Gaza’s “fake journalists”

January 12, 2024 by Justin Amler
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After the killing of two Al Jazeera journalists last Sunday in Gaza as the result of an Israeli airstrike, fingers were immediately pointed at Israel, accusing the Jewish state of deliberately targeting journalists. It’s not a new accusation and one that has been levelled at Israel in the past.

Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS

Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news outlet funded by the Qatar royal family and well known for its pro-Hamas stances, lost little time in condemning Israel, releasing a statement attacking Israel for “the ongoing crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces against journalists and media professionals in Gaza.”

It called the killing an “assassination”, saying it “confirms without a doubt the Israeli forces’ determination [to] continue these brutal attacks against journalists and their families, aiming to discourage them from performing their mission, violating the principles of freedom of the press and undermines the right to life.”

This should hardly come as a surprise, as Al Jazeera has long served as a mouthpiece for Hamas, effectively acting as its propaganda arm. The terror group even honoured Al Jazeera back in 2021 for its ‘highly professional’ coverage of the Gaza conflict, stating it displayed a ‘high level of nationalism’ towards “the cause of the oppressed Palestinian people” and describing Al-Jazeera employees as “Mujahadeen” – meaning “self-sacrificing warriors”.

But while Al Jazeera wanted to portray the killing of the journalists as a deliberate attack on journalists, one that would naturally generate worldwide outrage, the real story appears to be quite different.

The actions of the two “journalists” in question, Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria cast serious doubt on whether they should be rightfully considered journalists!

Justin Amler

According to the Israel Defence Forces, they were travelling in a car together with a terrorist who was operating a drone at the time to gather intelligence on Israeli forces for a potential attack.

Israel, through electronic means, was able to track the signal’s origin to the vehicle and, in an entirely legitimate defensive action, launched an airstrike on the source of that signal, thereby eliminating the threat.

This shouldn’t be the least bit controversial –  it was not a targeted attack on journalists, but an attack on a legitimate military target in a warzone.

However, what should be controversial is what were the two supposed “journalists” doing in a car seated alongside a terrorist who was gathering intelligence for a potential attack on Israeli forces.

Furthermore, on January 10, the IDF spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, released documents discovered in Arabic which appear to show that Hamza Al-Dahdouh, in a deceitful dual role, was also a member of Islamic Jihad. Meanwhile, his partner, Mustafa Thuraya, according to the documents, was a deputy chief of a Hamas terror cell.

This is not a new phenomenon –  there have been many questions these last few months about the role of the press in Hamas-dominated Gaza, and many so-called “journalists” have been exposed as nothing more than tools of the Hamas terror apparatus, destroying the narrative that they are serving as bastions of “freedom of the press” as Al Jazeera claimed.

A report from Honest Reporting released on January 8 revealed that Gaza journalists Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa and Ashraf Amra, who had both been working for Reuters, had, on October 7, broadcast a public call for residents of Gaza to cross the border into pre-1967 Israel, or what they termed “occupied land”, and take part in the massacre that was currently underway.

On their return to Gaza from infiltrated Israeli communities, they initiated an Instagram live session in which they could be seen laughing as Abu Mostafa presented footage on his mobile phone of an Israeli soldier being lynched. They were clearly revelling in the joy of describing the sickening scenes of brutality that took place that day, including innocent Israeli women in southern Israel, who they described as “female settlers” being taken hostage from their homes and “carried” out by the Hamas terrorists. Chillingly, in one incident, they described how the door of a room was broken into and “three female settlers and a dog” were discovered.  The three women were then carried out while the dog was left behind, which caused them both to laugh further.

The idea that these self-proclaimed “journalists” could behave in this way is an insult to all legitimate journalists, who indeed play a key and vital role in all free societies. But in Gaza, many supposed “journalists” have long shed the badge of impartiality and fairness, aligning themselves instead with the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas, serving as propagandists for the terror regime but also playing pivotal roles as a cog in its malevolent military machine.

Over recent years, we have grown accustomed to the term “fake news”, meaning that information you read is presented as legitimate news, which is not actually news at all. Instead, it is either completely made up or is a deliberately falsified distortion of reality with the explicit purpose of progressing a certain narrative.

In Gaza, there’s a new term we need to get accustomed to: “fake journalists”. And in the streets of Gaza, there appear to be plenty of them.

Justin Amler is a policy analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).

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