Supporters of Hamas, as on-brand as anyone could possibly be, instigated violence last night outside a screening of video recordings of Hamas violence. The screening was reportedly organized by Gal Gadot and Guy Nattiv, and consisted of footage of the Oct. 7 massacre, some of which was shot by Hamas itself. The screening and the violence took place at the Museum of Tolerance.
Once you get past that irony, there’s a second waiting for you. Namely, that Hamas wants the footage out there and Hamas’s supporters don’t. Underlying all of this is an important fact about this war that sets it apart from those that came before it: We are all seeing this war through Hamas’s eyes.
The latest proof of this was the revelation yesterday by Honest Reporting that major news organizations used photos taken by Hamas propagandists and credited them simply as journalists.
Of particular interest was Hassan Eslaiah. Yesterday Noah Pollak posted a picture of Eslaiah “taking a selfie while being kissed by Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in Gaza and architect of the 10/7 slaughter.” This morning, Israeli reporter Amit Segal reposted a video, which he said was taken from Eslaiah’s own Facebook page (but since removed), of Eslaiah “on a motorbike with a grenade, on his way to the massacre of women and babies” on the day of the attacks. Eslaiah has done work for the Associated Press, Reuters, and CNN as a contributor.
Both CNN and the AP have since ended their professional relationships with Eslaiah. Reuters denied that it had early knowledge of the massacre.
Whatever Eslaiah is, he is not a journalist. Like the others in the expose, he can probably most accurately be described as a fixer. In war zones, fixers are sometimes able to get journalists in contact with elusive commanders because they are affiliated with the militant group or fully trusted by it and in regular communication with terrorist leaders. The difference here is that CNN, AP, Reuters, and the New York Times presented the fixers—who had foreknowledge of at least some element of the attacks—as their journalists.
In other words, they were publishing unfiltered Hamas propaganda directly from the terror group.
It is astonishingly unethical, especially because whatever transparency we get comes more often from Hamas rather than from its Western mouthpieces. Yesterday the IDF released what it says is a recorded phone call in which a Hamas figure boasts about being able to take “any ambulance” he wants.
That tracks with the recently released admission by Oct. 7 operatives in Israeli custody that the terrorists have their own ambulances that are designed to appear “similar to the civilian ambulances so that they will not arouse suspicion or be bombed by Israel,” and another Hamas operative in custody that, “during combat, the ambulances are used, among other things, to evacuate fighters, commanders and operatives. They also transport food, cargo and weapons in them because that is the safest way to transport them.”
We knew Hamas used ambulances for military attacks but it helps to have clear admission of it by several members of Hamas, not all of whom are in custody. In a similar vein, anyone paying attention knows that Hamas wants permanent war against the Jews, not land or statehood. But earlier this week senior Hamas officials said so in an interview with the New York Times.
We also have no doubt that Iran arms Hamas and helps it with military planning and therefore had some involvement in Oct. 7, but because there are (for some reason) still doubters, it was helpful for Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad to confirm it on the record. We also have Hamas figures on the telephone discussing the fact that it was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket, not an Israeli shell, that landed next to a hospital early in the war, causing fatalities. Hamas’s use of its underground infrastructure is an admission that it hoards fuel and water while Gazans run low. Hamas has shown that it keeps medicine that it will not share with the Palestinian population.
Hamas isn’t hiding what it’s doing. The reason Hamas’s Western supporters keep suppressing information about the war, even if doing so requires regular outbursts of violence, is because Hamas has made so many of its actions public. It is recording and narrating the war for all to see, cutting out the middleman.
This is Hamas’s first-person war. And given its propaganda coups and success in coopting Western media, it is unlikely to be the last—unless it is Hamas’s last war.