Indy’s former Jerusalem reporter: Gaza tunnels are a testament to Palestinian “hard work and ingenuity”

Written by Richard Millett

Last night at SOAS in London another journalist came to the rescue of Israelis when Donald Macintyre  – contributor to the Guardian and The Independent’s former Jerusalem correspondent – said he wanted his new book Gaza: Preparing for Dawn to be translated into Hebrew. He said that while Israeli intelligence has a good idea about the situation in Gaza “the Israeli public” didn’t which was made worse by Israeli journalists being banned from Gaza in 2006.

This reminds me of Tariq Ali’s “The end of Israel would benefit all Israelis.” Thank goodness for these wise men who can help the Israeli people!

Maybe Macintyre is unaware that Israelis have access to the internet and even have TV and radio.

He was speaking to the London Middle East Institute as well as the Centre for Palestine Studies, which are both based at SOAS.

He said his book was written to “challenge the myths” about Gaza. For example, that Arafat got a good deal at Camp David and that Israel had left Gaza in 2005 (because it still retains control over Gaza’s airspace and waters).

Another “myth” was that “the settlers’ installations had been destroyed by the Palestinians” after Israel withdrew. Macintrye said that there had been some looting but that it was “quickly brought under control” and there had been a successful harvest that year.

However, he said, only 4% of the harvest was able to leave Gaza with the remainder rotting or being sold on Gaza’s markets “at knock down prices”.

Macintyre said that Hamas were “a relatively pragmatic Islamist regime”. He also said that the conditions imposed on Hamas after their election win in 2005 were impossible for Hamas because they would overturn their “raison d’etre”.

He didn’t tell us what this “raison d’etre” was but judging by the wording in their 1988 Charter Hamas’ “raison d’etre” is to murder Jews and annihilate Israel.

But Macintyre only has sympathy for Hamas. He said that while there was “brutality on both sides” during the civil war between Hamas and Fatah “Hamas thought they were going to become victims of a coup which was a big factor in the ruthless way they took over.”

During the Q&A I asked Macintyre whether he thought Gazans were honest when he interviewed them for his book especially considering the brutality he had just described.

Macintyre replied that “Gaza is not a police state”, “people criticise Hamas like they criticise any local government”, “Hamas are not ISIS”, that the small Christian community is “protected” and Hamas’ Mahmoud Zahar meets the Christians there.

As for the Palestinians generally Macintrye said that their building of tunnels was “testament to their hard work and ingenuity” (so “ingenious” that many children die building them, something Macintyre didn’t mention).

Macintyre also took issue with a 2005 apparent change in the IDF’s military ethos which, he claimed, prioritised the lives of Israeli soldiers over Palestinian civilians pursuant to an article by Asa Kasher and Amos Yadlin.

During the Q&A Jonathan Hoffman challenged Macintyre on this. Jonathan, citing Colonel Richard Kemp, said that during Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009 the ratio of Palestinian civilian to combatant casualties was approximately 1:1 which is “the lowest ever” and that Israel won’t attack if it sees Palestinian civilians in the line of fire.

Macintyre immediately tried to knock this statistic down by claiming that B’Tselem and the UN has different figures, but he showed that he really has no interest in proper discussion about civilian casualties during war when he simply blurted out that 1:1 is “still a hell of a lot of casualties.”

The manner in which Macintyre almost beautifies Hamas is vile and sickening, but one has to ask how his book about Gaza can be trusted when the book’s interviewees know that dissent could lead to Hamas-style justice: summary execution.

Editor’s Note:

On Jan. 28th, we amended the headline, replacing the word “Hamas” with “Gaza”, after Mr. Macintyre clarified to us that he was referring to “the commercial smuggling tunnels which flourished under the Gaza border largely between 2008 and 2015”. However, the point is a narrow one, as the tunnels in question were encouraged and taxed by Hamas, used for both consumer goods and military materials, and generally seen as part of the “resistance”.

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42 replies »

  1. Presumably Macintyre would argue that the conversion of basements at concentration camps into gas chambers equally showed the German’ hard work & ingenuity.

  2. I just have to love these self-appointed ‘experts’ that tell us to believe them and ignore our lying eyes and ears. So ‘educational’ and ‘interesting’

  3. There’s a rumor– not a myth– going around that Western journalists who work out of Jerusalem don’t even know that they happen to be reporting from the capital of the nation of Israel.

    There’s another rumor making the rounds. This one is about snooty British journos who are still mad at the Yids for the King David Hotel bombing.

