Independent Arabia continues to portray kidnapped Israeli civilians as “soldiers”

Once again, Izz ad-Deen Abu ‘Eisheh, the Gaza correspondent for Independent Arabia (a joint venture between the UK based Independent and the Saudi media group SRMG), has erroneously described the two Israeli civilians currently being held in the Strip, Avera Mengistu and Hesham Sha’ban as-Sayed, as “soldiers”.

Thus, his December 12th report (“Israeli proposals concerning the prisoner exchange deal with Hamas”) reads as follows:

“In practice, the movement [Hamas] has four captive Israeli soldiers: Hadar Goldin, Oron Sha’ul, Abraham Mengistu and Hisham as-Sayed. According to the narrative of Tel Aviv [sic] and Amnesty International, Goldin and Sha’ul were killed in 2014 during the Gaza military operation. Meanwhile, Hamas has not disclosed any information about the two, but it indicated more than once that they are alive. The others entered Gaza after 2014, on two separate occasions, and were taken captive.”

Interestingly, even their presentation of the widely accepted Israeli assertion (“narrative”) that Lt. Goldin and 1st Sgt. Shau’l are no longer alive is already a considerable improvement compared to Abu ‘Eisheh’s earliest IA report on the matter, where he ignored it altogether.  In fact, much like ending the practice of calling Israeli towns and villages along the Gaza border “settlements”, this is likely the result of a series of communications with CAMERA Arabic.

Nevertheless, kidnapped, mentally-ill civilians Mengistu and as-Sayed are still falsely labeled “soldiers” by the Independent Arabia correspondent.  This is despite the fact that Mengistu was never conscripted, and that as-Sayed was discharged as early as 2008 after having completed less than three months of voluntary service; this was more than six years before as-Sayed entered the Strip.  According to their IDF registries, both were exempt from their military duties due to their mental conditions.

It should also be noted that when confronted on the matter by a Human Rights Watch representative, Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar excused Hamas’s view that Mengistu and as-Sayed are soldiers by stating that “there are no civilians in Israel” since all serve in the army, and that “Israelis who enter Gaza are spies.”

(The Arabic version of this post is here)

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