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September 9, 2021 11:14 am
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By Ignoring Egypt’s Gaza Strip Blockade, Media Paints an Inaccurate Picture of Defensive Israeli Policies

avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld

Opinion

The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Photo: Gigi Ibrahim via Wikimedia Commons.

Several factions in the Gaza Strip, including the ruling US-designated Hamas terror group, have called for an investigation after three Palestinians were found dead in an underground tunnel between the coastal enclave and the Sinai Peninsula.

According to local reports, the men were killed when Egyptian forces pumped poisonous gas into the structure, triggering its collapse.

The accusation against Gaza’s southern neighbor was echoed in statements by Palestinian terror groups, which spoke of “murder for which Egyptian authorities bear full responsibility.”

It wouldn’t be the first time that Egypt has employed tactics to counter Hamas’ tunnels.

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In 2019, two Gazans, including one Hamas operative, reportedly died after Egyptian troops sprayed toxic fumes into a subterranean passageway. Hamas made similar allegations in 2010 after the death of four smugglers.

Moreover, Egypt has tried to combat cross-border movement by blowing up the terrorist group’s tunnels and flooding them with seawater and raw sewage.

Indeed, Egypt rightfully regards Hamas as a security threat, since the terror group smuggles arms and even Islamic terrorists through and into Sinai, where Egyptian troops have for years been fighting a local ISIS branch. The underground tunnels also fund Hamas’ activities, as Gaza’s rulers impose taxes on goods passing through them into the Strip.

Accordingly, the Egyptian army has to date destroyed hundreds of Hamas tunnels, some of them large enough to drive trucks through. This is in addition to the frequent closure of the Rafah border crossing, Gaza’s only above-ground gateway to Egypt.

Despite this allegedly being the third time in recent memory that Egypt has used poisonous gas against Gazans, the news barely made headlines. To their credit, the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse wrote articles about the incident. Yet, The Washington Post and The Daily Mail were the only major outlets to republish the AP piece.

The near-total media blackout is a symptom of a wider problem: namely, that Gaza is often described as being “besieged” uniquely by Israel.

This effectively paints the Jewish state in a negative light, even though many of its defensive policies to limit Hamas terrorism are also implemented by the Egyptian government.

In this respect, since the May 21 ceasefire that ended Hamas’ 11-day conflict against Israel, 15 major outlets — including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, the BBC and others — produced 26 reports on measures Jerusalem takes to protect its civilians from Gaza terrorism that did not even mention Cairo’s blockade of the enclave.

At the same time, not a single article was published that exclusively highlighted ongoing Egyptian restrictions — or, for that matter, those imposed by Mahmoud Abbas’ West Bank-based Palestinian Authority — on the Hamas-run Strip.

This clear double standard distorts the way that uninformed readers understand the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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