Omertà in Action: The Cannibal Strategy and Shati
The following is an excerpt from my book ms, They’re So Smart cause We’re so Stupid: A Medievalist’s Guide to the 21st Century, Part II, chapter 5: “Lethal Journalism.”
To add to the dossier on Palestinian intimidation and the system of Omertà that it has successfully turned into a smooth compliance of journalists with the Palestinian lethal narrative, an incident occurred in the summer of 2014, during the IDF’s “Operation Protective Edge.” It competes with the Ricardo Cristiano incident for the bright illumination is sheds on the phenomenon of intimidation of the media.
This was the third operation in Gaza in six years, and Hamas “Dead-Baby” strategy had developed clearly in response to the MSNM reliably playing by their rules.[ Firing from behind their own civilians, at Israeli civilians, Hamas’ strategy sought 1) to create a maximum of civilian casualties, 2) have them blamed on Israel, 3) so that world indignation and anger at this massive spectacle of Palestinian suffering, would wax so great that Israel would be forced to stop its operation, and Hamas and other Jihadi would survive to fight again. Meantime, the more the Palestinians suffered, the more damage to Israel’s public image in the world. It was a brilliant cognitive war strategy, waged against Israel, by a combination of Palestinian propagandists and the Durban BDS School.
So, valuable were civilian casualties in this strategy, that Hamas and fellow Jihadis, resorting to a particularly merciless strategy already deployed by the PLO and fellow civil warriors in Lebanon in the 1970s, fired from their own civilian areas, in the hopes of drawing return fire and getting their own people killed. NB: this represents an even more heinous strategy than the one used in Lebanon. There, the PLO would fire from enemy territory and run away before the return fire hit their enemy. Here it was a sacrifice of their own people.
So careless did the rocketeers get, that some 20% of their rockets fell on their own people, in some cases killing children. And yet, so valuable were dead babies killed by rockets, that they did not hesitate to use children members of Hamas had themselves killed, to blame Israel and carry out their charade of victimhood.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya and Egyptian (Muslim Brotherhood) Foreign Minister Kandil, make pious photo op of kissing a child that Hamas had killed (2012).[
This terrible “dead baby strategy,” however, can only work if the Western MSNM do their part and blame Israel. Imagine the impact of the above picture were it to appear with my accurate caption. Imagine if journalists who weren’t afraid, were to ask Haniya and Kandil if they are aware that one of Hamas’ many stray rockets had killed this child too? Imagine if the photographers had worked hard, and against Palestinian Media Protocols, to catch pictures of Jihadis firing rockets from the midst of their own people, and sending in clean-up crews to get rid of Hamas ordinance shrapnel before bringing reporters to the sight of another Palestinian child killed by the Israelis. Imagine how long Hamas could continue to sacrifice its own people for its Jihadi cogwar aims?
The failure of the WMSNM to probe these cases of Palestinian
Jihadis killing their own children came to a head in the 2014 case of the
shelling of al-Shati refugee camp, right outside Shifa hospital, on the day of
a Eid-al-Fitr truce… the first time the children thought it safe to play
outside. Two rockets landed that day, “shattering the truce,” one doing minimal
damage to the hospital, the other falling amidst playing refugee children,
killing ten kids under ten years old.
For a brief period, the news media covered the story in lurid detail. Pictures of the unfortunate children and their grieving parents filled the pages of newspapers and websites, along with expressions of shock and horror from major figures the world over.
“It’s worse than shooting fish in a barrel, it’s like shooting sardines in a barrel,” noted one CNN reporter (I think he meant sardines in a can). NBC reporter Ayman Moyheldin tweeted immediately:
“Israeli drone struck refugee camp killing 10, including eight children.” Reporters quoted locals who blamed Israel: “There were no militants, no resistance members, just children… It was just after Ramadan, just when life was returning to normal… The Israelis broke the cease-fire. These children were just trying to play.”
It all fit so perfectly into the frame so common in the news media, and at the core of the UNHRC’s attitude towards the conflict, the cruel Israeli Goliath pummeling the Palestinian David, the systematic trampling of the rights and dignity of the Palestinian People. Such a wanton act of cruelty shocks the world’s conscience. Even if the Israeli perpetrators did not do it on purpose, the criminal negligence of firing shells so close to a refugee camp, filled with innocent civilians and so many children, certainly qualifies as a war crime if not a crime against humanity. Headlines from around the world resembled those from the Arab world: ISRAEL’S CAMPAIGN TO SEND GAZA BACK TO THE STONE AGE Daily Beast; ‘EID OF BLOOD’ AS ISRAELI MILITARY WARNS WORSE IS TO COME, Australian Broadcasting Co.; 8 PALESTINIAN CHILDREN AMONG 10 DEAD AS ISRAEL HITS GAZA REFUGEE CAMP. Al Ahram.[
Except it wasn’t quite that. Witnesses, both local and
journalists quickly understood that the strike had come from Hamas, which
quickly sent in people to clean up the evidence:
Wall Street Journal reporter Tamer El-Ghobashy quickly tweeted the following about the other shell, the one that hit Shifa hospital:
By evening, an unofficial consensus had
emerged among the foreign press on the scene that it was Hamas. Gabriel Barbati
tweeted at 20:15 that night:
Israel responded with unusual alacrity to the accusations, producing within an hour, diagrams from Iron Dome radar tracking to show that the two rockets that hit Israel were fired from Gaza at Israel that fell short; two others, fired from the same spot, hit Israel but caused no damage. They were rockets from the Palestinian ‘resistance.’
And yet, despite the evidence, CNN’s Carl Penhaul was determined to tell the tale of innocent Gazans, just like you and me, devastated by what everyone on the outside assumed was an Israeli strike.
For two days, the coverage continued to emphasize Palestinian suffering and at least imply Israeli guilt. When it became clear that the incident was not Israel’s fault, the various media silently changed their reports (most notably, Ayman Mohyeldin-impaired, NBC),[ dropped the topic, and went on to the next lethal narrative about the shelling of a UN School that killed 10. Although Israel claimed that Hamas was firing from the vicinity (a regular tactic), the international community exploded with condemnations that blanketed their silence over the 10 killed by Hamas two days earlier.
This particular incident illustrates the pattern of lethal journalism (i.e. high PMP Compliance Score) littered with traces of intimidation. El-Ghobashy’s post blaming Hamas was quickly taken down, replaced the tweet with the same picture captioned “Unclear what the origin of the projectile is.” El-Ghobashy later claimed he deleted the tweet because it was “speculative” and that there was “no conspiracy,” meaning that he did not do it under pressure.[
And yet, the next day, Gabriel Barbati, who had already tweeted the consensus among journos that it was Hamas, tweeted again:
It’s all here: awareness of the fault, failure to report
while within Gaza because of “Hamas retaliation,” clean-up crews to hide the
evidence, so familiar to the journalists that it’s proof of yet another case of
Hamas inflicted, Hamas covered-up, Palestinian deaths.
To what lengths will Hamas go to protect its position? The very night of a terrible incident of Shati Refugee camp, there was a protest in Gaza city, nearby. Hamas mowed down over twenty Palestinian protesters on the street. Reports from Palestinian witnesses reached Israeli reporters,