The tragic story of Omar, the infant son of BBC Arabic employee Jihad Masharawi, who was killed during the latest round of Hamas-Israel fighting, was widely reported last week. The same incident that killed baby Omar ultimately led to the death of Masharawi’s brother, Ahmed. Who was responsible for the strike that resulted in their deaths remains unclear, and it is a matter of debate whether an Israeli strike took place at the time of the incident. One possibility that has been suggested was that the deaths were caused by a Hamas rocket that fell short.
Now, the watchdog blog BBC watch has uncovered a troubling video, that aired on Hamas TV, and provides additional details and new evidence relating to the case.
Prior to discovering the footage posted below, which shows the funeral of Ahmed, BBC Watch says they contacted the IDF who confirmed that he was a known terrorist. The blog also writes that the al-Qassam Brigades wrote of his death on their English-language website. Additionally, as you can see in the picture above, he is wrapped in a green Hamas flag at the funeral.
In an interview at the funeral, Jihad Masharawi blames “the Jews” for the deaths of his family members, and falsely claims that innocents were targeted by Israel. Here is the full text translated by BBC Watch:
“Thanks to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, who chose him [Ahmed] to be a martyr, from all the people. What was done by the Jews is a shame for the entire Umma [Islamic nation], a shame for the West, a shame for the Arabs, who are silent. The entire war struck only the children and the innocent. They didn’t hit a single muqawim [resistance fighter], nor anyone who works for the government, or whatever.”
According to an Israeli expert on Arab communications and Palestinian broadcast media, it is not uncommon for major news organizations to hire individuals with close connections to terror organizations, whether they are aware of it or not.
“Both Hamas and the PLO have used Arab “stringers”—part-time reporters—to infiltrate foreign news organizations. The stringers are usually working for the terror organization but act as “fixers” and “enablers” for Western reporters, bringing them interviews, bringing them in and out of dangerous areas. They are basically terrorist chaperones who also serve as informers on the Western journalists,” Michael Widlanski, a former New York Times reporter in the region and Algemeiner blogger who now teaches at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, told The Algemeiner in an email.
Whether this was the role played by Mashawari has not been confirm by The Algemeiner.
Jon Donnison, a BBC correspondent who has been at the center of the controversy himself, relayed his version of the story on BBC Radio 4’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ program.
The video of Jihad Masharawi remarks at his brother’s funeral is posted below. The relevant comments begin at the 1:34 mark: