Most of the people killed in the Gaza violence this week were Hamas affiliates

Etienne De Malglaive/Getty ImagesA tear gas canister falls near a Palestinian at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue on May 14, 2018 in Gaza City, Gaza.
  • The Health Ministry in Gaza said more than 60 people died in the recent Gaza border conflict.
  • On Wednesday, a Hamas official said that 50 of the Palestinians who died were Hamas affiliates.
  • This context has gone largely unnoticed in mainstream coverage of the conflict.

On Monday, Israel was bludgeoned with criticism over the violence at the Gaza border and the dozens of Gazans who were killed near the security fence.

Critics questioned the Israeli defence forces’ conduct. One Twitter user even garnered thousands of retweets for his criticism of The New York Times – which, in a tweet, used the passive voice in describing the nature of Palestinian deaths.

Over the past few days, the nature of the victims – and the role of terrorist organisations in the conflict – have become more clear.

On Tuesday, Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that three of the victims had been their people.

On Wednesday, a Hamas official said that 50 of the Palestinians who died during the border struggle were Hamas affiliates. The US has long designated both Hamas and PIJ as terrorist organisations.

(Australia designates Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades as a terrorist organisation.)

The loss of even a single innocent life is a tragedy – one that nations should work diligently to avoid. But the nature of this conflict should be put in the proper context. As prominent Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz wrote in The Hill, the world has been largely made to believe that Israel arbitrarily shot and killed more than 50 innocent civilians.

We know now that accusation does not even come close to the truth.

A few weeks ago, as the “protests” were first ramping up,I wrote a primer on Hamas’s history of violence for readers unfamiliar with the terrorist entity. One part in particular is worth rereading:

“Fathi Hammad, a Hamas official, once said explaining his organisation’s tactics: ‘For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. … The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children.’

“He went on to explain that ‘this is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly … in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine.’ It is, Hammad said, like ‘they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘We desire death like you desire life.'”

This is the kind of context that should be present in discussions the violence in Gaza, or about Hamas’s participation in the conflict. So far, it largely hasn’t been. That omission, along with the absence of meaningful coverage about the victims, is indicative of the way the mainstream media extinguishes fruitful exchange about the realities of the conflict.

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