Hamas and the Guardian – doing what comes naturally?

The Guardian Online has been confusing lately.   More and more Guardian articles are closed to comments.  Why is that?  Are they having to lay off moderators or rely on school leavers/holiday job volunteers?  Why are they departing so markedly from their format of printing guff about Israel and by not allowing even their own baying hounds to vent their hatred?

No comments are allowed either below the article in the World News section about Hamas hanging two Palestinians, allegedly for spying for Israel. 

Hamas executing political opponents in Gaza.

Accusing their political enemies of spying for Israel is the strong suit of every Arab government in the Middle East, as Daniel Pipes says in his book “The Hidden Hand” , so that should not surprise us. 

Nevertheless not allowing comments below the Guardian article is bizarre, given the readiness of the Guardian, and particularly Comment is Free, to leap to the defence of Hamas and give its apologists all the column inches they want to spout their particular brand of distortion. 

Why, I wonder, is there no attempt to explain away Hamas’ behaviour or at least give the Guardianista anti-Israel regulars the opportunity to do so below the line?  Also curious is that this article is stripped of the usual anti-Israel / pro-Palestinian hype one expects from the Guardian.

We see from the article that the two men, aged 60 and 29, (who according to CNN were father and son) were hanged at dawn on 26 July. The Guardian article says that the Hamas spokesman would give no further details, so we do not know from that article whether they were tried or whether this was a summary execution in the manner preferred by Hamas of its enemies, real and/or imagined.  CNN, however, tells us that they had been convicted in 2004 of assisting the enemy and providing information used to assassinate Palestinians.  It is interesting to note the egregious double standard here, that Hamas executed two men for colluding with the very crimes (ie assassinating Palestinians) that it itself committed subsequently against Fatah:

“According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the families of the men received a call at 1 a.m. Tuesday, asking them to visit their relatives. The meeting took place until 3 a.m., and at 6 a.m. the men’s bodies were received at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital.

“It appears from the state of the bodies that the men were hanged,” a statement from Al Mezan says. The center noted the danger in collaborating with Israel, but said that “(while) it is important to bring them to justice, we strongly object to the use of the death penalty and see the move by Hamas as illegal.”

[Question 1:  If CNN could find this out, why didn’t the Guardian print the whole story? *

Anomaly 1:  According to CNN, these men were arrested in 2004 and Israel left Gaza in September 2005.  I am not sure – and the article does not make clear – exactly how they fell into the hands of Hamas, when Fatah was presumably in charge of maintaining what passed for civil law and order in Gaza at the time of their arrest.   Perhaps it happened after the Hamas coup and the bloodletting and murder of Fatah operatives when Hamas took over the jail system.   But why wait seven years to execute these men if the case against them is clear-cut?   Is Hamas losing its grip and therefore it needs to make an example of them now?   So many questions shopping for answers!]

Conjecture apart, Amnesty International’s Middle East programme director Malcolm Smart said in 2010 that legal proceedings that led to death sentences “failed to meet international fair trial standards” and made any resulting executions “especially abhorrent.”

*Now look a little closer at the article.  This report of Hamas brutality was not written by a Guardian reporter filled with anti-Israel animus but by Associated Press, which might explain the unadorned, unemotional nature of it, and why it did not wander off into the ozone layer of hyperbole and supposition.  Can we assume that it was chosen for publication because the sparse nature of the information in it might have fitted the Guardian World View far better than the more detailed reporting of an outlet like CNN, simply because AP skated over the circumstances of the executions and the fact that they arose from Hamas’ failure to meet the international standards for a fair trial? 

These are not the first such executions and it is a racing certainty that they will not be the last. 

Indeed Hamas seems morbidly proud of its record and intentions, as one might expect given its blatant disregard for the human rights of its own people (see also here ). The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that Hamas has executed five people for spying since taking control of the coastal strip in 2007.  It would not be surprising if the figure was in fact higher and that is definitely the case if one includes the summary executions of Fatah members and sympathisers after Cast Lead.

It is a similar racing certainty that no article condemning Hamas’ complete lack of awareness of what might constitute “just” behaviour towards its own people will ever find its way into the Guardian or Comment is Free.

23 replies »

  1. “It is a similar racing certainty that no article condemning Hamas’ complete lack of awareness of what might constitute “just” behaviour towards its own people will ever find its way into the Guardian or Comment is Free.It is a similar racing certainty that no article condemning Hamas’ complete lack of awareness of what might constitute “just” behaviour towards its own people will ever find its way into the Guardian or Comment is Free.”

