Harriet Sherwood and the ceasefire that never was.

Harriet Sherwood appeared to wake up rather late to the fact that one million Israeli civilians have been (and still are at the time of writing) under constant attack from missiles fired from Gaza since Monday afternoon, producing her first report on the subject on Wednesday morning

In both that report and the one she produced on June 21st, she seems to be trying to promote a rather curious concept. 

In her article from June 20th Sherwood states: 

“Hamas has largely adhered to a series of ceasefires since the three-week war in Gaza ended in January 2009, although it has not contained rocket fire from other militant groups, notably Islamic Jihad. Hamas was weakened by Israel’s military onslaught, known as Operation Cast Lead, and is reluctant to provoke another major confrontation with Israel.”

In her June 21st piece, she writes: 

“Hamas had earlier announced its militants had fired rockets into Israel for the first time for more than a year. It has largely adhered to previous ceasefires because it is unwilling to provoke Israel into a major military confrontation.”

So Sherwood would have us believe on the one hand that Hamas has ‘largely adhered’ (a strange concept in itself) to various ‘ceasefires’. On the other hand, Sherwood admits that Hamas has turned a deliberate blind eye to the activities of numerous other terror groups operating out of the Gaza Strip and so –as the residents of southern Israel know only too well – there actually was no real ceasefire at all

Hamas is the (albeit unelected) governing body in Gaza. It is responsible for everything that goes on in its territory, just as the British government would be responsible for preventing ‘militants’ in Dover from firing Grad missiles at Calais. And Sherwood must know this full well, because the opening paragraph of her June 21st piece states that: 

Hamas has said it will commit to a ceasefire after more than 100 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel in the past three days and eight Palestinians, including three teenagers, were killed in Israeli airstrikes.”

In other words, according to Sherwood’s patronizing approach, Hamas is ruler enough to broker a ceasefire, but not ruler enough to be expected to enforce it across the board. 

Equally patronizing –this time to her readers – is Sherwood’s euphemistic description of “eight Palestinians, including three teenagers” having been killed in Gaza. 

Among those killed in Gaza during the past week  are, (according to various Palestinian sources), Mohammed Bassam Abu Mueliq and Yousef Talbani (both 16) who were killed whilst handling an explosive device near the border fence between Gaza and Israel, 21-year-old Ghaleb Armilat (according to Hamas, a member of the Al Quds brigade of Islamic Jihad), Ismail Abu Ouda and Muhammed Shabat (both members of the Islamic Jihad en route to carrying out a terror attack), and Mahmoud Abdo Za’anin and Ibrahim Abdel Fattah (both members of Hamas ‘Defenders of Al Aqsa’, with the latter apparently belonging to its ‘youth brigade’). Hamas also claimed that a member of its Izz al Din al Qassam brigades named Jihad Abu Shabab (23) was killed.

Here are pictures of Abu Ouda and Shabat taken from the Islamic Jihad website (courtesy of Challah Hu Akbar). 

Ismael Abu Ouda

Ismael Abu Ouda

Muhammed Shabat

Muhamed Shabat

Abu Ouda & Shabat

And here is a video – released via Twitter by Hamas – of its Al Qassam Brigades firing ‘home-made’ rockets at what it describes as ‘military bases’. 


It really is hard to decide which is more patronising: Harriet Sherwood’s assignation of a childlike diminished responsibility to the rulers of the Gaza Strip or her apparent belief that her readers need to be shielded from the realities of an ongoing terror war through employment of delicate euphemisms.   

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