Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Terrorist Carrying a Press Pass Is Still a Terrorist

A Terrorist Carrying a Press Pass Is Still a Terrorist

By Ronn Torossian 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday which condemned Israel – the media attacking Israel, what else is new? The letter condemns Israel for “targeting journalists in Gaza.” As the old saying goes, you can “put lipstick on a pig,” but it would still be a pig.

Indeed, the two cameramen for Hamas’s Al-Aqsa television station and the director of Al-Quds Educational Radio who were killed by Israel are in fact terrorists. A terrorist can carry a television camera and pretend to be a journalist – he is still a terrorist. As a spokesperson for the Israeli Army rightly said, “Such terrorists, who hold cameras and notebooks in their hands, are no different from their colleagues who fire rockets aimed at Israeli cities and cannot enjoy the rights and protection afforded to legitimate journalists.”

To take it a step further, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have repeatedly adopted “a deliberate policy of using journalists as human shields.” As an Israeli spokesperson said, “There were a number of situations where terrorist operatives used journalists as human shields, in those cases we acted as surgically as humanly possible.” Israel simply cannot win a war where their opponents claim to be journalists – and hide amongst actual journalists.

CPJ’s letter goes on to state that while Israeli spokesman Mark Regev said on November 19 that Al-Aqsa TV is a “Hamas command and control facility” and that “Hamas used communication facilities on top of the buildings,” Regev did not state whether or how Hamas used the station militarily.  In the United States, Canada, Japan, the entire European Union and elsewhere Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization.  A terrorist wearing a blue shirt is still a terrorist, and a terrorist driving a car with “TV” written on the side is indeed still a terrorist.

Owning 5WPR, an international PR Agency, I know that there is freedom of the press in Israel unlike anywhere else in the Middle East – journalists aren’t followed by the police, tortured, or intimidated.  However, terrorists do not have the right to exist and for that Israel will never apologize. Israel exists in a tough neighborhood and their primary objective as with any other nation is to protect her citizens.  And rightly that’s what they have done.

The CPJ states that Israel has “disclosed no substantiation for these very serious allegations.”

They need not share sensitive information with the public or CPJ – and one may wonder if Israel should turn over this substantiation to “Al-Aqsa TV, the official Hamas-run television channel” so that people who kill innocent civilians know more about Israeli intelligence. In a sane world can that make any sense?  Should Israel also clear their operations with CPJ in advance?

A man can pretend to be a horse – he’s still a man. And a terrorist carrying a camera is still a terrorist. There is something more holy than journalism and free speech – it’s called life. And if Hamas wants their people to stop getting killed then they should stop attacking Israel.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once said, “If Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.”