Israeli newspaper, Jerusalem Post says that tens of people, where some are connected to Hamas, who also have more than 100 million followers on social media are launching a campaign against Israel since October 7.
It specifically mentions Palestinian content creators and journalists who succeeded in calling the world’s attention and breaking the stereotype that was created by the occupation in the West, which also contributed to dehumanizing them and limiting their victims in numbers. Israel reduces the impact when calling them “Collateral losses in its war against Hamas.”
Since October 7, these young people have been sharing daily stories that restore the Palestinian stolen humanity by shedding light on their current daily situation and revoking the concept of war which is deliberately absent from discussion in the Western media.
Within a few weeks, they succeeded in breaking decades of narrative monopoly, which exposed the discrimination of the Western media against the Palestinians and held them accountable before their audiences, also challenging the narrative of “The savage people” which Israel claims is waging war against it on behalf of the entire “Civilized world.”
The Jerusalem Post article has not provided any evidence of the connection between these influencers and Hamas, it rather uses their narratives which contradicted the official Israeli narrative to support its hypothesis. Two of these narratives were about the bombing of the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital and the bombing of displaced people on the road of Salah Al-Din.
The article accuses 22-year-old Plestia Alaqad, who documented the moments of the horror and the “Life of homelessness” since the beginning of the Israeli aggression on Gaza by spreading a “Lie” of the Israeli bombing of the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital and killing more than a thousand people who sought refuge there.
The article also adopts the official Israeli narrative which claims that the Islamic Jihad movement has fired a missile at the hospital, it also claims, based on what it calls “International Independent Investigations” that the number of victims was no more than 50 people killed.
Nevertheless, other open-source investigations including the New York Times, revealed the inaccuracy of the provided evidence by Israel that the Islamic Jihad is responsible for bombing the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.
Another report, published by the German Channel Deutsche Welle on October 27, has confirmed that no field investigations have been conducted on the matter yet due to the unstable security conditions which do not allow international investigation teams to enter the Gaza Strip and investigate the circumstances of the bombing of the targeted hospital.
The Israeli Army spokesperson to the Arab media, Avichay Adraee, had previously evaded to respond to the proposal of allowing an international investigation team to access the targeted hospital claiming that the Israeli narrative is the “Truth.”
Poisoning the Well
According to those mentioned above, the international authorities' estimations of the number of victims of the bombing of the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital have become speculations. The convergence of the estimations of the American Intelligence Agency (CIA), Israel’s ally, and the official figures of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza puts the hypothesis into questioning the inflation of numbers, which is adopted by the Jerusalem Post.
The CIA expected that the bombing of the hospital has killed between 100 and 300 Palestinians and the MOH has declared that the number was 471.
Another investigation by Misbar has previously mentioned that since the beginning of the aggression, hospitals have become shelters for thousands of displaced people, especially the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital which was considered to be safe as it has never been attacked in previous aggressions, which indicates that vast numbers in displaced people were there at the time of the bombing.
Jerusalem Post’s allegations come at a time when the media labels the MOH in Gaza “MOH of Hamas” coinciding with the smear campaign of the movement in a strategy aiming at questioning the credibility and accuracy of the numbers declared by the MOH in the Gaza Strip.
This tactic involves a logical fallacy of “poisoning the well,” which means declaring negative information about a certain party to jeopardize its credibility later.
The article also questions/rejects the number of killed people presented by Plestia Alaqad, including the number of “10 journalists” which she mentioned in an interview with JB News on October 10, indicating that the channel did not check the validity of this piece of information.
Misbar reviewed the interview and found out that Plestia said “around” 10 journalists were killed, and that the channel’s observation was immediate and presented by the channel correspondent as soon as Plestia provided the information, and it was not based on a later investigation, whereas Jerusalem Post had more time to check the number from independent resources.
Misbar also checked the statistics of the International Independent Community to Protect Journalists, which indicated that 7 Palestinian journalists were indeed killed October 10, which is close to what Alaqad said.
Whereas young director, Bisan Odeh, which has more than 2 million followers on Instagram, has been criticized by the article and accused by the writer of being “Antisemitic." Not to mention the difficulty to verify the description which has been misused continuously to stigmatize critics of Zionism and the unjust policies of the Israeli governments towards the Palestinians, Odeh cannot control who follows and adopts her ideas.
