More Than Half of Palestinian Arab ‘Journalists’ in Gaza Are Terrorist Sympathizers, a Report Claims

It takes a special kind of naïveté to suggest that those who delight in the slaughter of civilians will suddenly become respecters of journalistic objectivity.

AP/Yousef Masoud
Palestinians wave their national flag and celebrate by a destroyed Israeli tank at the Gaza Strip fence east of Khan Younis, October 7, 2023. AP/Yousef Masoud

The deaths  of two Palestinian Arab reporters traveling with a Hamas attack drone operator in Gaza highlight the blurriness of the line between journalism and terrorism in the current conflict. Were Mustafa Thuria and Hamza Wael al-Dadouh simply documenting the story of a Hamas terrorist who was flying a suicide drone at Israeli troops? Or were they active participants in Hamas combat operations against the IDF?

Questions about the role of the Palestinian Arab press in the Gaza conflict first arose in November, when concerns were raised about the role played by some freelance photojournalists working for major news outlets covering the Hamas terrorist attacks of October 7. 

One such cameraman, Hassan Esliah, was sacked by AP and CNN after photos showed him celebrating at a knocked-out Israeli tank. He also posted video footage on social media of himself riding into Israel on the back of a Hamas motorcycle behind a rider grasping a hand grenade.

IDF intelligence sources cited captured enemy documents proving that Mustafa Thuria was a deputy squad leader in the Hamas Gaza City Brigade and Hamza Wael al-Dadouh commanded a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket detachment.

Quelle surprise.

The Committee for Protecting Journalists, a non-governmental organization, has been critical of Israel over what it alleges are unjustified deaths of innocent reporters just going about their journalistic business. Yet British investigative journalist David Collier has done a deep dive  into such allegations by CJP.

“I went looking for the social media accounts of the 107 journalists who had been named,” Mr. Collier writes. “I successfully found 100 of them.”

In a 54-page report , Mr. Collier documents how more than half of those “journalists” were moonlighting as Hamas or Palestinian Jihad activists. He also found that almost three-quarters of those activists published social media posts lauding terrorist attacks against Israel and Jews.

For example, a Hamas-affiliated radio presenter, Duaa Sharaf, wrote the following after a 2022 terrorist attack in which three Israeli Jews were shot by Palestinian ISIS supporters: “Kill them, may Allah punish them with your hands and humiliate them.”

Ms. Sharaf was included in CPJ’s list of journalist casualties. As was Ahmed Shehab, who spent 23 years in an Israeli prison for terrorist activity and was described in his Palestinian Islamic Jihad death notice as holding the military rank of “commander.”

The double life of a Palestinian journo-terrorist like Shehab runs contrary both to the laws of armed conflict and the canon of journalistic ethics. More broadly, it takes a special type of naïveté — or cynical fabrication — to argue that those who delight in the slaughter of civilians will suddenly become respecters of journalistic objectivity.

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