A Finnish reporter broadcasting from Gaza broke the silence about Hamas' use of human shields. Journalists who have left Gaza have reported being threatened and intimidated by Hamas about coverage that is unfavorable to the terrorist group.
In a report (see video below) titled, “HS spent the night at a hospital in Gaza,” the Helsingin Sanomat reporter said, "Right in the back parking lot of Al Shifa Hospital, a rocket was launched, two o’clock in the morning.”
“Really, it happened right in the area, the sound of it was really loud,” she said. “It’s true that rockets are launched here from the Gazan side into Israel.”
Watch video of Finnish journalist reporting on missile launched from Gaza hospital (English subtitles):
Israel has long accused Hamas of using its population as human shields. Rockets aimed at Israel are routinely launched from hospitals, mosques, schools and dense population centers (see video below). Although Israel has been careful to warn the Gaza population before a strike – through leaflets, telephone calls and even text messages — Hamas has forbidden residents to leave buildings that are being targeted.
Many journalists emerging from Gaza have also spoken of Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields. Yet, other journalists, who still remain in Gaza, have taken down posts that have incriminated Hamas.
After he left Gaza, Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati tweeted, “Out of Gaza far from Hamas retaliation: Misfired rocket killed children [yesterday] in Shati.”
— gabrielebarbati (@gabrielebarbati) July 29, 2014
He then confirmed that it was not an Israel rocket that misfired in Shati killing children near a Gaza hospital: “@IDFSpokesperson said truth in communique released yesterday about Shati camp massacre. It was not Israel behind it.”
Shortly before the latest ceasefire went into effect, an Indian journalist from NDTV described the scene just outside his hotel window. A mysterious blue tent had been erected early in the morning the previous day. The journalist monitored three Gazans who made multiple trips in and out of the tent, carrying various equipment. The men covered the contents with cut bushes, changed their clothes and took down the tent.
The next morning, the journalist heard a loud explosion from where the tent was. The men had built a missile launcher next to the hotel. His cameraman caught the smoke caused by the launching of the missile.
The NDTV journalist filed the following video report when he was safely out of Gaza and beyond the retribution of Hamas:
France 24 reporter Gallagher Fenwick filed a report showing a Hamas rocket launcher in the middle of a heavily populated area, just 50 meters away from a hotel where the majority of the international media was staying and 100 meters from a UN facility.
Watch Fenwick's report below:
A Spanish journalist just out of Gaza was interviewed by filmmaker Michael Grynszpan, who asked the journalist why there are no pictures of Hamas gunmen being broadcast from Gaza, only pictures of civilians and mostly women and children.
Grynszpan reported, “He answered me frankly: ‘It’s very simple, we did see Hamas people there launching rockets, they were close to our hotel, but if ever we dared pointing our camera on them they would simply shoot at us and kill us. ’” The reporter, still fearing reprisals, however, refused to be interviewed on camera.
Other journalists who still remain in Gaza have taken down posts that have incriminated Hamas. One particular picture posted by Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal showed a senior Hamas official being interviewed inside the Shifa hospital in front of a fake backdrop with a picture of a destroyed house.
When posting the picture, Casey originally tweeted: “You have to wonder w/ the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.” The post was then removed.
After the French newspaper Liberation initially reported that Hamas interrogated French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagga at Shifa hospital, the article was taken down (at Abu Dagga’s request).
RT (formerly Russia Today) reporter Harry Fear was told by Hamas to leave Gaza after tweeting that Hamas launched rockets into Israel from a location close to his hotel. Fear also tweeted about Al-Wafa Hospital, calling it, “the hospital with human shields.”
Although Hamas’ use of human shields is a well-documented phenomenon, voices around the world have condemned Israel, whose civilian population has been under a constant barrage of missile attacks from Hamas beginning weeks before Israel chose to respond.
However, notably, in a short statement read on state-run TV in Saudi Arabia, Saudi’s King Abdullah chastised Hamas for its role in the war, which he called a “collective massacre.”
“It is shameful and disgraceful that these terrorists are doing this in the name of religion, killing the people whose killing Allah has forbidden, and mutilating their bodies and feeling proud in publishing this,” the king said.
Continuing his criticism of Hamas, he added, “They have distorted the image of Islam with its purity and humanity and smeared it with all sorts of bad qualities by their actions, injustice and crimes.”
Abdullah did not support any of Hamas’ demands, such as opening up the borders between Egypt and Gaza, making no mention of them at all.
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