    As for myths, the idea that the British Empire created nation-states from land inherited after World War I for the good of the people who live on the land, is one.

    • Add another rumour – that some of some of the journalists’ reports “from Gaza” are written from hotel rooms in Jerusalem.

  4. The V-2 rockets which landed on the UK were a testament to the hard work and ingenuity of the German people.

  5. I find the photo on the cover of MacIntyre’s book very appropriate – that is, all those children.

    Gazans have one of the highest birth rates on the planet. They also have excellent healthcare thanks to UN funded hospitals. Therefore, they have a combination of high birth rates and very low infant mortality. The net result is an explosive population growth and which inevitably leads to poverty and extremism.

    It seems to me if these people would lower their reproduction rates just a wee bit perhaps there wouldn’t be such poverty and misery in Gaza.

    Not everything can be blamed on the Jews.

    • You must not be a leftist – according to them everything in the entire world can be blamed on the JOOOOOSSSS! or because they left

    • Oh but everything can be blamed on the Jews! Otherwise why be a Palo?
      And so what if they are knocking out loads of kids – the vile kuffar is there to pick up the tab, isn’t he?

  6. Donald Macintyre here. I normally ignore the grotesque distortions perpetrated in UK Media Watch in the interests of “fair and accurate reporting” and I shall continue to so in future. However just this once I would point out that the much tweeted headline over the account by Richard Millet of my talk at SOAS is clearly defamatory as well as untrue, It is, to be fair, not even justified by the copy, woefully misleading as that is.(And if Mr Millet wants to get in touch with me, I will point out the ways in which that is so) It was absolutely clear at the time that I was not speaking about Hamas tunnels but about the commercial smuggling tunnels which flourished under the Gaza border largely between 2008 and 2015. I look forward to this headline being corrected.

    • Dear Mr Macintyre, if as you claim the account posted on this site is ‘defamatory as well as untrue.’ Then why not take the opportunity to clarify or reply to the account of the meeting given by Richard Millet?
      I find it hard to understand why you write, “It is, to be fair, not even justified by the copy, woefully misleading as that is.(And if Mr Millet wants to get in touch with me, I will point out the ways in which that is so)” why not take, or at least ask for, the opportunity to reply to the account of the meeting so that everyone who visits this site and reads the account will be aware of why you are unhappy?

    • If you contest the account of the contents or the intention of your talk please post a video of the proceedings if you have one or a transcript of what was said.

      Let us judge for ourselves if the headline is defamatory or not.

    • Donald Macintyre claims that the admiration he expressed was not directed the Hamas attack tunnels but st the commercial smuggling tunnels.

      His years in Israel were wasted if he does not know that tunnels to smuggle in food and to communicate and save the hunted were built under the Warsaw Ghetto by Jews confined there simply for being Jews so that his admiration properly belongs to those beleaguered souls

    • Do you honestly believe that these “commercial smuggling tunnels” were only used to bring in consumer goods?

      They also smuggled in weapons and provided possible venues for Hamas to attack Israel.

      They served a duel purpose.

      Sorry Mr. MacIntyre, you lost this argument.

    • Mr. Macintyre, after considering your concerns, I decided, for the sake of clarity, to change the word “Hamas” to “Gaza” in the headline.

      Further, I added the following editor’s note below the post:

      On Jan. 28th, we amended the headline, replacing the word “Hamas” with “Gaza”, after Mr. Macintyre clarified to us that he was narrowly referring to “the commercial smuggling tunnels which flourished under the Gaza border largely between 2008 and 2015”. However, the point is a narrow one, as the tunnels in question were encouraged and taxed by Hamas, used for both consumer goods and military materials, and generally seen as part of the “resistance”.

      I’ll make a similar note on Twitter, as a reply to our original tweet for the post.

      • How courteous of you Adam Levick to ignore Donald Macintyre’s bad judgement and worse taste in referring to “grotesque distortions perpetrated in UK Media Watch” which he naturally could not substantiate

  7. I’ll consider it when the headline is changed. And when commenters on this website are willing to identify themselves publicly as I–and in fairness–Mr Millett, to whom i have offered to explain my concerns, have done.

    • “I’ll consider it when the headline is changed.”
      Really Mr. Macintyre you sound rather like a toddler who will only eat his greens IF he can have a double helping of ice cream first.
      I fail to see the relevance of whether commenters on this website identify themselves publicly or not. How does that affect your ability to correct an account of your talk that you claim is “clearly defamatory as well as untrue” ?

