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Wed May 16, 2018, 05:10 PM

Falling for Hamas's Split-Screen Fallacy

A good analysis of Hamas propaganda tactics from an AP reporter who saw them first hand in Gaza.


At the end of 2008 I was a desk editor, a local Israeli hire in The Associated Press’s Jerusalem bureau, during the first serious round of violence in Gaza after Hamas took over the strip the year before. That war was a grim campaign similar to American efforts in Iraq, in which a modern military fought in crowded urban confines against fighters concealed among civilians. Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage not at Hamas but at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal.

Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from a story: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the war and never mentioned the manipulation.

Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terror group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.

The next step in the evolution of this tactic was visible in Monday’s awful events. If the most effective weapon in a military campaign is pictures of civilian casualties, Hamas seems to have concluded, there’s no need for a campaign at all. All you need to do is get people killed on camera. The way to do this in Gaza, in the absence of any Israeli soldiers inside the territory, is to try to get through the Israeli border, which everyone understands is defended with lethal force and is easy to film. About 40,000 people answered a call to show up. Many of them, some armed, rushed the fence. Many Israelis, myself included, were horrified to see the number of fatalities reach 60.
...
The attempts to breach the Gaza border, which Palestinians call the “March of Return,” began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yihyeh Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to “tear out the hearts” of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for. The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/opinion/hamas-israel-media-protests.html

29 replies, 1719 views

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply Falling for Hamas's Split-Screen Fallacy (Original post)
Fozzledick May 2018 OP
Turbineguy May 2018 #1
Me. May 2018 #2
hack89 May 2018 #4
Me. May 2018 #5
hack89 May 2018 #7
Me. May 2018 #8
hack89 May 2018 #9
Me. May 2018 #10
hack89 May 2018 #11
FBaggins May 2018 #12
Me. May 2018 #13
FBaggins May 2018 #14
Me. May 2018 #15
FBaggins May 2018 #16
Me. May 2018 #18
FBaggins May 2018 #19
Me. May 2018 #20
FBaggins May 2018 #21
MFM008 May 2018 #3
COLGATE4 May 2018 #6
FBaggins May 2018 #17
StinkyPete May 2018 #22
marble falls May 2018 #23
Fozzledick May 2018 #24
marble falls May 2018 #28
Fozzledick May 2018 #29
FBaggins May 2018 #25
Fozzledick May 2018 #26
FBaggins May 2018 #27

Response to Fozzledick (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 05:25 PM

1. Who would believe that

Hamas is so cynical?

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Response to Fozzledick (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 06:30 PM

2. There Is A Solution To The Picture

Don't kill

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Response to Me. (Reply #2)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:04 PM

4. Just let Hamas walk freely into Israel? Nt

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Response to hack89 (Reply #4)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:06 PM

5. So It's Bullets Or Nothing?

And let me just say that people who have nothing to lose have nothing to lose.

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Response to Me. (Reply #5)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:17 PM

7. Hamas could stop diverting foreign aid for weapons or tunnels

They could promise not to conduct terrorist attacks against Israel.

After all - there was a time when Palestinians worked freely in Israel. Before the bombings started.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #7)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:20 PM

8. Aaah, So Isreal Need Do Nothing

So innocent, blameless...OK. But we will see what we will see.

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Response to Me. (Reply #8)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:24 PM

9. Israel freely gave up Gaza and forcibly evicted Israeli settlers

Rockets were flying towards Israel within hours. Hamas does not want peace.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #9)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:27 PM

10. Like I Said

So innocent, so blameless

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Response to Me. (Reply #10)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:30 PM

11. No. They understand they are at war.

Wars are never pretty.

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Response to Me. (Reply #5)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:40 PM

12. Obviously not

Reports indicate about 60 dead and "thousands" wounded.

Do you think that the IDF are just really bad shots?

Also - If Hamas' goal is to get some casualties that they can sell to the rest of the world as Israeli excesses... what do you imagine the options are? "Protesters" rush the fence and you lob teargas or play loud music at them. Then what? They go away?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #12)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:52 PM

13. LOUD Music Can Be A Real Menace

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Response to Me. (Reply #13)

Wed May 16, 2018, 10:13 PM

14. You forget that Hamas' GOAL is for civilians to be hurt

Israel did something like this a decade or so ago. They would fly jets over the area at supersonic speeds.

Hamas accused them of using "sound bombs" and that they caused civilian women to miscarry.

