The Financial Times published an editorial representing another example of a media outlet effectively giving Hamas, the terror group responsible for the worst antisemitic atrocity since the Holocaust, a moral pass for the suffering of Gazans, while hurling blame entirely at Israel.
The piece (“FT View: The catastrophe unfolding in Gaza”, Oct. 30) focuses on the dire situation for Palestinian civilians in Gaza by, in part, citing accusations by the UN accusing Israel of engaging in “clear violations of international humanitarian law”. This of course would be the same body with a proven track record of obsessively criticising and demonising Israel while giving the world’s worst human rights abusers a pass, and which, following the Oct. 7 massacre of Jewish men, women, children and babies, has consistently failed to condemn Hamas’s atrocities.
As UN Watch noted last week: “More than two weeks after Hamas’s October 7th massacre, the world’s top body for maintaining peace and security still has not been able to reach consensus to unequivocally condemn the attacks and uphold Israel’s right to self-defense.”
Strangely, the editorial cites – putatively as evidence of ‘collective punishment’ – the fact that the IDF has consistently “instructed half the population to move south away from the enclave’s north”, while evidently oblivious to the fact that such warnings are designed to keep Gazan civilians out of harm’s way in advance of Israeli military assaults on Hamas’s stronghold in that part of the territory.
However, Hamas has been ordering Gaza residents to stay put, even placing roadblocks to prevent them from fleeing to safer areas in the south. As our colleague Sean Durns observed, this is part of a pattern by the terror group cynically using Palestinians “as shields in the hopes of deterring Israeli strikes on legitimate military targets”. Durns went on to note that, “in Hamas’ eyes, the more dead Palestinians in Gaza, the better. Hamas and its patron, Iran, hope to use their deaths to attack Israel in the court of public opinion.”
Even the Guardian’s former Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont, in an article published at the outlet yesterday, noted that Hamas sees Palestinian civilian deaths as “useful” in its messaging to the world, and cited a spokesperson of the group stating that “Hamas despises those defeatist Palestinians who criticise the high number of civilian casualties. The resistance praises our people … we lead our people to death … I mean, to war.”
Hamas has also diverted limited humanitarian aid to construct 500 km of tunnels, not to protect civilians from harm, but to protect only its leaders and fighters. In fact, the tunnels were cynically built beneath residential homes and humanitarian facilities, which further jeopardises Palestinian civilians.
The interviewer asks senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk: When you built 500 km of tunnels in Gaza, why didn't you build shelters for civilians from the attacks?
Abu Marzouk answers: The tunnels are for us (Hamas).
The citizens in the Gaza Strip are under the responsibility… pic.twitter.com/mbNKWF6eoT
— Israel War Room (@IsraelWarRoom) October 31, 2023
FT editors also speak of ‘crippling shortages of fuel’, yet ignore the fact that Hamas has been hoarding an estimated 500,000 liters fuel – using it for military operations instead of allowing its use for civilian humanitarian purposes, such as desalination plants and generators.
It is Hamas, and not Israel, who is collectively punishing Palestinians in Gaza.
Risibly, the only time the FT editorial even evokes these Hamas practices is in one sentence, when it reports that “Israel accuses Hamas of using civilians as human shields”, as if the cynicism, indifference to human life and barbarism of the extremist group is in doubt – as if it’s merely an IDF talking point.
The FT editorial ends thusly:
The greater the suffering of Palestinian civilians, the more likely it is that Israel will lose support in the west, while further enraging the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Editors fail to understand that the suffering of their own civilians is a feature of Hamas’s war, not a bug or unintended consequence. It’s part of their propaganda war. During their months, if not years, of planning the Oct. 7 massacre, they naturally knew that their attack would result in retaliatory action by Israel, and that even the most judicious use of IDF force would result in civilian casualties and suffering in Gaza. Yet they launched the barbaric assault anyway. That is, Hamas made a decision that they knew would result in the misery of their own population.
What the FT editorial represents is the West’s broader failure to assign agency to Palestinians, erasing the correlation between the destructive actions of Palestinian extremists and the subsequent negative outcomes for their own people. It’s the FT – and not Jerusalem – who’s playing into Hamas’s hands by allowing their outlet to amplify the terror group’s propaganda.