|Illustrative image from Shijaiyah, Gaza City, of the kind that has |
blanketed the global media coverage of the Hamas war
waged from Gaza: massive destruction of buildings,
and nothing but civilians in sight. Combatants dead or alive? Look
elsewhere [Image Source: APA]
Or not: tonight's reports indicate the Hamas leadership - most of them based away from Gaza in luxurious accommodations - are ready, willing and very publicly anxious for more. See "Hamas rejects Egypt ceasefire terms, vows ‘continued struggle’" [Times of Israel, August 16, 2014], as a vivid illustration.
Against that background, we're still waiting for mainstream reporters and their editors at major news-industry channels to finally be upfront and open (i.e. to do what their professional code of ethics requires them to do) about what is known of the Hamas battlefield strategy, in particular as it pertains to (a) Gaza civilian casualties versus combatant casualties and (b) the appetite of the jihadists for more and more and more.
If they lack for source materials, we would like to direct their attention (as one small example among many) to Al-Monitor whose website tonight carries a revealing article translated to excellent English from the original Arabic. It's entitled "Is Hamas' tunnel network still intact?", and broadly speaking the answer is yes. The author is a Gaza based academic, the head of one of the faculties as well as something called the "Press and Information Section" at Gaza's Al Ummah University. Some direct quotes:
- [Hamas] field commander Abu Jihad told Al-Monitor, “Israel’s allegations that it destroyed the tunnel network are inaccurate and aimed at local consumption to reassure Israelis that the war was progressing well. To determine the truth, all they have to do is embark on a wide-scale ground offensive in Gaza, for we have prepared a wide array of tunnels 5-25 meters [16-82 feet] deep, which allow our fighters to move about the battleground undetected.
- It is true that Israel destroyed a number of those tunnels, but the strategic ones are undamaged and have retained their full logistical capacity, in as far as available water supply, food, weapons, ventilation systems and electricity.”
- ...Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, demonstrated resilience against the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip in the latest war, and their officials say they still have the military capabilities to continue the fight.
- It is interesting to note that, in this war, unlike the previous wars in 2008 and 2012, the al-Qassam Brigades [i.e. Hamas] did not divulge the names and numbers of its dead, nor did they allude to them in any way, except through unofficial activist posts and pictures on Facebook. It is well known, however, that they number in the dozens, with medical sources in Gaza confirming to Al-Monitor that corpses in uniform were brought to hospitals.
- ...Rescue workers were still removing the bodies of fighters and those who died when Israel targeted their homes in various areas of Gaza, without any mention of the approximate number of martyrs. Some fighters who went on patrol have yet to return home, because it was only logical that dozens would fall in this confrontation where Israel targeted homes.
Do the dots have to be joined before information of this kind [and this kind too: "Top 9 facts the media wouldn't tell you about Hamas"] appears in our major newspapers and evening news programs?
Why exactly is that?
UPDATE 12:40 am Sunday: See What Happened to the Press in Gaza?, Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary Magazine, today.