Wednesday, July 04, 2007

# Posted 3:53 AM by Taylor Owen  

JOHNSTON RELEASED: This is wonderful news. At the time of his kidnapping, Johnston was the only western journalist permanently based in Gaza. His kidnapping has had a serious effect on our knowledge of the region, and the wider conflict. Something that benefits no one. This line is also interesting:
Mr Johnston said Hamas's seizure of power in Gaza and its subsequent pledge to improve security in the territory had facilitated his release.

"The kidnappers seemed very comfortable and very secure in their operation until... a few weeks ago, when Hamas took charge of the security operation here," he said.

It seems as if the Hamas pressure may have had a real hand in securing the release. Thoughts?

(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

Well, the phrase "You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word" does spring immediately to mind.

Alternatively, further proof that terrorisation, the threat of violence, of just plain repression, work. Ugly truth, but truth nonetheless.
His kidnapping has had a serious effect on our knowledge of the region, and the wider conflict.

Indeed, I was bereft (and I know I'm not the only one) that this unimpeachable source of impeccable, anti-Israel vituperation was so cruelly silenced for so long.

Israel hasn't been savaged nearly enough since his unfortunate and most unjustified kidnapping; and one hopes that he'll soon be back at work lambasting the Zionists in front of a grateful international audience.

Thank you, O thank you! Hamas.

(As long as we're sharing thoughts on the matter....)
Frankly, I think the entire thing reeks to high heaven of a fairly cynical (albeit pretty effective) propaganda move by Hamas. I'm glad Johnson's free, but I see no reason whatsoever for shifting attitudes toward Hamas as a result.
I agree with Anthony. Lewis a kind word and a gun is almost right. Sharia law, a gun, a torture chamber, and a compliant media is more appropriate.

Michael Yon recently came across an example of fundamentalist law in Iraq Bless the beast and Children
It also establishes that Hamas is firmly in charge. Which is likely the most important thing to Hamas, the rare positive PR in the West being a nice bonus.
Is Hamas really getting any positive press? In most accounts I have seen, they are simply mentioned as having played a role in the release. If anything, it seems their role in this is getting underreported, for better or worse. As Lorenzo points out, the fact that this may show that they are 'firmly in charge' is pretty relevant to the wider discussion.

Barry, in all of your vitriol, you misread me. My point was not that our knowledge was diminished by his voice being lost, although it probably was, the more voices the better. My point was that his kidnapping resulted in a drop in all journalistic coverage of and travel to the region, presumably some of which you may even have agreed.
I am not sure about how positive the coverage is. In the only TV account I have seen (Sky News last night) it was mentioned that while Hamas played an arguably positive role in this single instance, it is rather hypocritical of them considering they are still in the hostage business themselves. Someone who listened to the radio reports yesterday morning said that point was made as well – though interestingly I didn’t read that point in the BBC internet article I read yesterday.
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