    Here are a few that managed to squeeze in:

    • sencrap, care to cut and paste relevant sentences?

      And there is no failing old media outlet more Fair and Balanced than Der Guardian.

    • The very first article you quoted quite predictably was not about Hamas’s awareness of its own behaviour, but someone else’s awareness

      Sencar: get a clue. Go on, get a clue and stop wasting people’s time.

    • Yes, there has been the very occasional article attacking Hamas. But given that the latter a) directly oppress their population b) indirectly are responsible for the Israeli blockade restrictions and c) continue to support/conduct attacks on Israeli civilians, then surely they deserve greater coverage – especially given the Guardian’s huge reporting on Israel?

  2. Sencar Peter Tatchell’s last paragraph (your first link) shows he doesn’t have a clue about the situation, beyond the fact that Palestinians are being persecuted, by virtue of the fact that he likens the conflict to the NI one.
    The man doesn’t know his arse from his elbow about it and it was written in 2009

    Your second link – pause for hollow laughter – who the blazes EVER took Seth Freedman’s opinions seriously, other than himself? For that reason this is a highly risible and equally suspect “proof” of the CiF’s sensitivity to the oppression of Palestinians by Hamas. Also written in 2009

    Third and fourth links – summed up in the lack of opportunity to comment, which makes them useless really to prove any points. Both written in 2009

    We are now in the year 2011 and your links were dated 2009. Could you really find only four articles condemning Hamas among the vast amount of anti-Israel (rather than pro-Palestinian) garbage in the Guardian or on CiF since that year?

    What exactly have you proven other than that you are either a very selective or thoroughly lousy researcher?

    • There are real parallels between Hamas and the IRA. Both are/were nationalist groups prepared to use extreme violence towards civilians; both have/had political wings having substantial support amongst their communities.
      The IRA negotiated, stopped the violence and accepted an agreement far short of their original demands, while retaining the long term goal of a united Ireland achieved through peaceful means.. There is every reason to believe that Hamas is prepared to make similar concessions. The British didn’t insist on any preconditions before negotiating. The Israelis want all the concessions before they even start talking, proving that they are not serious about a negotiated settlement.

      • sencar I note your ignorance of the process leading up to ‘The Good Friday’ Agreement is only exceeded by your ignorance on every other subject!
        Ground rules were agreed and laid down by the British and Irish Governments for participation by any party in the talks. These were/are known as the ‘Mitchell Principles’

        “To democratic and exclusively peaceful means of resolving political issues;
        To the total disarmament of all paramilitary organisations;
        To agree that such disarmament must be verifiable to the satisfaction of an independent commission;
        To renounce for themselves, and to oppose any effort by others, to use force, or threaten to use force, to influence the course or the outcome of all-party negotiations;
        To agree to abide by the terms of any agreement reached in all-party negotiations and to resort to democratic and exclusively peaceful methods in trying to alter any aspect of that outcome with which they may disagree; and,
        To urge that “punishment” killings and beatings stop and to take effective steps to prevent such actions”

        So to claim, as you did above, that ‘The British didn’t insist on any preconditions before negotiating’ is clearly wrong.

        • I’m afraid you have got it wrong, Gerald. The British government was in secret discussions with the IRA at least as early as 1994, and admitted this in November of that year. The Mitchel Principles weren’t even published until January 1996. Sinn Fein made encouraging noises about the Principles but some, particularly paramilitary disarmament (which was completed only in 2005) took years to put into effect. Meanwhile formal talks proceeded, culminating in the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998. The Principles were more like aspirations than preconditions.

          • sencar, I have not got it wrong and I stand by everything in my post above. In a feeble and transparent attempt to justify your original post you are mixing up several things, and misquoting others, without demonstrating any knowledge of the subject you are writing about.
            You are once again demonstrating that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and as I indicated above your ignorance about the subject of the peace process in the North of Ireland is only exceeded by your ignorance about every other subject.
            Before you come back with another load of guff you have ‘Googled’ off a website somewhere, I stand by my sources who are from both sides of the sectarian divide in the North of Ireland, Senator George Mitchell, and members of HMG and the Government of the Republic of Ireland. NONE of whom I consulted via a website or the internet.

            • errm – which part of my post are you disputing? The sources of my post are irrelevant unless you can show them to be inaccurate.

              • sencar, all of it.
                Now I won’t detain you any further as I know trying to get you to comprehend the concept of truth and independently verifiable evidence is the same as attempting to explain supersonic flight to a newt. A waste of time and space.
                More importantly while you are here we are depriving a village somewhere of your services as their very own idiot.

