Slowly, we have seen numerous accounts of how Hamas intimidated foreign journalists into not covering Hamas’ use of facilities such as Shifa Hospital and firing of rockets close to hospitals, apartment buildings, religious compounds and U.N. facilities.
But it has come slowly, and mostly after reporters had left Gaza.
And only after reporters were caught deleting tweets and pulling down stories that exposed the truth.
Even Hamas admits to intimidating and controlling journalists — and brags about it.
The Foreign Press Association also admitted to the intimidation, after the fact.
Now another report, via Elder of Ziyon, from a Dutch journalist (emphasis added):
Since the war started, one population group in Gaza has disappeared from the streets: people in uniform. Army green uniforms, blue-grey uniforms, black uniforms, they were all over the place. From one day to the next they are gone, the men and the few women (of the women police unit) with a weapon or a truncheon in their hands.
They work for Hamas and are targets of Israel, which knows reasonably well who is where via drones in the sky and spies on the ground. So they go into hiding. Only at the Shifa Hospital, the big hospital in Gaza City, are a few sitting in uniform. There, they feel protected from the Israeli bombings. In addition, that is where they monitor the international press to prevent it from doing ‘wrong’ things.
Local camera crews know this, but foreigners do not: Hamas does not want killed or wounded fighters to appear on camera footage. The reasons are twofold. Not giving the enemy Israel PR ammunition, and maintaining high morale among its own population. ‘We suffer no losses’, is the message, ‘we bring a severe blow to Israel’.
“The most casualties are civilians”, says Hamas spokesperson Ihab al Ghoessein, who speaks to the press at the hospital compound about the question how many fighters have died in the war…..
Although the uniforms might have disappeared from the streets, Hamas has not. High-ranking members monitor in civilian clothes. Whoever talks about Hamas critically on the streets is immediately spoken to. Whoever poses a critical question near security men of Hamas, but also far from them, receives the reply: “You cannot ask that question,” or “I do not want to answer that question.” In war no one is allowed to be a traitor.
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