MOSCOW, August 15 (RIA Novosti) - In an interview with Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television, translated Friday by the Middle East Media Research Institute, the head of foreign relations in Hamas’s Information Ministry, Isra Mudallal admitted that the group deported several journalists from the Gaza Strip, claiming they collaborated with the Israeli occupation and filmed the places from where missiles were launched.
“The journalists who entered Gaza were fixated on the notion of peace, and on the Israeli narrative. So when they were conducting interviews, or when they went on location to report, they would focus on filming the places from where missiles were launched. Thus they were collaborating with the occupation,” Isra Mudallal said.
“These journalists were deported from the Gaza Strip. The security agencies would go and have a chat with these people,” she explained, adding that some of the journalists who entered the Gaza Strip were under security surveillance.
“Even under these difficult circumstances, we managed to reach them, and tell them that what they were doing was anything but professional journalism and that it was immoral,” Isra Mudallal said.
She also said that since a state of emergency was declared at the border crossings, journalists have been allowed into Gaza without any bureaucratic procedures “except for registration to guarantee their safety.”
“Our problem was that we didn’t know who was entering the Gaza Strip. Who were they? Most of them were freelancers, and others were from news agencies,” Isra Mudallal said, adding that fewer journalists entered the Gaza Strip during this war “than in the previous rounds in 2008 and 2012.”
“Therefore, the coverage by foreign journalists in the Gaza Strip was insignificant compared to their coverage within the Israeli occupation.”
This week, the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel condemned “the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.”
It also protested “deliberate official and unofficial incitement against journalists working to cover the current warfare under very difficult circumstances” in Gaza and “forcible attempts to prevent journalists and TV crews from carrying out their news assignments.”