      • One more thing that is puzzling me, Mr. Macintyre.
        Why would a journalist who has served as a correspondent in Jerusalem for a few years post a request for action on a Saturday afternoon?

    • Speaking as a Zionist who continues to defend the Oslo Accords on this message board (and other places), I find it would be helpful if Western Media would actually identify the real issues and help people solve problems rather than quote every unnamed Palestinian source who accuses Israel of just about every nefarious action one can think of.

      Seeing as how I do not know why you side with Arafat’s rejection of all of Gaza, 97% of West Bank with the remainder land mass exchanged for from proper Israel, and money to refugees, I suppose you can speak now and let us know. Granted, I am anonymous, but I am also not holding a gun to your head, or blowing up a pizza joint, so to speak.

      All the same, welcome aboard the good ship UK Media Watch!

        • Come to think of it, only Palestinians, their backers, and hard line losers like Leah hated the Oslo Accords. The rest of us saw a chance for peace.

          Strange bedfellows.

          • You’re misrepresenting her comment. She is speaking of the outcome, not how it was regarded at the time. It has not worked well at all.

            • Who are the people who stood up against Oslo, Leah? There was Yasser Arafat who felt Israel wasn’t giving away enough, and then there was Yigal Amir who said that Israel was giving away too much.

              And you? Why, Leah, you repeatedly bark in the dark and howl at the moon. Over liberals who believe in multiculturalism. declaring that seeking peace is akin to assisting the enemy. Oh, and that my previous leader is some of super secret Muslim. All the while, of course, you get down and your knees and pray for Donald J Trump, Russian pawn (and piss guzzler– allegedly).

              Nothing sad and loser about that, Toots.

              • I have never suggested that Obama is any sort of Muslim.
                I don’t worship Trump.
                I have never suggested that seeking peace is akin to assisting the enemy.
                You are a disgusting liar, a sick schmuck, and a shitstain on humanity.

                • Weird how you spend all this time whining about American Liberal Jews, and then you stomp your foot and declare that you would NEVER do such a thing.

                  And Oslo was a complete failure, right? And Obama loved hate Israel, correct? But you’re sweet and innocent. You are being misjudged. You are being mischaracterized.

                  Well, Leah, you now sound like our favorite little Nazi, MFer. And Stephen, of course. What with all your victimization based on your own character.

                  Petty little Leah. Everyone must listen to her……

                  Meanwhile, all this war talk has really done wonders for the planet. We’re in the 15th year of war in Afghanistan. Who supports that, Chica? Right wing nationalists? Republicans? Anti-Obama bastagaes?

                  At least take pride in your determined batshittery. Don’t change the story now that Trump has embarrassed you. The previous 365 days seems to have gone by without an anti-Trump peep from your hyperactive tuchus.

                  Jeff, come take your wife. She’s had a lot to drink.

                • Poor Leah, the Eternal Victim. Plops her fat behind down on a thread not addressed to her in the least bit, only to double down on digging her grave. Determined to prove to the world that she’s a hag with a heart. Hates those Muslims, can’t stand Democrats, blames all Left wingers for just about anything her petty, pinhead can wrap itself around, AND THEN declares that she is being misjudged by an OVERTLY AGGRESSIVE LIAR, dontyouknow. A TRUE SHITSTAIN on humanity.

                  Leah, the squawking nutbag, demands respect. Film at 11.

                • jeff21st if I might interject here.
                  If there is any justice the late and unlamented Yasser Arafat is currently, and for perpetuity, ‘feeling’ pain. He is residing in the Outer and Inner Rings of the Seventh Circle of Hell, “a desert of burning sand and burning rain falling from the sky.”

    • Mr. Macintyre,

      Our headline has been amended and an editor’s note added – for the sake of accuracy. But, as I wrote, the distinction is a narrow one, and we’ve read enough of your work over the years to see where your sympathies lie.

      Moreover, I find it telling that you provide no actual examples of “grotesque distortions perpetrated in UK Media Watch”.

      In fact, our work to date in holding the media accountable to their own editorial standards (and the accuracy clause of the editors’ code) speaks for itself, in the form of dozens of corrections we prompt every year at UK news sites such as The Guardian, Independent, Telegraph and Times of London – following communication with editors.

      See specific examples here

      Adam Levick

  8. Macintyre writes ” I normally ignore the grotesque distortions perpetrated in UK Media Watch”, that is funny coming from a writer of the Independent which lies 24/7.