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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Foreign reporters threatened on Twitter for reporting on Hamas rocket fire

On Wednesday night, I reported that foreign journalists have begun to quietly acknowledge that Hamas is using hospitals and mosques to store and fire rockets and is using the civilian population generally as human shields for its activities. Unsurprisingly, we now have word that some foreign journalists have been threatened for their reporting.
On Wednesday, Peter Stefanovic of Australia’s Channel Nine News tweeted: “Hamas rockets just launched over our hotel from a site about two hundred metres away. So a missile launch site is basically next door.”

An account called @ThisIsGaza said this was Stefanovic’s fourth time “passing and fabricating information to Israel... from GAZA” and threatened to sue him.

Another account, @longitude0 wrote: “You are a cretin. Are you working for the IDF” and “in WWII spies got shot.”

Financial Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief John Reed reported seeing “two rockets fired toward Israel from near al-Shifa hospital, even as more bombing victims were brought in.”

Shifa, in Gaza City, is the main medical facility in the Strip [and is where the Hamas leadership is hiding out. CiJ].

In response, @Saritah_91 tweeted: “We’ll hold you responsible if Israel uses your tweet to bomb the hospital & then justify it.”

Another twitter user, @ Faysal_FreeGaza, said he’s “subtly justifying and encouraging IDF attacks on hospitals,” and @Maysara_ ara wrote: “Get out of Gaza u informant.”


Harry Fear, a journalist from the UK reporting from Gaza for RT (formerly Russia Today) television, tweeted last week: “Early morning Gaza rockets were fired into Israel. A well-known site in W. Gaza City, near my hotel, was among the origins, confirm locals.”

Fear then took on the critics, tweeting soon after that he rejects “loaded complaints that I ‘informed’ Israel about the specifics of Gaza military sites... These sites are well-known among locals and internationals here.”

“Should a journalist only report the noise and ferocity of Israel’s attacks & not the sounds of Gaza’s rockets? Both terrify people,” he tweeted.

Later that day, Fear tweeted: “Al-Wafa hospital has been hit in the last while; injuries reported – this is the hospital with human shields.” 
While a Goldstone 2 is unlikely to be any less biased than the Goldstone Commission after Operation Cast Lead, these tweets should be filed away for future reference. If a future inquiry (there's already one in the making - more on that later) is biased against Israel, these tweets can be used to show that Israel acted justifiably. 

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