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October 17, 2014

New York Times Story Covers Up Hamas Destruction of Gaza Antiquities

A story in yesterday's New York Times deals with threats to Gaza's ancient artifacts — or at least, some threats.

Although the story relays the charge that Israel fired missiles into a museum during fighting in 2008, purportedly damaging several ancient pots and other artifacts, it says nothing about Hamas's bulldozing of portions of Gaza's ancient harbor. The harbor is a UNESCO heritage site. According to Al Monitor,

Earlier last month, amid overwhelming criticism from public figures and nongovernmental organizations, the military wing of the Islamic movement of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, bulldozed a part of the ancient Anthedon Harbor in northern Gaza along the Mediterranean Sea. The Brigades damaged the harbor in order to expand its military training zone, which was initially opened on the location in 2002, according to Ejla.

Why did the author, freelance reporter Kate Shuttleworth, ignore the terrorist group's assault on Gaza antiquities in an article meant to be about threats to antiquities?

When asked about this on Twitter, Shuttleworth declined to comment.

Hi @K8Shuttleworth -- was the destruction of the harbor, a 3000-year-old UNESCO heritage site, not worth a mention? @CAMERAorg @nytimes

— Gilead Ini (@GileadIni) October 17, 2014

In a related mystery, the author's use of the passive voice makes it unclear how the pots and jars said to have been "damaged" by Israel were later "destroyed." Shuttleworth states:

During the 2008 war, Mr. Khoudary said, Israeli tanks were stationed 300 meters from the hotel and missiles were fired into the museum. Ancient treasures were damaged in the attacks, include sun-dried clay pots and wine jars, mud-brick wall fragments and Egyptian alabaster plates, some 5,500 years old.

“We were so lucky, our loss was so limited,? he said. “Others had lost all their factories and all their houses were totally destroyed.?

The damaged items were later destroyed. When Mr. Khoudary was asked why he decided not to keep them on display, his face at first turned somber, and then he laughed. “We have to show encouraging things, something positive,? he said.

So how, exactly, were they later destroyed, and at whose hands? Was it Israel? Hamas? Did Khoudary, the sympathetically treated subject of the piece, throw them away, something which surely should be called out in this story about threats to antiquities? Most of all, why did editors leave the vague and confusing sentence in place instead of asking Shuttleworth to clarify?

Also, it's unclear what is the meaning of "The damaged items were later destroyed." Could you explain? @K8Shuttleworth @CAMERAorg @nytimes

— Gilead Ini (@GileadIni) October 17, 2014

Posted by GI at October 17, 2014 12:14 PM


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