newsIsrael at War

‘BBC’ asks why Israel didn’t warn Gazans before rescue operation

"I wondered whether she was reading off a teleprompter or actually thought of the question herself," former IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus told JNS.

"BBC" news anchor Helena Humphrey interviews former IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus, June 9, 2024. Source: X.
"BBC" news anchor Helena Humphrey interviews former IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus, June 9, 2024. Source: X.

BBC news anchor Helena Humphrey was ridiculed after asking former IDF International Spokesman Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Conricus on Sunday whether Israel should have warned Gaza’s civilians before launching Saturday’s rescue operation.

Referring to the high Arab casualty count reported by Hamas sources, Humphrey asked, “Would there have been a warning to those civilians for them to get out on time?”

Conricus, now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington-based think tank, politely stated the obvious, “We cannot anticipate Israel to be warning ahead of a raid to extract or to save hostages because then what the terrorists would do is to kill the hostages and that would defeat the purpose.”

Asked what he was thinking when the BBC interviewer posed the question, Conricus told JNS, “I wondered whether she was reading off a teleprompter or actually thought of the question herself.

“But,” he added, “in the upside-down universe of activist journalism, this question makes total sense.”

Humphrey’s question became the butt of jokes on social media.

“Everyone knows that proper hostage rescue etiquette dictates that you must first inform the terrorists holding the hostages of the exact time you plan to rescue the hostages,” tweeted one person in reply.

“Lol stop. They asked that??” tweeted another.

“Did you answer AFTER you stopped laughing?” tweeted a third.

The Jewish Press headlined its story on the exchange, “Showing Incredible Self Restraint, Israeli Guest Does Not Call BBC’s Helena Humphrey a Moron.”

‘There was a significant firefight’

However, Conricus attempted to convey a serious point during the interview regarding the complicity of Gazan civilians in Hamas’s crimes.

“The whole civilian issue here needs to be analyzed impartially and understood,” he said. “According to the reports I have gotten and also even statements by a Hamas spokesperson, the Israeli hostages were held and jailed by Palestinian civilians in a Palestinian civilian area.”

He said the cooperation of the surrounding Palestinian civilian population begs investigation:

“Who were the people who jailed these Israeli civilians for eight months? Why did they do it? What was the role of the surrounding community and the hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians who for sure were aware of the fact that the Israeli hostages were being held in their midst? And why were they complicit with Hamas?”

Humphrey pushed back on Conricus, saying, “We don’t know that they were necessarily complicit with Hamas, all of the casualties that were incurred.”

Some 200 Gazans were killed in the attack, Hamas claims.

Conricus said that “there was a significant firefight” between the IDF and Hamas terrorists during the operation.

“According to testimonies of Israeli soldiers, there were RPG rockets, heavy machine gun fire, and grenades being thrown. And I think we cannot rule out that at least some of the alleged Palestinian casualties were the result of a reckless Palestinian fire,” he said.

“They may have been the result of Israeli fire, we don’t know. But the bottom line … again, just like we saw in Rafah about three months ago, Israeli civilians were held hostage by Palestinian civilians.”

The operation saw the release of four hostages: Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv. All were abducted from the Supernova music festival on Oct. 7. They were held hostage for nearly eight months.

Asked by Humphrey whether the raid risked ceasefire talks, Conricus rejected a ceasefire as “an aim to aspire to.” Rather, Israel should aspire to “victory.

“Victory in order to defend Israeli civilians back home. Victory in order to get the hostages back. And the ceasefire, in my humble opinion, is a defeat for Israel and a victory for Hamas,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ynet reported that Lama Tatour, an Arab Israeli actress who hosted “Perspective,” a cultural program in Arabic on Israel’s Keshet network, was fired after posting a picture of Argamani along with some callous comments.

“This is how a hostage looks after 9 months of captivity? Her eyebrows look better than mine! Her skin! The hair! The nails! For this innocent children and women had to be killed,” Tatour posted on Instagram.

The show’s producer, Khaled Natour, told her: “You can’t write something like that; it’s a happy day for the State of Israel.”

She replied: “Jews said similar things.” Natour immediately suspended her.

Shortly thereafter, Keshet fired Tatour, Ynet reported.

“We strongly condemn the statements made by actress Lama Tatour today on social media,” the channel stated.

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