The press association that represents journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories denounced the Israeli Foreign Ministry over an animated video depicting reporters in Gaza as inept fools blind to the reality around them.
In a statement, the Foreign Press Association said it was “surprised and alarmed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry's decision to produce a cartoon mocking the foreign media's coverage of last year's war in Gaza.”
The 49-second video titled, “Open your eyes about Gaza,” was posted Monday and opens with an American-accented cartoon reporter on a Gaza street stating, “As you can see, the people here are trying to live quiet lives. There are no terrorists here, just ordinary people.”
Behind him, we see a woman walking up the street with her baby stroller while crossing her path is a black hooded terrorist casually carrying his rocket.
The second scene has the reporter filing his report from inside a tunnel under Gaza where we see heavily armed terrorists passing behind him toward the exit that reads “Israel.”
The reporter described what the viewer knows to be a terrorist attack tunnel as “a fascinating attempt by Hamas to build a subway system.”
“This is actually the first Palestinian subway which will bring Gaza’s transportation into the 21st century,” he says.
The video also highlighted the intolerance experienced by homosexuals in Gaza, a subject rarely examined by the foreign press.
“There is no doubt that the Palestinian society here is liberal and pluralistic,” the reporter says as a man standing at a booth decorated with a rainbow flag is kidnapped by an armed militant.
A woman then steps into the frame and gives the reporter glasses and tells him, “maybe now you’ll see the reality of life under Hamas rule.”
He faints when he sees reality.
The Foreign Press Association said it was “disconcerting that the ministry would spend its time producing a 50-second video that attempts to ridicule journalists reporting on a conflict in which 2,100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis were killed."
“Israel's diplomatic corps wants to be taken seriously in the world. Posting misleading and poorly conceived videos on YouTube is inappropriate, unhelpful and undermines the ministry, which says it respects the foreign press and its freedom to work in Gaza,” the association said.
The Israeli government maintains that the international media regularly gloss over human rights violations committed by Palestinian terrorist groups which target Israeli civilians with rockets.
Multiple pro-Israel media outlets and blogs highlighted how during last summer’s conflict, American and European news organizations used unvetted casualty figures presented by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry and for the most part did not report sightings of Hamas militants, many of whom were operating within viewing distance of the foreign press, and even using the foreign press as cover for their launches.
While the animation is colored with humor, a similar scenario was revealed unwittingly by at least three reporters during last year’s war.
A Finnish reporter covering the Gaza conflict reported that she saw a rocket being fired from the backyard of Gaza City’s main hospital, Shifa.
A France 24 correspondent’s live shot was interrupted when a rocket was launched toward Israel from next to his camera position. The same thing happened to an Al Jazeera reporter who had to duck when a rocket was launched next to her camera position.
Besides firing from hospitals and close to foreign press locations, Hamas has also launched rockets adjacent to mosques, schools and private homes.