Media Blog

Hamas scores a propaganda victory and the British fall for it

We can all be extremely pleased that BBC journalist Alan Johnston has been released safe and well after being held hostage for over 3 and half months in the Gaza Strip.

Less heartening is that David Miliband, the new British Foreign Secretary (minister) who only assumed office last Friday, in virtually his first public statement in the job, has gone out of his way to praise Hamas:

“I fully acknowledge the crucial role Hamas have played in securing this happy outcome,” Miliband said this morning.

The BBC has also been featuring interviewees all morning that praise Hamas.
* This is the same Hamas who only two weeks ago were throwing fellow Palestinians from Gaza rooftops and dismembering the bodies of others they had murdered.
* This is the same Hamas which are world leaders in the art of the Islamist suicide bomb, an “art” which almost killed unknown numbers in Britain this past weekend.
The Guardian, never a newspaper to shy away from giving Hamas plenty of publicity and taking their statements at face value, quotes Mahmoud Zahar, the Hamas “foreign minister,” this morning as saying:

“Every kidnapping, every illegal behavior, we will fight with all our force, the force of law, the force of moral principles.”

Yet it is Hamas who have been holding 20-year-old kidnapped Israeli Gilad Shalit in a hole in the ground ringed by explosives in a densely populated area of Gaza City for over a year now.
When interviewing Hamas spokesmen this morning about Johnston’s release, the anchors for CNN International and for the British network Sky News at least had the professionalism to ask them if they would now release the young Shalit. The BBC interviewers didn’t even mention Shalit but instead kept on repeating (wrongly) that Johnston was the longest held captive in Gaza. But then anyone who actually wants objective and accurate information about the Middle East long ago stopped relying on the BBC.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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