Media Have Been Too Soft on Hamas for Refusing Ceasefire, Using Human Shields

On Wednesday’s broadcast of NewsNation’s “The Hill,” House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) stated that the media haven’t done enough to point out that Hamas is the biggest block to a ceasefire and Hamas needs to have more pressure put on it and “it would get us to a ceasefire and peace more quickly” if we pointed out that Hamas is endangering Palestinians.

Smith said, “One is, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a very real problem that has not been adequately addressed and Israel has a strong role to play in addressing it. And that is important to Israeli security. The images, the realities of what is happening on the ground in Gaza [are] undermining support for Israel in a wide range of places. And I think they have to find a way to work together to improve that. … I think the second message is what President Biden has said from the beginning, we support Israel’s right to defend itself and we recognize the threats that they face. And yes, the focus is on Gaza, but Iran and Hezbollah, in different parts, also threaten Israel, and giving them the ability to deter those threats is part of how we stop the war from spreading.”

Host Blake Burman then asked, “Do you think that more Democrats should deliver that message, Congressman, the two parts? Because we are certainly hearing a lot on the Gaza front and the aid front there and what all needs to happen. But sometimes, it feels like there’s almost we forget that this was started six months ago by Hamas and Israel was attacked and there [are] hostages and Americans still being held [hostage]. And as I hear you articulate both sides, I just wonder [if some in your party haven’t been focusing on both sides, if you feel that that should be the case.”

Smith responded, “I struggle each day to speak for myself, speaking for every single other Democrat out there is a little bit more difficult. I will say that, broadly speaking, in the media, I mean, look, the big argument right now is for a ceasefire. Do you know who the largest block to a ceasefire is right now? Hamas. There has been an offer on the table for an exchange of hostages. Look, asking Israel to put a ceasefire in place without the hostages being returned is a huge ask. And look, I think there does need to be a ceasefire to get humanitarian assistance in. But there has been an offer on the table to get the hostages back. Israel has agreed to release a large number of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for that ceasefire. Hamas is blocking it. So, the one thing I would say to everybody involved in this is, if you want a ceasefire, we need to put pressure on Hamas. [The] U.N. has not — can’t — has not even brought themselves to condemn Hamas in this entire process. And putting aside for the moment a debate about Israeli tactics in Gaza, Hamas is hiding behind civilians in hospitals, in mosques. They are ramping up the danger to civilians. So, at a minimum, I think it would get us to a ceasefire and peace more quickly to point those facts out as well.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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