Islamism,  Israel,  Israel/Palestine

Independent cites testimony of convicted PLO gun-runner

This is a cross-post from Just Journalism.

Yesterday, Just Journalism reported how, as part of a wider trend in the media of de-emphasising the radical nature of some of the members of the flotilla, several key individuals had not been mentioned in the press.

One of the most prominent is the Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, who, as this BBC News article from 2009 reported, ‘served time in an Israeli jail in the 1970s for smuggling arms for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)’, which at the time was still openly conducting attacks against Israel.

This morning, The Independent mentioned the Archbishop in two different articles – both of which portrayed him uncritically, without mentioning his history of supporting violence against Israel.

In print, Adrian Hamilton’s ‘Israel had few enough friends to start with’ comment piece included a photo of Cappuci, with the following caption:

‘The testimonies of released Gaza flotilla activists, such as Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, with further harm Israel’s reputation’

The Archbishop was also quoted in an article of testimonies from activists:

‘Our trip to Gaza was a trip of love, and God was with us, Israel by its actions had rightly drawn world outrage over its brutality against unarmed people carrying a message of love to an innocent occupied people under siege’

Given how Archbishop Hilarion Capucci was convicted for supplying weapons to an organisation that at the time was openly committed to violence, it is noteworthy that The Independent has uncritically cited him simply as a religious leader whose criticisms will harm Israel’s reputation.


Update: the Muslim Brotherhood was very pleased to have Capucci on board. The convicted arms smuggler was noted by Mohammed Sawalha, the fugitive Hamas commander and convoy organiser, and hailed for his “honorable national stands”.

For his part, deputy head of the international committee for breaking the siege Mohamed Sawalha said that the participation of father Capucci has a symbolic importance for he is one of the most prominent Palestinian national figures who stood in the face of the Israeli occupation.

More than 30 years ago, the Israeli occupation exiled father Capucci from Palestine because of his honorable national stands.

Here he is at the last press conference before the convoy departed for Gaza, sharing the platform with Mohammed Sawalha and Bulent Yildirim, the president of IHH.

Capucci was on message at the press conference:

In order to arrive in our homeland, we will be resisting Israel no matter how harsh or destructive it may get.