Hamas has been harassing and threatening Western journalists to prevent them from reporting on the terror group’s operations, the Times of Israel reports.
The Times of Israel discovered numerous instances of Hamas members harassing reporters. In some cases, Hamas stole equipment from photographers who took pictures of Hamas militants launching rockets from civilian structures or fighting in street clothes.
“We have no doubt that Hamas, through coercion and violence, limits the freedom of foreign journalists in Gaza,” an Israeli official told the Times of Israel. “Walking around Gaza with a camera and asking people what they think is not like walking around New York or London. People are not free to say their true opinions. It’s a bit like asking Syrians in government-controlled areas of Damascus if they like President [Bashar] Assad.”
Hamas has indisputably used violence against reporters who have covered stories it doesn’t like, the official said. And it has emphatically limited reporters’ access to aspects of Hamas operations that would reflect to its detriment. One example of this relates to Gaza’s Shifa hospital, the official added. “We know that downstairs there is a Hamas command and control center and that Hamas leaders are hiding there. No reporter is allowed to go anywhere downstairs. They’re only allowed to work upstairs to take pictures of casualties, the pictures that Hamas wants them to take.”