything safe, be it Hamas rockets which had fallen short of their mark or huge bombs dropped by Israeli warplanes.

But what was the ordinance that exploded? The Guardian says a 500 Kkg bomb, without, to the best of my knowledge, being there. Yet the BBC reports it was an Israeli missile, and so too does the Daily Mail. The New York Times, however, uses the word “bomb” without giving more details, except that which “officials” – read Hamas – claims.

Two of the journalists, an Italian videographer and a local Palestinian helping him with arrangements and translation, were killed along with three members of Gaza’s unexploded-ordnance squad as they were attempting to defuse what officials described as an Israeli bomb that detonated.

I’m not doubting that there are unexploded Israeli ordinances in Gaza, I am, however, raising a red light about the source of the claim, given previous examples of “officials” lying, and the media willfully parroting them.

The Guardian’s article had two accompanying images of the bomb disposal man at work:

sap sap2

Keen eyes will spot several interesting things:

  1. Most, if not al,l of the 155mm artillery shells are smoke rounds. They are the ones with the missing fuse, and a hollow base, like the one he is holding in the second image. Israel used these smoke rounds, and not the white phosphorus based ones.
  2. There are numerous munitions used by Palestinian terrorists in these picture. The silver projectile he’s holding in the first image, the projectile with six nozzles in the foreground, and the one leaning against the wall, are all 107 mm rockets, the likes of which we’ve seen before.
  3. There are several 122mm Grad rocket tail sections scattered around. You can see two of them clearly in the second image, one right next to his right elbow, and one cropped at the bottom left.
  4. Those two barrel looking things are not barrel bombs.

In other words, besides having proof of rockets falling short, we now also have proof there are clearly many Palestinian unexploded ordinances in Gaza. This puts into doubt the claim an Israeli bomb killed those people. Apart from one journalist who doubted the location of this event, none have raised even one iota of doubt about Hamas’ claim.

Perhaps they don’t want to be blacklisted.

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