Palestinian journalist: I wasn't the reason Hamas arrested peace activist

Amnesty International’s Israel office denounced her remarks and clarified that Khoudary has worked for them on a free-lance basis solely during the month of March 2019.

A member of security forces loyal to Hamas stands guard as supporters of former senior Fatah official Mohammad Dahlan take part in a rally marking the death anniversary of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in Gaza City November 9, 2017 (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
A member of security forces loyal to Hamas stands guard as supporters of former senior Fatah official Mohammad Dahlan take part in a rally marking the death anniversary of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in Gaza City November 9, 2017
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Palestinian journalist Hind Khoudary, who describes herself as a former researcher consultant at Amnesty International, denied on Monday that she was the reason why Hamas arrested a number of peace activists from the Gaza Strip for holding a Zoom chat with Israelis last week.
But she did not deny writing social media posts in opposition to the activities of the peace activists.
Hamas said on Saturday that its security forces arrested a number of Palestinians, including journalist and peace activist Rami Aman, for “engaging in normalization activity with the Israeli occupation via the internet.”
Hamas said that the activity of the peace activists was tantamount to treason.
The arrest of Rami Aman and his colleagues came after several Palestinians, including Khoudary, took to social media to condemn the Zoom chat with Israelis as an act of normalization “with the Israeli enemy.”
The link between the arrest of the Gaza peace activists and Khoudary hit the public eye, after The York Times reported this week that she  posted angry denunciations on Facebook of Aman and some of his colleagues who participated in the video conference chat with Israelis.
Responding to the controversy surrounding her Facebook posts, Khoudary said on Monday: “I have been witnessing a lot of bullying, threats and hate since the New York Times article was released. I would like to make a couple of stuff clear, as no one came and asked what I think of what was mentioned in the article. I was mentioned without being noticed, interviewed or asked.”
She continued, “I am not the reason for Rami Aman’s arrest, and this is not the first time he gets arrested. I am not Hamas, and I don’t support Hamas. I am a Palestinian that has been working for years to defend my people and everyone knows that. I was also arrested by Hamas one day and I know how it feels.”
Last week Khoudary tagged three senior Hamas officials to ensure her posts against the peace activists got their attention: Salama Marouf, director of the Hamas Government Press Office, Eyad al-Bozom, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Interior, and senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad.
After the arrest of Aman and his colleagues, Khoudary deleted the Facebook post.
On Monday Khoudary explained that she did not tag Hamas officials in her Facebook posts against Rami Aman to get him arrested but as a protest against normalization activities.
“I tagged them because Rami was released before after the same normalizing activities and people were accusing Hamas officials that they knew what Rami was doing,” she added. “What I requested was a clear status of how these activities are happening from Gaza,” Khoudary said.
“I want all the normalization activities he is doing with Israel from Gaza to stop immediately because any joint activities, cooperation or dialogue with Israelis is unacceptable, even engaging with Israeli “peace activists,” she said.
However, in other Facebook posts by Khoudary expressed last week she expressed the hope that the peace activists would not only be summoned for interrogation. “All normalization activities must stop,” she wrote. “I hope there will be a statement clarifying the measures that will be taken to stop such activities. The government in Gaza must prove that it does not agree to these activities that are organized by Aman and his friends.”
In another post, Khoudary wrote: “How do we allow someone like Rami Aman to talk on behalf of Gaza? Normalization was never an ordinary thing.”
In yet another Facebook comment, Khoudary said: “I really hate this person (Rami Aman). I’m willing to accept anything other than a person who makes normalization with the occupation. This is not the first time that Rami carries out such activities, and he always justifies his normalization.”
Former Human Rights Watch official Peter Bouckaert, a critic of Israel, condemned Khourday’s posts and said he removed her from a private Facebook group. “It is disgusting that a so-called ‘journalist’ got an activist for dialogue arrested by Hamas,” he said. “Hind was in a journalist group I run on Facebook and I kicked her out immediately. Conflicts are resolved through dialogue and understanding, not hatred.”
The UN Watch NGO that monitors the world body called on Amnesty International to fire Khoudary immediately. “A human rights group cannot employ an accomplice to Hamas terror, someone causes peace activists to be jailed and probably tortured,” the group said in a statement. “Amnesty should explain why they hired her in the first place, and why before they had cited her as a supposed journalist. It’s clear from her posts that Khoudary has been a long-time and open supporter of both Hamas and Hezbollah acts of terrorism against Israelis. Amnesty must conduct an independent inquiry into who at the organization knew of Khoudary’s support for terrorist violence.”
Amnesty International’s Israel office denounced her remarks and clarified that Khoudary has worked for them on a free-lance basis solely during the month of March 2019.
“Hind Khoudary has not worked for Amnesty International for more than a year and was only ever employed on a short-term freelance basis. Her personal views do not represent those of the organization. It is a matter of grave concern if the welfare of any individual has been put at risk,” Amnesty said.
Her sole contribution to Amnesty was to collect video materials during the Great March of Return protests along the fence that separates Gaza and Israel, including information Hamas violations against Gaza civilians who were protesting poor economic conditions in the Strip.
“As a result of this work she was detained and interrogated by Hamas security forces. During her interrogation she was subjected to ill-treatment and threats warning her not to carry out human rights work and that she could be accused of working as a foreign agent,” Amnesty said.
It added that “Amnesty International is an independent and impartial organization that adheres to the highest research standards in all its work. Any research outputs produced by Amnesty International are subjected to a rigorous review process including multiple layers of approvals by research managers and experts in policy and international law.”


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