On March 30, 2020, the Toronto Star wrote an article “Fearing Gaza coronavirus spread, Hamas preps for mass quarantines” which painted Hamas as a reasonable and responsible government caring for its citizens.
The article opened with a woman returning to Gaza from Egypt who was surprised that Hamas had set up quarantine facilities for people entering the territory, who then became alarmed when people in the neighboring facility tested positive for Covid-19. In the description, Hamas was simply referred to as a “militant group” and not a designated terrorist organization by the government of Canada which notes that “since 1990, Hamas has been responsible for several hundred terrorist attacks against both civilian and military targets.”
Not in this puff piece.
In this Star article, Hamas is on the front lines battling disease, not Jews, stating “Hamas is racing to build two massive quarantine facilities — hoping to prevent the disease from spreading and overwhelming Gaza’s already shattered health system.”
According to the article, the system is in dire condition with quotes like “The health care system is in shambles — a result of the blockade, three wars between Hamas and Israel and chronic underfunding due to infighting between Hamas and the rival Palestinian Authority in the West Bank,” and “high rates of obesity, smoking and stress-related disorders appear to make Gaza’s population especially vulnerable.”
For starters, UNRWA, the organization that manages the healthcare in Gaza for the vast majority of the population is over-funded and over-staffed relative to the other global refugee agency UNHCR, by a wide margin. The people in Gaza have among the lowest mortality rates and highest life expectancy in the world, close to wealthy Arab kingdoms like Qatar and Kuwait.
Over 65% of the population in Gaza is under 25 years old, one of the youngest populations in the world with a median age of just over 17 years old. Only 6% of the population is over 55. This very young population has a very low risk of dying from Covid-19 which is most deadly for people over 70.
No matter. After stating that the healthcare system is underfunded and people are highly vulnerable, The Star burnished the credentials of Hamas’ leader: “After seeing images of the makeshift facilities, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yehiyeh Sinwar, ordered the group’s military wing to build two new quarantine centres.”
Here are some other recent quotes from Sinwar, as translated by MEMRI:
- “But I say this loud and clear: God forbid, if a time comes when we have no choice but to watch our citizens breathe their final breaths, and when there are no ventilators – I say to [Israeli Defense Minister] Bennet that we will make six million Israeli settlers [Jews throughout Israel] unable to breathe.“
- “Umm Muhammad, do not worry about the resistance in Gaza. The whole world is hit by the coronavirus, but the members of the Al-Qassam [Brigades] are working day and night to complete their preparation for the liberation [of all of the land of Israel].”
The Toronto Star wrote a puff story about the Hamas leadership acting responsibly trying to care for a population desperately short of funds because of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of a highly vulnerable Gaza population. This in sharp contrast to the facts of the terrorist group leader making ongoing threats of war against the Jews of Israel while his over-funded and uber-young population ask for additional billions of dollars for theft and military purposes.