Peter Beaumont in Gaza: 20 articles, 18,800 words & not one report on Hamas human shields

The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont was interviewed by Anshel Pfeffer of Ha’aretz  about the tragic killing of four Palestinian children on the Gaza Beach yesterday.

(Though the IDF is still investigating the incident, it appears as if one of the missiles which hit the beach was fired on a Hamas target, while the second one was mistakenly fired on what was believed to be a group of Hamas members fleeing the scene, but were actually Palestinian children.)

The beach harbor is a civilian area with a hotel nearby (The Al-Deira) where many foreign journalists (including Beaumont) have been staying during the war. Washington Post reporter William Booth’s report about the incident noted that “it is not unusual for militants to launch rockets from sites” near the hotel. 

More recently, in a Guardian article published today, July 17th, Beaumont himself even noted that the shipping container on the beach which was hit by the IDF in the attack which caused the boys’ deaths had been used by Hamas:

A witness who identified himself only as Abu Ahmed said the boys had been scavenging for scrap metal when the first shell hit a nearby shipping container used in the past by Hamas security forces.

This passage is actually quite unique, as it represents the first time Beaumont has acknowledged (though only implicitly) this widely reported tactic (acknowledged by Hams leaders themselves) of using civilians as human shields. This tactic involves Hamas purposely placing combatants and military facilities used to stage attacks on Israel in areas populated by civilians (such as mosques, schools, hospitals, etc.) and telling Palestinians to “remain in their houses if they are about to be bombed” when warned by the IDF in advance of an attack.

In 20 reports (and over 18,886 words) filed by Beaumont since the start of hostilities on July 8th (see links at the end of this post), most of which highlighted (often in heartbreaking detail) civilian casualties in Gaza, he has never contextualized his accounts of Palestinian deaths by informing readers about Hamas’s cynical use of this illegal tactic.  

He not only hasn’t filed a report on the use of human shields (a war crime under international law), but there are actually only four references to the term (in any context) in his 20 reports, two passages which simply quote Israeli officials who “claim” that Hamas uses this tactic, and two additional references which blandly characterize the independent actions of Palestinian activists.

First, Beaumont used the following sentences in two separate articles:

Israel has said it is acting in self-defence against rockets that have disrupted life across much of the country. It also accuses Hamas of using Gaza’s civilians as human shields

In two other articles, Beaumont used the term to dryly describe the actions of Palestinians, without even suggesting that this tactic is used and actively encouraged by Hamas.

Early on Wednesday morning, Israel dropped leaflets and delivered warnings by phone and text that tens of thousands of residents of two Gaza City neighbourhoods, Zeitoun in the south and Shujai’iya in the east, should evacuate their homes before planned strikes and head to the city centre. Among those ordered to leave were the patients of a rehabilitation hospital. But the hospital’s director, Basman Ashi, said everyone would remain and that foreign volunteers had arrived to serve as human shields.

In the most serious single incident, seven Palestinians including two children were killed and about 25 wounded in an attack on a house in the Khan Younis area in south Gaza. Residents said the house belonged to the family of a Hamas member and the casualties occurred when the property came under attack for the second time. After the first strike people had gathered on the roof of the house as “human shields“, hoping their presence would deter a second strike, the residents said. The Israeli military made no immediate comment about the incident.

In one article, Beaumont actually seems to dismiss the Israeli ‘claim’ that Hamas uses human shields:

For its part Israel has long alleged that the militants “hide” among the civilian population, but what is clear is that targets have included homes and public streets as well as missile sites and buildings associated with Hamas.

As Jeffrey Goldberg argued early in the war:

Dead Palestinians represent a crucial propaganda victory for the nihilists of Hamas. It is perverse, but true. It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas’s behavior, because Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here.

This propaganda strategy, however, is dependent on Western media groups playing along, not only by highlighting every tragic Palestinian civilian death, but by also pretending that such casualties are not in fact the result of Hamas’s cynical strategy of using human shields and other tactics meant to maximize the number of casualties.

Among the most active participants in Hamas’s scheme to fool the West is Peter Beaumont.

 Links to all of Beaumont’s articles referenced in this post:

38 replies »

    • “the second one was mistakenly fired on what was believed to be Hamas members fleeing the scene.”

      How can an IDF soldier think that four panicked ten-year-old children are militants? .

      • In certain circumstances Israelis can and do make mistakes. There was some analysis over the tragic deaths of these boys on the new TV station broadcasting in English, French and Arabic called i24 last night in which it was stated that it is much harder to identify persons when firing from the sea, than it is from the air. Therefore this was a tragic error and not wilful killing of children. That seems to me and should be to most of us a plausible explanation.

