Even by Guardian standards, a political cartoon they published on Feb 1st, by freelance cartoonist Fiona Katauskas, is especially dishonest and propagandistic.
The first frame falsely accuses Israel of bombing Gazan hospitals, while simultaneously denying that Hamas fighters have used such medical facilities as a command center, to launch attacks and keep hostages.
It’s not clear which hospital she’s referring to, but if it’s a reference to the Oct. 17 Al-Ahli Hospital blast, that – after initial Hamas claims of IDF responsibility that we’re proven untrue – was of course caused by an errant Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket.
Other hospitals which have been the focus of fighting, such as Al-Shifa in Gaza City, involved Hamas fighters illegally using the hospital to take cover or launch attacks. In those cases, the IDF has targeted the fighters themselves, and the tunnels built beneath the facilities, without ‘bombing’ the hospital and endangering the patients. In fact, in some situations, the military facilitated the evacuation of patients in advance of a confrontation with Hamas terrorists there.
In fact, as the NY Times reported early last month, US intelligence agencies confirmed that Hamas and other terror groups used Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza to command forces and hold some hostages. The senior U.S. intelligence official told the Times that “the American government continued to believe that Hamas used the hospital complex and [tunnels] beneath it to exercise command and control activities, store weapons and hold at least a few hostages.”
The cartoonist’s mockery of ‘claims’ that Hamas, the antisemitic extremist group proscribed by most of the West, illegally uses hospitals to carry out attacks is evidence of how profoundly misinformed she is on the conflict.
The second frame accuses Israel of ‘flattening neighborhoods’, falsely suggesting that the IDF indiscriminately bombs civilian communities. First, it errs by a factor of more than two on the percentage of Gaza buildings damaged or destroyed. It also ignores undeniable evidence that 1) Hamas built military tunnels (which span up to 450 miles) beneath civilian infrastructure. 2) That during the IDF ground operation in Gaza, soldiers have uncovered countless weapons and other military items hidden in homes, mosques, schools. 4) That Hamas has bobby-trapped homes. 4) And, that Hamas fighters often hide and fire at soldiers from such putatively civilian buildings.
Whatever the precise percentage of homes damaged or destroyed during the war, it’s a lie of immense proportions to obfuscate Hamas’s responsibility for such damage, and, especially, to suggest that information about Hamas fighters’ illegal use of such buildings, and their proven ‘human shield‘ tactics, is nothing but Israeli propaganda.
The third frame suggests the the cartoonist actually hasn’t read the headlines in outlets all across the world concerning the dozen UNRWA employees who participated in the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre, and further intelligence suggesting that up to 10% of all UNRWA’s 30,000 Gaza-based employees have links to Hamas and PIJ terrorists. Since the news of UNRWA employees ties to Hamas broke, eighteen countries suspended their aid to the agency.
The fourth frame is based on the lies peddled in the first three frames arguing that Hamas is not anywhere to be found at locations targeted by the IDF, and therefore that such military strikes (against what the cartoonist implies are “civilian” locations) will ‘only make Hamas stronger’, insofar it will putatively make Gaza civilians more sympathetic to the terror group. While accurately gaging public opinion inside totalitarian regimes is always difficult, the recent rash of anti-Hamas protests inside the territory does suggest that much of the population likely understands intuitively that it was the actions of the Islamist extremist group on Oct. 7 that caused their current suffering.
We’ve posted about Guardian cartoons over the years that are more malicious and, in some cases, outright antisemitic. But, few have been so inane and based on demonstrably false premises.