Two mainstream foreign news networks uploaded videos yesterday showing that Hamas fired rockets into Israel near reporters from civilian areas. In one case the launch site is within eyesight of a United Nations facility.
France 24 correspondent Gallagher Fenwick was startled last week by a rocket launched only meters away from where he was reporting. He went back afterwards to investigate and reported on what he found in the area where his FRANCE 24 camera crew had a close call, “This type of setup is at the heart of the debate. The Israeli army has repeatedly accused the Palestinian militants of shooting from within densely populated civilian areas and that is precisely the type of setup we have here.” Fenwick also noted that one of the buildings visible from the rocket launch site was flying a United Nations flag.
In another report, Jain Sreenivasan of India’s NDTV documented what were clearly Hamas or Islamic Jihad militants preparing a hidden launch site outside the hotel in which foreign press were staying:
The next morning – today – we woke to news of the 72-hour ceasefire but just before it was to take effect, the rocket next to our hotel was fired. There was a loud explosion and a whooshing sound. The cloud of smoke that rose was captured by our cameraperson.
This report is being aired on NDTV and published on ndtv.com after our team left the Gaza strip – Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired. But just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel’s offensive on Gaza’s civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones.
NDTV’s prudence in waiting to publish its report until after its news team left Gaza is well-founded. Hamas has reportedly forced reporters to remove tweets that implicated Hamas in its use of human shields. Hamas has also threatened reporters who expose their abuse of civilians and other war crimes.
[Photo: France 24 English / YouTube ]