      • Because from a position on a boat, you cannot go and count the teeth of the people that where fleeing. Do you really think that an IDF soldier knew he was firing at children? It is all part of the fog of war. There is no reason for Israel to want civilian casualties.
        Hamas is not stupid. They know that they cannot inflict significant damage on Israel.
        What do you think their military strategy is ??
        The only strategy that makes any sense is the dead baby strategy. Create the situation where many in your population are being killed. Publicize it to the world and let world opinion force Israel into making concessions. With the concessions, Hamas would rightfully be able to claim victory. That is what is happening. If Israel does give in, it will only be setting up the next war.

        We all knew that at some point it would come down to this. Israel was going to get blamed. While Hamas celebrates the death of the four children (whether they were killed by an Israeli shell or not), and Israel mourns the death of the the four children, the ancient blood libels against Jews are morphing into the modern ones, and many in the world are only too happy to broadcast them.


  1. Reading Beaumont’s Twitter account is like stepping into an alternate reality. Nothing that could possibly redound to Israel’s credit is included. Thus, he retweets this:

    “Israel tank fire kills 3 in Gaza, shortly ahead of temporary humanitarian ceasefire”

    But he says absolutely nothing about the rockets that were fired at Israel ahead of the ceasefire or the attempted attack on the kibbutz that was foiled by Israel.

  2. Beaumont and others like him make no pretense of being journalists. They have a clear anti-Israeli bias, and they act as mouthpieces for the terrorists, whose atrocities they ignore or even commend, as Seamus Milne has just done in his recent article.

    For example, he reiterates the absurdity that Gaza is “occupied” and therefore “resistance” (aka – rocketing Israeli civilians) is justified.

    The idea that Israel is defending itself against unprovoked attacks from outside its borders is an absurdity. Despite Israel’s withdrawal of settlements and bases in 2005, Gaza remains occupied both in reality and international law, its border, coastal waters, resources, airspace and power supply controlled by Israel.<\blockquote

    By the same token, I suppose, Egypt is also "occupying" Gaza. And they do not even supply food, medicine, electricity, or fuel to the Gazans.

  3. Ooops

    The idea that Israel is defending itself against unprovoked attacks from outside its borders is an absurdity. Despite Israel’s withdrawal of settlements and bases in 2005, Gaza remains occupied both in reality and international law, its border, coastal waters, resources, airspace and power supply controlled by Israel.

    By the same token, I suppose, Egypt is also “occupying” Gaza. And they do not even supply food, medicine, electricity, or fuel to the Gazans.

  4. Well, something is messing up here. This is mine, not Milne’s:

    By the same token, I suppose, Egypt is also “occupying” Gaza. And they do not even supply food, medicine, electricity, or fuel to the Gazans.

    • I wondered why the italics were still on, but understood the final thought to be yours.
      I’m sure aside from the absurdities of Milne’s rants he would never allow himself to acknowledge Israel’s humanitarian acts toward a sworn enemy. It would probably melt what’s left of his brain.

  5. The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) expects its members to stick to a code of ethics that include; ‘Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.’

    I guess Peter Beaumont’s reports are the nearest thing to a single finger to any code of ethics related to his job as a ‘professional journalist’.

  6. He must earn his merits under the supervision of Stalinist Milne, defend terror, denounce western values.

      • James,
        I’m sure you must ask yourself one hundred times a day why Israel would constantly make war on these endearingly peaceful people. Perhaps ask your doctor.

      • Than you agree that while Israeli will keep running for shelter while nigotiating for peace with Hamas (lol) israel in that time can retaliate.

    • “I guess it is Israel interest to see its citizents continue to run for shelters few time a day ?”
      You’re forgetting that if the media doesn’t cover it, it’s couldn’t possibly be happening.

  7. “Peter Beaumont in Gaza: 20 articles, 18,800 words & not one report on Hamas human shields”
    aka Guardian war propaganda effort is in full swing.

    Baby Killers of Hamas
    July 17, 2014

    Every year the kindergartens of Gaza graduate a new class of children dressed like terrorists and suicide bombers. There are child sized coffins decorated with the flags of Islamic terrorist groups and colorful balloons.

    A teacher explained that, “In every year’s kindergarten graduation ceremonies we focus on the children to represent the role of struggling and resistance in the way of Allah.”

    One child spoke of wanting to blow himself and kill the most Jews. The article boasted that the children were “hoping to be volunteers in the future.”

    Some don’t wait that long.

