Australian Broadcasting Corporation Sanitizes Operation by Jailed Palestinian Terrorists
A January 1 article by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News), published under the headline “The Parents Smuggling Semen Out of Prisons and Across Borders to Bring Precious Babies Into the World,” reads like a romantic thriller.
The 1,200-word piece by correspondents Tom Joyner and Fouad AbuGhosh depicts “a growing number of Palestinian families” that are purportedly “putting their lives on the line to bring new life into the world.”
Case in point:
Farhana and Hossam were married in late 2008, young and in love. Only three months later, Hossam was arrested by Israeli forces during the Israel-Gaza war, and sentenced to 18 years in prison. With the prospect of a long separation, they hatched a plan to secretly transport Hossam’s sperm to a clinic in Gaza…. From there, a doctor could fertili[z]e one of Farhana’s eggs and implant the embryo to grow their dream baby.
Except that readers are not told why Farhana Al Attar’s “beloved husband” Hossam is serving jail time in Israel — which, in turn, prompted the sperm-smuggling operation. Indeed, the article omits that Hossam is a member of Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, designated as a terror group by numerous Western countries, including Australia.
The fact that Hamas actively encourages and even subsidizes the smuggling scheme is likewise not made clear. In fact, the terror group is only described once in the entire piece — as “the militant group that controls Gaza.”
According to Arab sources, the first Palestinian to conjure up a plan to smuggle sperm out of an Israeli jail was Abbas al-Sayed, the Hamas member behind the 2002 suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in the Israeli city of Netanya and the 2001 Sharon Mall terror attack, which together killed 35 Israelis and injured hundreds more.
After Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi and former PLO leader Yasser Arafat reportedly endorsed the plot, Hamas’ Ammar al-Zein, in 2012, apparently became the first Palestinian to father a child from behind bars.
“The issue has been discussed for many years by the top leaders of the prisoners, as well as by Islamic scholars, and there was correspondence with sheikhs and doctors,” a so-called expert this month recounted to the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV channel.
Although data is scant, Palestinians say that over 100 children have been born to terrorists incarcerated in Israel over the past decade.
One of those who claims to have successfully conceived a child using sperm smuggled from prison is the above-mentioned Hossam Al Attar, whose story the Australian outlet highlighted in its glowing profile:
From the moment Hossam Al Attar passed the [v]ial containing his semen to his wife, Farhana, she knew she had only a small window to act…. Her heart pounding in her chest, she left the prison and drove an hour to the Gaza border…. She knew she had only a few hours before the semen would be worthless. But her mission was of vital importance – the container of semen was the last hope the couple had for fulfilling a long-held dream: to conceive a child.
Besides a brief mention, readers are not told why Al Attar landed in the Hamas wing of Israel’s maximum-security Nafha prison. A publicly available Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) document outlines his terror activities before and during the 2008-2009 Israel-Hamas conflict.
“In his interrogation, he [Hossam] revealed details regarding his involvement in the placement of an explosive charge detonated against IDF forces on the fifth day of fighting,” the document, dated January 12, 2009, asserts. “He also admitted his awareness of tunnels intended to serve for the kidnapping of soldiers, and of the foiling of the suicide attack planned against the township of Netiv ha-Asara.”
As a member of the al-Qassam Brigades, Al Attar was trained to use anti-tank weapons and explosives.
After his arrest on January 11, 2009, he was sentenced to 18 years in jail, a verdict that was upheld on appeal.
Hamas’ website notes that Al Attar’s wife and children are praying for the Mujahideen’s [jihadis] success in “kidnapping Zionist soldiers” so that Israel might release Hossam as part of a prisoner exchange deal.
Another prisoner’s wife interviewed by ABC News is Sherine Al Sakany, whose baseless claim that Palestinian semen smugglers put their “life in danger” remains uncontested by Tom Joyner and Fouad AbuGhosh. In another journalistic faux pas, the piece neglects to mention that Al Sakany’s husband held the rank of commander in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iranian-backed group based in Gaza that the Australian government has similarly designated as a terrorist group.
According to the official website of PIJ’s Al Quds Brigades, Ahmad Al Sakany joined the terror organization in 2000 and quickly rose through its ranks. He is said to have shot at Israeli soldiers, and, in 2002, assisted suicide bombers that targeted an Israeli ship off the coast of Gaza. In 2015, Sherine Al Sakany gave birth to twins she alleges were conceived using sperm Ahmad smuggled out of prison.
These are the people hailed by ABC News as “young and in love,” who are bringing “new life into the world” by birthing “precious babies.”
ABC News must modify its story so that the terrorist activities of both Al Attar and Al Sakany are made evident.
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.