Robert Fisk promotes libel that Israel deliberately kills Palestinian journalists

Fisk falsely suggests that Israel intentionally murders Palestinian journalists to prevent them from reporting the truth about Gaza. In fact, the IDF operates with the knowledge that Palestinian terrorists have, at times, posed as journalists in order to attack Israelis, and that this tactic was used frequently by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge - an intentional blurring of civilians with combatants that Israeli soldiers protecting the border must carefully navigate during the weekly riots.

We’ve posted repeatedly about the egregious distortions and outright lies about Israel peddled by Robert Fisk, the Independent’s veteran Middle East correspondent, and, before pivoting to his latest piece, here’s a very brief summary of his ‘greatest hits’:

  • He claimed that Israel dragged the West into the Syrian Civil War.
  • He claimed the Obama administration’s impending 2013 attack on Syria – later aborted – following a chemical attack on civilians was not motivated by the desire to dissuade Assad from further such attacks, but, rather, was an operation based solely on Israeli interests.
  • He somehow managed to blame Israel in part for the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US forces.
  • He falsely claimed that former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin characterised Palestinians as “two-legged animals”.
  • He suggested the British government should be just as worried about British Jews who fought in the IDF and then returned to the UK as they are about returning ISIS terrorists.
  • He characterised Shimon Peres – arguably the Israeli most associated with the quest for peace – shortly after his passing as a man of “blood” and “slaughter”.
  • He peddled the antisemitic ‘dual loyalty’ card by suggesting that President Clinton’s Mid-East peace advisers (such as Dennis Ross and Aaron David Miller) couldn’t be trusted to act in the best interest of the US because they were Jewish.
  • He personally apologised to Palestinians for the Balfour Declaration.

His latest Indy column makes use of another anti-Israel trick in his arsenal – selective omissions which serve to advance the desired pro-Palestinian narrative.  The piece focuses on Time magazine’s person of the year front award going to Jamal Khashoggi and the other journalist “guardians” who have “taken great risks in pursuit of greater truths”.

Fisk drags Israel into the story by the fourth paragraph:

Of course, I did look at Time’s list of names to see if Yasser Murtaja, the brave Palestinian cameraman shot dead by an Israeli sniper in April, made it to their hall of honour. He was hailed by The Nation magazine. Like Khashoggi, he gave his life for telling – or in his case, filming –  the truth, the Palestinian protests at the Gaza border. But maybe he wasn’t filming a truth which Americans or Time magazine are ready to accept, or to talk too much about without becoming “controversial”: the oppression of the people of Gaza.

Whilst Fisk’s suggestion that the MSM is reluctant to report on ‘the oppression of the people of Gaza’ is patently absurd, even more troubling is his failure to even acknowledge questions raised concerning whether Murtaja was truly a journalist.

According to Israeli intelligence, Martaja devoted a good measure of his life to another pursuit, one that diverges quite radically from the ‘pursuit of the truth’. Here’s the relevant information from a report at Meir Amit Terrorism and Information Center.

According to Israeli security sources, press photographer Yasser Murtaja was a Hamas operative. According to the same sources, he served for years as an officer with the rank of captain in the Hamas security services in the Gaza Strip. The same sources added, based on information that they possess, that he was an operative who was active in the security services on a daily basis and greatly assisted them in their activity. The same security sources added that in March 2015, Murtaja attempted to bring a drone from Israel to the Gaza Strip to collect preliminary intelligence before operations by the Hamas security services. Of late, Yasser Murtaja continued to work with senior Hamas internal security officials in the Gaza Strip, many of whom made condolence calls at his family’s home.

Senior Hamas police officials in the Gaza Strip, headed by Police Commissioner Taysir al-Batsh (right), making a condolence call (Gaza Police website, April 8, 2018)

But beyond the narrow question of Murtaja’s affiliation, another gross deception in Fisk’s piece is the implicit libel that Israel intentionally murders Palestinian journalists to prevent them from reporting the truth about Gaza.  In fact, the IDF operates with the knowledge that Palestinian terrorists have, at times, posed as journalists in order to attack Israelis, and that this tactic was used frequently by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge – an intentional blurring of civilians with combatants that Israeli soldiers protecting the border must carefully navigate during the weekly riots.

If Fisk is skeptical of the claims by Israeli security sources, he’s of course free to express this opinion. However, to completely omit information from readers suggesting that the slain Palestinian ‘journalist’ may in fact have been a Hamas operative is yet another example of the Indy correspondent using all the tricks in his arsenal to paint Israel in the worst possible light. 

Written By
More from Adam Levick

Jeremy Corbyn gets rattled when asked by journo about his ‘friends’ Hamas & Hezbollah

In multiple posts, we’ve noted the UK media’s failure to confront British Labour...
Read More