Haniyeh: Media Adopted Hamas Narrative in Gaza War

Hamas leader in Gaza insists international media bought into PR campaign, declares 'media and moral victory.'

Tova Dvorin ,

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
Flash 90

Hamas's 'greatest victory' in fifty-day Operation Protective Edge was swaying the hearts and minds of the Western media, its deputy political leader Ismail Haniyeh insisted, in a clip of an August 29 speech newly released Monday. 

"In this war, we won the media war as well," Haniyeh stated. His words were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI. "This war was a military victory, which was achieved even before the end of the war."

"This war was a victory on the military front, on the political front, on the media front, and on the moral front," he continued. "We waged a war in the realm of moral values as well."

"Therefore, the Palestinian people has won the war on the military front, the political front, and the media front," he declared. "Our narrative has gained the upper hand in the media and was the more credible. Our image in the media was the more effective."

"The media analysis and the men of the [Palestinian] media everywhere constituted the river from which the global media quenched its thirst for information about what was happening on the ground," he added. 

Haniyeh even claimed that Israeli media bought into Hamas's media fabrications.

"Even Zionist society itself no longer believed the narrative of its leaders and of the Israeli army," he claimed. "They got their news from the committed Palestinian media of the resistance." 

Hamas's "Palestinian Ministry of Health" bombarded the international media during the self-defense operation with false information during the self-defense operation, claiming that over 80% of the deaths were civilians instead of terrorists, manipulating the death count in numerous ways, including repeating the same names on the death toll rosters. It is also unclear whether some 30 Gazans murdered by Hamas gunmen as "collaborators" during the conflict were also inserted into the list.

Israel counters that around 50% of those killed were combatants - a claim backed by none other than Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. Those figures would put the civilian to combatant ratio of deaths at 1:1 - an unprecedented achievement in urban warfare, where the civilian death count is usually many times greater than combatants killed. 

Even some of those deaths were not caused by Israel, as Hamas's "health ministry" claimed. The IDF's own reports on the 3,600 rockets fired on Israeli citizens have proven, over and over again, that a significant number of rockets have misfired and hit areas within Gaza itself - including hits peddled as "IAF attacks" to news outlets. Moreover, Hamas fighters often do not wear military fatigues in combat, so once they ditch their weapons they are indistinguishable from the civilian population.

Despite Haniyeh's insistence about the "Zionist media" relying on Hamas figures, however, the Israeli media mostly focused on the IDF's official counter-campaign during the conflict, with most outlets at least providing both Hamas's numbers and Israeli data while presenting reports on the war. 

Doubts about the veracity of Hamas's reports began to rise toward the end of the war, with the BBC, New York Times and other outlets noting that the numbers and photos Hamas provided had raised questions about their validity. The Foreign Press Association, likewise, released a statement recently condemning Hamas's policy of harassing foreign journalists into making the "right" reports during the conflict.