WATCH: British Journalist Paul Martin Relives Hamas Captivity

In 2010, British journalist Paul Martin was detained by Hamas for 26 days. Here he talks about his harrowing ordeal.

Interestingly, this is from a news report about his release.

Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader, had alleged that Mr Martin “was working on defaming the image of the Palestinian people by saying that they smuggle weapons through tunnels”, referring to hundreds of border tunnels that bypass the blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt

This just goes to show you how Hamas are constantly lying. These days, Hamas does not deny they use tunnels for attack purposes.

On Jan. 29, speaking to thousands of mourners at the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza City for the funeral of seven al-Qassam Brigades fighters killed, Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, stated that the tunnels have become a strategic weapon.

Haniyeh said in his speech, “The tunnels played a crucial role in our victory. It is from these tunnels that the mujahedeen carried out the Nahal Oz operation. From these tunnels, the mujahedeen captured Israeli soldier Oron Shaul and fought the Israeli occupation from ground zero. … The mujahedeen went behind enemy lines … and returned safely to their bases.”

Haniyeh added, “Underground tunnels brought death to our enemy and victory and glory to our people and nation.”

On Jan. 31 and during the procession for Hamas fighters who died in a tunnel collapse in the east of Gaza City, Abu Ubaida, the nom de guerre of a spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades, confirmed that the tunnel excavators and fighters are behind numerous military achievements, such as the Zikkim operation and the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. He stressed that their arduous efforts deterred Israel and represent a pressure card Hamas can use for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

In December 2014, al-Qassam Brigades formed a special tunnel unit responsible for digging and equipping tunnels and training fighters to use them.

A Hamas source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “There are three types of tunnels that are being dug: attack tunnels, which are dug along the border, tunnels used to launch rockets and tunnels used for securing the movement of Hamas members and leaders between the various regions, shielded from Israeli shelling, which are usually dug inside the cities.”

The source added, “Al-Qassam Brigades’ military victories achieved during the recent war through the use of tunnels, as well as the use of these tunnels in previous other operations such as the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Shalit and some other operations, encouraged Hamas to extensively invest in tunnels.”

Meanwhile, Paul Martin has in the past ripped Ali “Abumination” Abunimah’s Electronic Intifada a new one.

“Why does The Electronic Intifada attack every single western news organization?” he complained, reeling off a long list of examples. “Admit what you are: a bunch of propagandists, don’t attack the other media … I’m a journalist, you’re a propagandist … You find two things that you think are ‘questionable’… and you want to try and ruin my whole 35 years of excellent coverage,” he said.

When asked why Wilkinson seemed reluctant to talk to The Electronic Intifada, Martin said: “I don’t think she’d want to speak to you … Quite frankly, who would want to speak to you?”

Martin once produced a segment for Newsnight which accused Palestinians of hiding explosives in a Gaza mosque. What did he think of former Irish army colonel Desmond Travers’ description of this as “propaganda”? Dove got agitated and intervened: “Newsnight doesn’t publish propaganda! Absolute nonsense, I worked for Newsnight,” he scoffed.

BBC World’s Mary Wilkinson, who did not reply to The Electronic Intifada’s queries, has also worked for Newsnight in the past, as a deputy editor.

Martin chimed in with Dove: “Newsnight is a highly reputable organization, far more reputable if I may say so than The Electronic Intifada.” Later on he said: “why should Newsnight or anyone else be concerned about what you think about my opinion?”

Martin tried to turn it into his interview, and made several such dismissive remarks: “your operation is a propagandist operation.” He later described The Electronic Intifada as “a puny organization.” He also claimed he was going to do a story about The Electronic Intifada and its “highly dubious operation.”

Why the focus on “this Palestine that you’re referring to: what about Syria? … Why are you focusing on this little tiny state [sic] called Palestine when there are people dying all over the place around the Middle East? What is this obsession you’ve got?”

Asked why The Electronic Intifada made him so angry, Martin stated: “The problem with the Internet is that even an organization such as yourself — which is a propaganda organization — has an Internet presence. It then gets picked up … very soon some people might even start to believe the rubbish that you write.”


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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