Odeh has been accused in the article of her contribution to spreading the “Lie of the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, same as Alaqad.” It was mentioned that she described the “Safe Corridor” to be a “Trap,” stating that Israel lures and kills the displaced people who go to the south.
70 civilians of North Gaza were killed when their cars were targeted on Salah Al-Din street while they were fleeing to the south in response to the official Israeli calls, where Israel denied its responsibility of the bombing and accused Hamas of standing behind civilians, and prevented them from leaving North Gaza, to continue using them as “Human Shields.”
Israeli Organization Accuses Journalist Hend Al-Khoudari of Handing Activists Over to Hamas
Based on the Israeli organization “Honest Reporting” which monitors media, the Jerusalem Post article accused journalist Hend Al-Khoudari of reporting a group of peace activists to Hamas in 2020 which led to their detention.
However, Al-Khoudari explained in the same year that she wanted to warn authorities about their activities which promoted normalization with Israel. The leader of the group himself declared in the meeting, which Al-Khoudari was watching through Zoom, that Hamas is fully aware of the group’s activities as it promotes them openly on Facebook. In the same article, Al-Khoudari denied any connections with Hamas, she also pointed out that she was arrested in 2019 covering protests against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Amnesty International said that Al-Khoudari was working as a research consultant there and that Hamas detained and accused her of espionage because she spoke to protestors about inflation and high cost of living during her work with the organization.
“Honest Reporting” Accuses Palestinian Journalists and Photographers of Colluding With Hamas
The Jerusalem Post article also hinted that photojournalist Abdullah Al-Attar, and his colleague Ahmed Hijazi were with Hamas when their fighters preached the fence separating Gaza and the covering settlements on October 7, indicating that they both published documented videos and pictures of the events.
A report published on November 8 by “Honest Reporting” went further than that, indicating that 6 photojournalists who documented the events on October 7 around the settlements, may have previously known about the plan of Hamas.
The organization specifically accused journalists working with Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, and the New York Times, and asked questions including “What were they doing there, on what is supposed to be a quiet Saturday morning?”, “Have they coordinated being there with Hamas?”, “Has the prestigious media which published the photos approved their existence inside the lands of the enemy along with terrorists?”
In response to the report, the New York Times, CNN, Reuters, and Associated Press denied any previous knowledge about Hamas’s plan, before CNN and AP terminated cooperation with photojournalist Hassan Eslaiah, who accused the pro-Israeli organization of colluding with Hamas based on a video he published on October 7. Eslaiah appeared to be near a burning Israeli tank and said that he saw with his “Naked eye” the abduction of who was inside by Al-Qassam fighters.
The New York Times said that the accusation against their photographer Yousef Masoud lacked evidence and considered publishing these accusations as reckless which “puts the lives of journalists and Gaza and Israel in danger.”
The Israeli government adopted the report of “Honest Reporting” and considered these journalists “complicit in crimes against humanity,” and that their actions violated professional morals and ethics.
Common Targeting Pattern
By reviewing both articles, one can notice that the common pattern between Jerusalem Post and Honest Reporting reports is the questioning of the professionalism of journalists.
The Jerusalem Post describes Plestia Alaqad “whom she calls herself as an independent journalist” and questions the title of “Goodwell Ambassador” which the American ABC channel called Bisan Odeh, considering hosting her in BBC channel a kind of “conferring credibility,” which again proves that the author of the article’s based his idea on lack of credibility. On the other hand, “Honest Reporting” report questions the commitment of photojournalists who work with prestigious media to the ethic and morals of their profession, which embarrassed some of these means of media and pushed them to terminate their cooperation with them to avoid any suspicions.
Through its governmental and nongovernmental media and propaganda efforts, Israel aims to silence the Palestinian voice by questioning its credibility, discrediting the journalists, isolating them, and legitimizing their liquidation.
Israel also aims to question the credibility of the Palestinian narrative of the events, and making up with counter-narratives to create an atmosphere of inconsistency which makes it hard to distinguish the truth making an opposing opinion to Israel a much harder mission. In addition to establishing the idea of the Arab-Israeli conflict is more complicated to be characterized by positions of support or opposition to either party, which encourages neutrality that ensures the stability of the balance of power as it is.