How CBC News And Global News (Mis)Told the Story Of Mohammed Abu Salmiya, The Former Director Of Gaza’s Most Infamous Hospital (And Hamas Command Centre)

On July 1, Mohammed Abu Salmiya, the former director of Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, was released from Israeli detention after being imprisoned for seven months. He was being held in connection with the well-documented ties that Al-Shifa had with Hamas, with the terror group operating both inside the hospital and beneath it, in a vast tunnel complex. Reports indicate that Israeli hostages were detained and murdered there, weapons stashed throughout the facility and that the hospital served as a Hamas command and control centre.

Detaining the director of such an institution seems entirely reasonable, given the fact that he had to have at least known about the terror infrastructure in his facility, if not outright supported its construction and use. However, the international media coverage of Salmiya’s release, which Israeli officials said was due to overcrowding, was one of sympathy for the former director, portraying his release as vindication that he was wrongfully arrested to begin with.

On Monday, Global News aired a segment by Crystal Goomansingh ­– who has been the subject of multiple HonestReporting Canada alerts for her problematic reporting – recounting the release of Salmiya, emphasizing heartwarming scenes of his return to family and friends, and sympathetic to his claims of allegedly being tortured while in Israeli custody. Goomansingh made sure to share his claims that Israeli torture has “crossed all human values” and that they “torture detainees day and night.”

The report went on to highlight the fact of growing anti-government protests in Israel, making it seem like even Israelis don’t support the detention of Palestinian-Arab terror enablers. Of course, those protests are happening because Israelis believe the government should be doing more to secure the release of hostages still being held by Hamas, and, since recently, out of anger over the release of dangerous prisoners like Salmiya. Families of the murdered and missing have shared general confusion and outrage at these latest releases.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum released a statement saying that the release of terrorists like Salmiya, “does not align with negotiation principles where you give something and receive something in return.”

CBC News’ coverage by reporter Briar Stewart (who was similarly the subject of an HonestReporting Canada alert in May) struck a similar tone, highlighting Salmiya’s claims that he was arrested simply for “political reasons” and that his release “proves” that there were no charges or allegations made against him. Every accusation made against Israel — that they are torturing and abusing prisoners, that these men were held with no justification — is taken at face value, while every rationale offered by Israeli security forces (the clear existence of terror infrastructure in Al-Shifa for example) is presented with words like ‘alleged’ or ‘claimed’. The double standard is obvious

What neither report shared, of course, is the rest of Salmiya’s statement from Monday, calling for the release of all terrorists arrested and held by Israel: “There needs to be a clear statement by the resistance and the Arab nations in order to release the prisoners. The prisoners need to be present, on the table, in every negotiation until the prisons are emptied,” Salmiya said. These words don’t sound like those of an innocent man, and referring to Hamas as “The Resistance” suggests that he does, indeed, support their terror agenda.

And therein lies the problem facing Israel on the global stage. If even those with direct links to terror, who openly and proudly state their support of it before world media, are being considered innocent civilians, then how can Israel defend itself?

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