Monday, May 13, 2024

  • Monday, May 13, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the New York Times:
The Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has for years overseen a secret police force in Gaza that conducted surveillance on everyday Palestinians and built files on young people, journalists and those who questioned the government, according to intelligence officials and a trove of internal documents reviewed by The New York Times.

The unit, known as the General Security Service, relied on a network of Gaza informants, some of whom reported their own neighbors to the police. People landed in security files for attending protests or publicly criticizing Hamas. In some cases, the records suggest that the authorities followed people to determine if they were carrying on romantic relationships outside marriage.

Hamas has long run an oppressive system of governance in Gaza, and many Palestinians there know that security officials watch them closely. But a 62-slide presentation on the activities of the General Security Service, delivered only weeks before the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, reveals the degree to which the largely unknown unit penetrated the lives of Palestinians.

The documents show that Hamas leaders, despite claiming to represent the people of Gaza, would not tolerate even a whiff of dissent. Security officials trailed journalists and people they suspected of immoral behavior. Agents got criticism removed from social media and discussed ways to defame political adversaries. Political protests were viewed as threats to be undermined.

This story only gives a little bit of information that was not known before - the extent of Hamas' oppression and limiting of freedoms. 

But from the beginning of Hamas' takeover of Gaza, it was obvious that the people were expected to tell Western reporters and NGOs only what Hamas would allow them to say. 

 For years, whenever Human Rights Watch or Amnesty reported on "witnesses" to events in Gaza, the anti-Israel witnesses were named, and the ones who confirmed Israel's side of the story were anonymous. Amnesty even once wrote a report about how unreliable eyewitnesses could be when they are in a heavily politicized environment.

The reporters who aren't completely incompetent know all of this quite well. They are looking for an anti-Israel angle and will not bother reporting anything that adds complexity to the "evil Israel, good Palestinians" narrative. They know their stringers will bring them the right people to interview that will tell them what Hamas wants them to hear. 

So now we know a bit more about how extensive Hamas' control has been over Gaza and over what people could say to Westerners. Will any newspaper or NGO go back over their last 15 years of Gaza coverage and re-examine their interviews in this light? Will they issue corrections saying that the Gazans happen to be deathly afraid of Hamas and their words need to be viewed from that viewpoint?

Come on. 

Only two weeks ago, CNN reported on a demonstration in Gaza of children thanking US university students for their support. Does anyone seriously think that this rally was organized by the kids who are holding professionally created signs in English but don't even know which side is right side up?

CNN showed no curiosity as to who organized the demonstration, or who printed the signs. 

The Palestinian Authority is just as repressive as Hamas, although I don' t know if their spying abilities are quite as extensive. Every Christmas, the wire services dutifully interview Palestinians in Gaza and Bethlehem about how Israel oppresses them. At the same time, some courageous Christian news outlets dig a little deeper and find anonymous Palestinian Christians who describe how they are being oppressed by their own leaders and by the larger Muslim population.  But nothing will change in media coverage in the West Bank, either. 

Not even from the New York Times which belatedly mentions what every reporter knows. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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