BBC "waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people"

Hamas: BBC Reporter Expressed Solidarity

Douglas Davis, Jerusalem Post
May 24, 2001

LONDON - A senior BBC correspondent in the Gaza Strip is reported to have told a Hamas gathering that journalists and media organizations are "waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestian people."

The alleged remarks, by BBC Arabic Service correspondent Faid Abu Shimalla, were reported on the Hamas Web site, which said they were made at "an impressive and well-attended ceremony" earlier this month to honor some 140 Palestinian, Arab, Islamic, and international journalists and attended by Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

A BBC spokesman last night confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that Shimalla has been the Gaza Strip correspondent of the BBC Arabic Service for the past five years, but he said the BBC was unable to locate the Web site and could not comment further.

He noted, however, that Shimalla is "a senior and experienced journalist who knows the requirements for impartiality."

At the ceremony, Hamas official Ismail Abu Shanab said journalists should be honored for "the special role they have played through their cameras, pens, and skills, as well as through their rare courage and daring which they have demonstrated by their joining the nation struggling fiercely against the enemy."

He praised their "accurate depiction of the terrorism employed by the Zionist enemy and its vile crimes, as well as the outstanding courageous portrayal of our children and martyrs."

Speaking on behalf of the journalists, Shimalla, who is described as a correspondent of the BBC, thanked the Hamas movement for holding the event, "despite the pace of current events and the sensitive circumstances applying to journalists and media organizations, which are waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people."