New research by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reveals that the list of journalists Hamas claimed were killed by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge last summer is simply manipulative, misrepresenting facts to attack Israel on the global stage.
The findings are important because the Palestinian Authority (PA) is seeking to try Israel for "war crimes" at the International Criminal Court (ICC), claiming among other things that Israel intentionally targeted journalists.
The research center notes that a week after the end of the counter-terrorism operation, the Palestinian Journalist Union published a list of 17 dead who it claimed were journalists killed during the operation.
The list appeared on the PA-affiliated news agency Wafa from the governmental office of Gaza's publicity department, which is run by Hamas.
In investigating the names of the Arab dead from the operation, which it has yet to complete, the research center checked the 17 journalists – and found that eight of them, nearly half of the list, were activists with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations, or else were journalists for Hamas's media outlets.
Members of the center point out that the list tried to conceal the identity of the terrorists and presented them entirely as journalists like any others.
In its analysis, the center found three levels of relations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Two military terror activists wearing uniforms, bearing weapons and carrying out propaganda missions were of the highest level. One of them even recorded a last will before he went out to "report" on the combat.
At the second level of relations to the terror groups, there were four members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who fulfilled journalistic duties for media outlets identified with the terror organizations.
And at the lowest level, there were two names of people who worked for civilian media outlets, but were military activists for the groups and worked for Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV channel and Al-Risala newspaper.
Targeted as journalists?
The report found that only a third of the "journalists" on the list were killed while covering events, with the rest dying due to being in the Gaza war zone without any relation to their journalistic work, thereby belying the claims of the IDF "targeting" journalists. Their deaths were instead caused by the fighting in which Hamas embedded its terrorist infrastructure in civilian population centers.
Aside from the list, the report noted that at least two names on the list were not killed by the IDF.
Those two were Associated Press cameraman Simone Camilli from Italy and his local translator, who died when Hamas detonated an IDF dud missile during a ceasefire.
"It is possible other journalists appearing on the list weren't killed by the IDF but we are unable to prove it," noted the report.
Regarding the foreign cameraman, other international media representatives reported that Hamas harassed and abused them.
From the results of the research, the center asserts that the list is manipulative in mixing the names of civilian journalists with terrorist activists advancing Hamas and Islamic Jihad propaganda.
The falsification in terms of the dead has become a "tactic" for the Palestinian Arabs, noted the report, calling it a weapon aimed at public consciousness in a propaganda and legal war being waged against Israel.
In contrast to the charges against Israel over the operation, a detailed study after the war proved 49% of the casualties in Gaza were terrorists, meaning the IDF achieved a 1:1 civilian to combatant ratio almost unprecedented in urban warfare.