Hamas, Gaza, Iran – News Censorship By PR, Terror, Murder
By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel —– January 24, 2008 ……. Nowhere can one find democracy to be more alive, more vibrant than in the Fourth Estate. A few years after the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, looking up at the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, said, ‘Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.’
The Fourth Estate are working journalists. Whether it be print journalism, broadcast journalism or Internet journalism, the Fourth Estate both informs and keeps in check the First Estate – clergy, the Second Estate – nobility, for the enlightenment and protection of the Third Estate – commoners.
It has always been the ultimate tool of checks and balances.
A recent historical example was the Watergate Affair where Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein through intensive investigative journalism brought down US President Richard Nixon, forcing him to resign in disgrace.
Today one can find the Fourth Estate in action in both Israel and Hamas occupied Gaza. But the distinction and size between working in Gaza and Israel is no different than the width of the Atlantic Ocean. In Israel, the Fourth Estate is allowed access to governmental, commercial and religious affairs. Israel’s government-appointed Winograd Commission of inquiry into the Second Lebanon War and its targeting of the IDF, the Israel Ministry of Security and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert releases its finding to both the domestic and global media without missing a heartbeat.
But the story is quite different in Hamas occupied Gaza. Hamas, a terror led and Iran fueled organization which qualifies as a First Estate entity does not allow free speech. If one cares to express themselves against Hamas, the penalty is either a bullet through the head, a beheading or a hanging.But where it really gets scary is when Hamas points their guns at journalists.
Now we have the Islamic First Estate attempting to control the Fourth Estate, not by blackmail, fraud or even public relations. But rather through the blatant use of terrorism – the murder or attempted murder of innocent civilians. Recently, a TV camera crew from Israel came under both sniper fire and Qassam rocket attacks by Hamas as they were investigating the Hamas sniper murder of a farm worker on the other side of Gaza.
The incident was fully documented and filmed.
Carlos Andres Chavez, a 20-year-old volunteer from Ecuador, was killed after he was shot by a Palestinian sniper from within the Gaza Strip as he was working in the fields of the Ein Hashlosha kibbutz located near the coastal territory.
The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, took responsibility for the murder.
The murder and beheading of American journalist and Wall Street reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi, Pakistan by Islamic terrorists highlights another recent incident at intimidation by Islamic terrorists. It is believed that Al Qaeda was responsible for this murder.
Iran has also acknowledged that a Canada – Iran photojournalist was beaten to death after her arrest outside a prison in Tehran. Iran Vice President Ali Abtahi said Zahra Kazemi died “of a brain hemorrhage resulting from beatings”. Kazemi, 54, was detained on 23 June for taking pictures of Tehran’s Evin prison. She was later pronounced dead after falling into a coma
And according to Human Rights Watch, after testifying to a US presidential commission about their torture during detention, a group of Iran journalists have received death threats from judicial officials under Tehran chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi.
“We want the Iran government to know that the world is watching what happens to these young journalists. The Iranian government is responsible for their safety,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. “The Iranian authorities should be protecting citizens who testify before presidential commissions instead of sending them death threats.”
Reporters Without Borders condemned the fatal shooting in Baghdad of Iraq TV journalist Liqaa Abdul-Razzaq in what “once again bears the hallmarks of an execution.” An interpreter and the driver of the taxi she was travelling in were also killed in the same shooting, while a woman friend was wounded.
“We are outraged by what appears to have been a targeted killing designed to intimidate the entire press and we call on the authorities to carry out a rapid and thorough investigation to identify those responsible and prevent this kind of tragedy continuing,” the organization said.
It also reiterated the principle that “journalists are neutral observers whose work must be protected and respected in order to ensure that news reporting is as free and thorough as possible.”
But Hamas has little if any respect for journalists. If anything, journalists are used solely as a PR tool and provided with misinformation with headlines that appear in such global newspapers as the Belfast Telegraph and The Independent: “The poor and the sick suffer as Israel cuts power to Gaza.”
Israel never cut power to Gaza. Hamas did. And the power which was severed was limited to Northern Gaza from where the Kassam rockets are launched daily slamming into the town of Sderot, Israel. As part of its propaganda machine Hamas shut down Gaza’s only power grid last week in protest of Israel’s blockade.
Hamas then broadcast images of children in a dark Gaza City, holding candles and portraying Israel as the aggressor.
How could Hamas broadcast pictures of children holding candles in Gaza if there was no electricity?
“We’re continuing to supply the people of Gaza with electricity despite the overload for electricity in Israel and despite the fact that Israel residents and Electric Company workers that are being sent to Gaza vicinity communities are under threat from Qassam rockets,” said Israeli Electric Company (IEC) workers’ committee chairman Miko Zarfati.
Several Israel electrical workers have been injured in rocket attacks in recent years and like farmers and others working near the Gaza fence, have been most recently threatened by sniper fire.
So as the democratic, free media in Israel attacks Ehud Olmert and others for their actions in Lebanon, as the democratic press in Israel takes the IDF to task for occasionally ignoring the needs of innocent Palestinians at defensive, security checkpoints, Hamas does not criticize it merely silences international reporters by bullets.
Just ask a group of international journalists at the Gaza – Israel border crossing of Erez, whose cars were sprayed by bullets two weeks ago by Hamas snipers.
If Israeli soldiers should ever hit and injure a journalist, it is never by intent. Either the journalist was not wearing clothing to identify himself as a journalist, did not inform the IDF that he or she was in the area or as in war time – the journalist was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is a risk that journalists take to get the story out. The ultimate sacrifice by the Fourth Estate for the many in the Third Estate.But the murders and kidnappings of foreign journalists by Islamic terrorists, by Hamas, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran and are well planned events to silence those who dare to speak up against Islam. Iran’s extreme Revolutionary Guards have maintained the death sentence on British author Salman Rushdie is still valid – 19 years after it was issued.
The military organization, loyal to Iran’s supreme leader, said the order was “irrevocable”, on the eve of the anniversary of the 1989 fatwa. The order was issued after publication of Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses”, condemned as blasphemous.
This is just one of the many basic and fundamental differences between Hamas occupied Gaza and a small, democratic and free nation called Israel. But yet the Belfast Telegraph, the Independent, The LA Times, AFP, The Times and many other Western news media outlets chose to ignore these hard and documented facts as they continue to misinform and incite their readers against Israel. A nation which unilaterally left Gaza in a move for peace, but yet their innocent citizens and working journalists are still under attack by Hamas Kassam rockets and terror sniper fire.
The Fourth Estate has become a target in the Middle East and in distorting the news from time to time lends some credibility to those who target them. But yet another distinction between Hamas, Iran and Israel is that Israel may revoke a government issued press card, but Hamas will revoke one’s life.