But again... if there are dozens killed but thousands injured... it's hard to claim that there isn't quite a bit of non-lethal defense being used. They certainly aren't firing indiscriminately into crowds of innocent protesters.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #14)

Wed May 16, 2018, 10:33 PM

15. How Many Should They Not Kill & Wound

as a testament to their restraint

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Response to Me. (Reply #15)

Wed May 16, 2018, 10:46 PM

16. Restraint is an interesting word

Can you give ANY examples of it from the Hamas side that we can use for comparison? When some throw rocks or Molotov cocktails instead of grenades is it because they don't want to really hurt anyone? Or just that they don't have enough grenades?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #16)

Wed May 16, 2018, 10:58 PM

18. Why Would I

They are the guilty ones and Israel is completely blameless, innocent of anything.

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Response to Me. (Reply #18)

Wed May 16, 2018, 11:33 PM

19. Just to avoid the hypocrisy of Hamas being too obvious I suppose

It's pretty silly to try to hint that "if only Israel could restrain themselves" things would be different.

There have been uncounted teargas rounds and other non-lethal methods used. It obviously doesn't keep the violence from occurring. It's clear that only one side WANTS people to die. "Restraint" has no effect at all in an environment where one side needs dead bodies to show up on the news and will escalate until it gets some (or outright manufacture them themselves).

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #19)

Thu May 17, 2018, 08:19 AM

20. What Is 'Silly' Is Trying To Justify Killing Unarmed People

EOM

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Response to Me. (Reply #20)

Thu May 17, 2018, 09:40 AM

21. I guess we can keep that in mind...

... if it ever happens

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Response to Fozzledick (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 06:45 PM

3. Thats a real plan

Get yourself killed in front of a camera.
It only works one time.
I guess you better hope it goes viral...

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Response to MFM008 (Reply #3)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:07 PM

6. Don't forget that you'll become a "blessed martyr", ready to

reap your reward of 77 virgins when you enter Paradise, while your family assuages their grief at your death with the honor of having a genuine martyr in the family, along with the $3,500 monthly stipend Hamas pays each such lucky family.

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Response to MFM008 (Reply #3)

Wed May 16, 2018, 10:51 PM

17. What do you mean "it only works one time"?

I've seen plenty of videos where the "body" rises from the dead once off camera.

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Response to Fozzledick (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2018, 07:29 AM

22. Hamas claims 50 of its members died in Monday's clashes in Gaza

Hamas claims 50 of its members died in Monday's clashes in Gaza
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/middleeast/hamas-members-gaza-deaths/index.html

This was big news for about 48 hours. Now silence.
Once news broke that the Israelis weren't slaughtering innocent protesters, the media lost interest in this story.
Now go figure.




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Response to StinkyPete (Reply #22)

Fri May 18, 2018, 07:50 AM

23. What do you figure about the other 1,000 plus shot, sherlock?

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Response to marble falls (Reply #23)

Fri May 18, 2018, 12:36 PM

24. They weren't the ones shooting guns and throwing grenades at the Israeli border guards.

They were the ones the armed Hamas terrorists used as human shields to hide behind when they attacked.

Elementary, my dear Moriarty!

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Response to Fozzledick (Reply #24)

Fri May 18, 2018, 03:42 PM

28. What do you make of the IDF snipers picking off medics clearly marked with red cresents and ....

the reporters who were targeted?

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Response to marble falls (Reply #28)

Fri May 18, 2018, 03:59 PM

29. Dubious. Hamas and their supporters lie a lot.

Then again, Hamas has been repeatedly caught disguising terrorists as medics, and it's not unusual for reporters embedded in military units to get caught in the crossfire.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #23)

Fri May 18, 2018, 12:42 PM

25. The reported fatality figure was about 60

If Hamas admits that 85% of them were Hamas... on what basis do you claim "1,000-plus shot" and (more importantly) on what basis (assuming 1000+ were shot) would you believe that the proportion of that number who were Hamas was not similarly high?

Are Hamas members just more fragile than other Gaza residents and thus more likely to perish when shot?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #25)

Fri May 18, 2018, 01:28 PM

26. The preponderance of lower leg injuries shows the Israelis were firing low in front of the mob

to defensively break their charge, not shooting wantonly or targeting individuals to kill unless they saw someone armed and firing at them.

It's no surprise that the armed terrorists hiding in the crowd were all Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

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Response to Fozzledick (Reply #26)

Fri May 18, 2018, 02:27 PM

27. I wouldn't say so. I think they were aimed shots

They're obviously not "shooting wantonly", but I don't think these are warning shots in front of the crowd that just might hit some of them in the legs. I think they're aimed shots that are intended to disable rather than kill.

Obviously, the stats come from Hamas - and are thus suspect. But to have thousands injured and only dozens killed means that the IDF is going out of their way to avoid fatalities. To have such a high percentage of those few killed admitted as terrorists seriously harms Hamas' case.

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