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Australian-born Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev says Palestinian journalists killed or injured by Israeli attacks on a Gaza media centre were legitimate targets. Bob Ellis reports.

(Screenshot courtesy Al Jazeera.)


If Mark Regev is an Australian I think there are grounds for his arrest for encouraging terrorism.

In an interview with Al Jazeera last night, he said Palestinian journalists were not journalists, they were ‘targets’, and because they worked for a Hamas journal they had no right to expect to be immune from assassination like ‘foreign journalists’ are. He said their paper was like Pravda and they were using real journalists as ‘human shields’, which he then called a ‘war crime’.

This war crime was turning up for work at their office after it was bombed, mistakenly, a day ago.

His interrogator said it seemed he believed in ‘killing the messenger’.

Regev, as I understand it, hails from Melbourne.

If he is indeed an Australian he should I think be extradited and charged under our terrorist laws with encouraging murder.

Or does he have no case to answer?

Check the transcript and and decide for yourself.

Extended transcript


Regev: I’ll say it again. It’s very clear, my answer. We don’t target journalists, we target Hamas. And we had three examples now where Hamas used communication facilities on the top of buildings where journalists were. We surgically hit the target we wanted to hit, not targeting the journalists at all. I spoke yesterday to a journalist who told me that this building was attacked, why did we do it? And I said why don’t you go upstairs and have a look? He went upstairs and it was in fact the Hamas…

Al Jazeera Interviewer: But, come on, rockets don’t stop at a roof. If you know the antennas are on the roof, you know, you’ve got the intelligence, that journalists were all over that building, all inside. It’s never going to be precise enough that you can’t stop injuring people below the roof, and that’s exactly what happened. Eight people were injured, one person had their leg blown off. You have to accept that fact.

Regev: As far as I know, no foreign journalists were hurt whatsoever – and you can correct me if you know different information. We were surgical, we took out the target that we wanted to take out…



Interviewer: Mr Regev, you can’t sit there and say no journalists were injured. It’s all over the world media today, in every single country. There are pictures of the journalists who…You cannot sit there and say no journalist was injured. Those are the facts. In this air strike eight journalists were injured…

Regev: I’m not aware…

Interviewer: One person had their leg blown off. That is a fact. You can’t argue with that.

Regev: Oh, you’re talking about…First of all, may we have a discussion about who is a journalist, and if you’ll allow me, I’ll elaborate of that. There is the al-Aqsa station, which is a station that is a Hamas-commanded control facility, just as in other totalitarian regimes the media is used by the regime for command and control, and also for security purposes. From our point of view that’s not a legitimate journalist, like an Al Jazeera journalist or a BBC journalist, especially if they’re being used…

Interviewer: Mr Regev, there were foreign journalists in that building. There were foreign journalists in buildings near to that building. Let me remind you…

Regev: None of them were hurt, sir.

Interviewer: Let me remind you…

Regev: None of them were hurt…

Interviewer: So what are you saying? That a local Arab’s life is any less than an international journalist?

Regev: First of all let’s agree that no international journalists were killed…

Interviewer: You haven’t answered my question, Mr Regev. Are you saying the lives of local Arab journalists are worth any less than international journalists on Sky, the BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN etcetera. Please answer the question.

Regev: Yes, I will answer unequivocally. Unconditionally, no. We see all journalists as legitimate, er, er, er, people…We know Israel, unlike the country where you’re broadcasting from…Israel has a free press. We pride ourselves on having an open and free democracy. The free press is very aggressive. We respect the free press. There’s not a question of Israelis targeting journalists. I don’t see how you could seriously raise this issue at all. Same again. If you can bring me someone who’s a bonafide journalist who was injured…



Interview: So you seem to be saying that the Palestinians can’t have that free press too. Is that what you’re saying?

Regev: If you think Al-Aqsa is a free press, then do you think Tass in the former Soviet Union is a free press? Let’s be serious for a moment if you don’t mind.

Interviewer: We are being serious, Mr Regev. The fact is, those journalists were injured. Whether they’re international or local journalists, they were injured in that attack by an Israeli air strike. Those are the facts. In fact now, just tell our viewers, Mr Regev, what is now the official…

Regev: Ah…

Interviewer: No, no, no, let’s just stick to this point. What is now the official Israeli response to the fact that journalists, whether local or international, were injured in this attack? Will Israel apologise for the injuries caused in this attack?

Regev: Israel does not target journalists. And I think there are very legitimate questions about Hamas using journalists as human shields. Why did Hamas put its command and control and its communications equipment inside buildings where they know journalists were sitting. They were deliberately putting those journalists in danger, deliberately using them as a human shield, which is of course, in a way, war crime. You’re not allowed to use…

Interviewer: Mr Regev, you and I know that Gaza is a highly populated area. But look, let me remind you, journalists are not armed combatants. They have a job to get…

Regev: Does that…

Interviewer: No, hang on a second, I gave you the freedom to answer. Just give me the freedom to ask a question. Those journalists in Gaza have a job to get the story out, so please – let’s just wrap this up – explain to the millions of people watching Al Jazeera now, why Israel targeted exactly the same building when you knew yesterday that eight journalists were injured in the same buildings yesterday. You clearly are targeting the media, aren’t you? You’re shooting the messenger.

Regev: Not true at all. That’s totally incorrect, sir.

Interviewer: Right, okay. Mark Regev, spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister, thank you very much to talking to Al Jazeera.



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