Palestinians Reveal the Truth about Gaza: 'Hamas Wanted Us Butchered So It Could Win the Media War Against Israel'

by James Delingpole

Sep 25, 2014 2:48 AM PT

Now that the smoke has cleared from the recent Israel/Gaza conflict the truth of what really happened is finally beginning to emerge. Hamas - the terrorist regime which controls Gaza - does not come out of it well.

"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.

"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.

"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.

"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student

"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.

"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.

These quotes were collected by Mudar Zarhan, a Jordanian-Palestinian writer and activist at the Gatestone Institute, who used his contacts in the West Bank to secure secret interviews with friends and family members in Gaza. All spoke anonymously because of the understandable fear that if their identities were revealed they would face execution by the ruthless Hamas regime.

What the interviews show is that many of the deaths attributed to Israel during the conflict were in fact caused directly or indirectly by Hamas.

Some were opponents of the regime - often Fatah members - who were shot as "Israeli spies" pour encourager les autres. One - Ayman Taha - was a senior Hamas leader murdered by his own side but supposedly martyred, according to Hamas press release by Israeli air strikes. Others were killed while demonstrating against Hamas on the streets.

According to D, a store owner:

"There were two major protests against Hamas during the third week of the war. When Hamas fighters opened fire at the protesters in the Bait Hanoun area and the Shijaiya, five were killed instantly. I saw that with my own eyes. Many were injured. A doctor at Shifa hospital told me that 35 were killed at both protests. He went and saw their bodies at the morgue."

Many more deaths were caused by Hamas's refusal to allow Gazans to take shelter from Israeli attacks.

S., a medical worker, told Zarhan:

"The Israeli army sends warnings to people [Gazans] to evacuate buildings before an attack. The Israelis either call or send a text message. Sometimes they call several times to make sure everyone has been evacuated. Hamas's strict policy, though, was not to allow us to evacuate. Many people got killed, locked inside their homes by Hamas militants. Hamas's official Al-Quds TV regularly issued warnings to Gazans not to evacuate their homes. Hamas militants would block the exits to the places residents were asked to evacuate. In the Shijaiya area, people received warnings from the Israelis and tried to evacuate the area, but Hamas militants blocked the exits and ordered people to return to their homes. Some of the people had no choice but to run towards the Israelis and ask for protection for their families. Hamas shot some of those people as they were running; the rest were forced to return to their homes and get bombed. This is how the Shijaiya massacre happened. More than 100 people were killed."

The interviews provide a version of events which could scarcely be more different from the one promulgated by most of the world's mainstream media during Operation Protective Edge, where the Israeli assault was presented as brutal, indiscriminate and almost entirely unjustified.

Israel's claims that it was doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties went largely unreported. So too did the Hamas weapons caches under mosques, the rockets fired from hospitals and the vast network of tunnels built to facilitate a planned cross-border spectacular - timed for the Jewish New Year which began yesterday - whereby Hamas terrorists planned to kill or kidnap as many Israelis as possible.

Partly this was the result of reporting restrictions. All journalists operating from inside Gaza were aware that if they failed to toe the Hamas line they would be immediately expelled - or worse.

But the bias was mainly ideological. Many of the media organisations reporting on Gaza - from the BBC and Channel 4 News to the New York Times - were predisposed to the idea that the Palestinians were the innocent victims of an Israeli overreaction to a few harmless missiles lobbed over the border by an oppressed and desperate people at the end of their tether. 

It was as a result of the political outcry created by media reports of weeping mothers and dead babies that Israel - as usual in these bi-annual wars - was forced to withdraw prematurely before it could fully protect its citizens' interests by destroying Hamas's military infrastructure.