    Abdullah Quran was only twelve years old when he was found with a bomb in his bag, but the indoctrination of children begins much earlier. Children’s magazines and television shows encourage them to kill and die using everything from songs to costumed characters. On Pioneers of Tomorrow, the children are urged to grow up to kill Jews. “All of them?” a little girl isprompted. “Yes” is the reply.

    Hamas does not just turn children into killers; it also uses them as human shields. Hamas has encouraged Gaza families to act as human shields. It was caught launching rockets near a school.

    The Hamas Interior Minister had said that, “For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry… This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen.”

    When a Hamas spokesman encouraged the use of human shields, he cited the case of NizarRiyyan, a Hamas leader who deliberately surrounded himself with his own children when he knew that an attack was coming and asked other family members if they would like to die as martyrs with him.

    But Hamas, like the PLO and Islamic jihad, doesn’t just use its own children as cannon fodder.

    It sets out to kill Jewish children.

    A Hamas terrorist attack on a Jerusalem Sbarropizzeria filled with women and children killed seven children, including an8-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy. Many other children were wounded. A three-year-old girl was lifted up by the explosion and landed on broken glass.

    “There were people – babies – thrown through the window and covered with blood,” an eyewitness described the horrifying scene.

    A New Yorker described, “Wading through bodies, including the bodies of children.”

    “The worst thing I saw, which I think will haunt me all my life, is a baby that was sitting in a stroller outside a shop and was dead,” another eyewitness related.“After the explosion, the baby’s mother came out of the store and started screaming hysterically.”

    One of the Hamas terrorists involved in the attack described her reaction and the Muslim reaction.

    “While I was on the bus and everybody was congratulating one another, they said on the radio that there had been a martyrdom attack at the Sbarro restaurant, and that three people were killed. I admit that I was a bit disappointed, because I had hoped for a larger toll. Yet when they said ‘three dead,’ I said: ‘Allah be praised.’”

    “Two minutes later, they said on the radio that the number had increased to five. I wanted to hide my smile, but I just couldn’t. Allah be praised, it was great. As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding.”

    Another of the Hamas terrorists involved in the attack said, “We have to send them a message that their children are not safe.”

    The father of the Hamas suicide bomber, who came from a wealthy family, explained his motive. “We have to get rid of the Jews.”

    Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the religious leader of the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas and Al Qaeda, had said, “Suicide attacks represent the highest level of martyrdom, because there are no civilians in Israel.”

    “We have the children bomb and these human bombs must continue until liberation.”

    Sheikh Rashid Ghannouchi, of Tunisia’s equally moderate Islamist Ennahda Movement, said, “There are no civilians in Israel. The population—males, females and children—are the army reserve soldiers, and thus can be killed.”

    Ennahda’s takeover of Tunisia has been described as the only “true success” of the Arab Spring.

    Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the religious leader of Hamas, had said, “There are no civilians in Israel, they are all military, all occupiers.”

    Ismail Abu Shanab, one of the founders of Hamas, often described by the media as the most moderate Hamas leader, echoed the old monster, “There are no civilians in Israel.”

    Article Seven of the Hamas Charter had already made it clear that the climax of its religious war would come with the complete extermination of all Jews.

    That meant, as RachidGhannouchi had said, the extermination of men, women… and children.

    Hamas uses its own children as human shields and cannon fodder. And it seeks to kill as many Jewish children as possible.

    When Israelis accidentally kill Muslim children during a war, the country is traumatized. When Muslims kill Jewish children, they celebrate, like the passengers who applauded every time they heard another report of murdered Jewish children come in over the radio.

    The Sbarro attack continues to be celebrated and commemorated by Hamas because the murder of children embodies its Islamic religious values.

    ShaykhIbnUthaymins, one of the leading Islamic religious figures in Saudi Arabia, explained why women and children should be killed. “What is apparent is that it is allowed for us to kill their women and children, even if that were to cause us to miss taking them as wealth (slaves), due to its breaking the hearts of the enemy.”

    “I f we don’t kill them, this is a humiliation for us,” the Islamic cleric added.“The honor of the Muslims is more important than wealth.”

    This fatwa was quoted by Anwar Al-Awlaki, the leading propagandist of Al Qaeda.

    For Hamas, as for Al Qaeda and BokoHaram and countless other Islamic terrorist groups, dead children are a source of pride. They fill their own children up with a culture of death and they celebrate when the children of non-Muslims are murdered by their children.

    A death cult rules over Gaza. It wants the death of children on both sides and it is responsible for the deaths of children on both sides.

  9. There is nothing any international law about disproportionate acts. Sorry but you do not get to rewrite the laws on warfare.

    The only way it could be disproportionate is if it was more than necessary to stop the first war crime. The rockets are not stopping so Israel is not using anywhere near enough force