                • I don’t usually resort to abuse on this site, unlike your goodself. However has it occurred that you that your posts make you sound like a pompous ass?

      • About Peter Tatchell and the value of his opinion:

        Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has been accused of “stirring up antisemitic rhetoric” after he condemned a gay organisation for hosting a meeting in Israel.
        Mr Tatchell, a founding member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign,described the decision by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) to host its general assembly in Tel Aviv this December as “divisive, exclusionist, mistaken and regrettable”.

        His own words:

        In contrast, holding the IGLYO conference in Israel is likely to increase and inflame the already existing homophobia in the Arab world. LGBTI people will, rightly or wrongly, be seen as supporting Israel. This will further jeopardise the precarious plight of our LGBTI sisters and brothers in the Middle East. Is this what we want?

        His hate of israel is more important than his fight for LGBT rights – exactly your kind of moral gnome.

  3. The Guardian has only the devil knows how many correspondents, stringers, fixers etc – plenty to arrange trips to battery chicken factories, fishing trips. gastronomic tours (to ensure they all get to eat well on the Guardian dollar) and so on – but not enough to actually, you know, report on the nature of the regime in Gaza.

  4. Also curious is that this article is stripped of the usual anti-Israel / pro-Hamas hype one expects from the Guardian.

    Not curious at all – because it’s an Associated Press story.

  5. Did people notice that although the third link above in sencar’s post is about Hamas’ human rights crimes against its people, the author of the post just could not resist giving in to the Guardian obsession to point up the evil of Israel by the sort of “even-handedness” which is standard CiF procedure when it mentioned alleged Israeli war crimes, too? This in spite of the fact that nothing should detract from Hamas’ animal-like violence. (As a matter of interest, sencar, why do you think it is that CiF can be “even-handed” only when its beloved Hamas is under attack?) It also shoots its “condemnation” in the foot by offering those of us who actually believe that Hamas are a bunch of psychopathic thugs a little gift when it quotes one psychopath who is proud of aiming his rockets at Israeli civilians.

    And the headline of the article at the fourth link may mention the accusation of war crimes against Hamas but that’s about as far as it goes. Rory McGrath, hardly a dispassionate observer, blames Israel and Hamas in equal measure for the murder of its own people by Hamas!

    Incidentally, did you actually read that article sencar, or just the headline?
    Some researcher!

    Medusa has proven her points unless you can come up with something better than only four articles which show CiF/the Guardian even to be thinking about the barbarism of their pet project, Hamas, amongst the many from Hamas’ fellow travellers and its dubiously elected government officials to which they give column inches so that they can bleat about how “oppressed” the Palestinians are whilst at the same time they are perpetrating that oppression.

    Thanks, though, for posting, sencar. Each time you do so you give people the opportunity to tell the readers what is really going on.

  6. pretzelberg, Medusa knows that. If you read the article again, she questions why the Groan chose the AP story rather than the one from CNN, although she raises questions about that article too.

    • I was just pointing that out. The curious thing – as I said previously on another thread – is why we don’t see any investigative journalism from the G. on this story. That is a field the paper is otherwise known for worldwide, of course.

      • True, pretzelberg, but I think you will agree that good investigative journalism requires critical thinking skills and above all effort. Have you read Stephanie Guttman’s “The Other War”? In it she describes the woeful state of journalism in general: whereas before the computer age a journalist would get wind of a story, go to the scene and interview people and then file copy. His/her editor would approach the work critically and for the most part ethically.

        Now a “journalist” can get a story without even leaving the office. Often that story is derivative and merely reporting on what other people have reported with all the attendant cumulative error, and more often than not, when a “journalist” does go into the field he/she does so in order to get a story with a particular angle, dictated by the editor,which invariably skews the reporting.

        We see it day in day out in what the Guardian and other newspapers publish, as a result of which intelligent people rarely believe what they read. The “journalists” are either too damn lazy or too thick to realise that context is all-important, instead they go for impact.

        • The “journalists” are either too damn lazy or too thick to realise that context is all-important, instead they go for impact.

          Sadly all too true in so many cases. And the context factor was precisely what I had in mind re. Hamas and how Israel deals with them and Gaza.

  7. I suspect English isn’t your first language. Peter Tatchell, for example, comprehensively lambasts Hamas’ behaviour towards both Gazans and Israelis. He doesn’t need to say explicitly that “(it lacks) awareness of what might constitute “just” behaviour towards its own people””. That is implicit throughout his article.