Amira Hass

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Amira Hess.
Amira Hass
Amira Hass foto.jpg
Born (1956-06-28) 28 June 1956 (age 58)
Nationality Israeli
Alma mater Hebrew University
Occupation Journalist
Years active 1989 - present
Employer Ha'aretz
Known for Coverage of daily life in Palestinian territories

Amira Hass (Hebrew: עמירה הס‎; born 28 June 1956) is an Israeli journalist and author, mostly known for her columns in the daily newspaper Ha'aretz. She is particularly recognized for her reporting on Palestinian affairs in the West Bank and Gaza, where she has also lived for a number of years.


The daughter of two Holocaust survivors,[2] Hass is the only child of a Sarajevo-born Jewish mother, who survived nine months in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and a Romanian-born Jewish father.[3] Hass was born in Jerusalem, and was educated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she studied the history of Nazism and the European Left's relation to the Holocaust. Early in her career, she traveled widely and worked in several different jobs.

For some years during the 1980s, Hass lived in Amsterdam, being married to a Dutch man. She became fluent in Dutch and was involved with various Left-wing, Feminist and Jewish dissident groups. However, her marriage broke down and she returned to Israel.

Until 1989, Hass wrote occasionally for low-circulation left-wing magazines, but was not known to the general public. Her journalistic career was launched due to the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Ha'aretz looked urgently for a reporter to go to Romania and cover the unfolding events. Amira Hass had a cultural Romanian background and some knowledge of the language, and was willing to take the assignment at very short notice. Her series of in-depth reports from Romania got wide attention and gained her a job as a regular staff editor for Ha'aretz.

Frustrated by the events of the First Intifada and by what she considered their inadequate coverage in the Israeli media, she started to report from the Palestinian territories in 1991. As of 2003, she is the only Jewish Israeli journalist who has lived full-time among the Palestinians, in Gaza from 1993 and in Ramallah from 1997. On various occasions she stated her opinion that "Just as reporting about England should be from London and about France from Paris, so reporting about Palestine should be from Palestine".

Hass was the recipient of the World Press Freedom Hero award from the International Press Institute in 2000,[4] the Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Award in 2002, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in 2003, the inaugural award from the Anna Lindh Memorial Fund in 2004 and Hrant Dink Memorial Award in 2009.[5]

Her reporting is generally sympathetic to the Palestinian point of view and critical of Israeli government policy towards the Palestinians. During the years of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, however, Hass published several highly critical articles about the chaos and disorder caused by militias associated with the Fatah party of Yasser Arafat and the bloody war between Palestinian factions in Nablus.

Her reportage of events, and her voicing of opinions that run counter to both official Israeli and Palestinian positions has exposed Hass to verbal attacks, and opposition from both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Recently she compared Israeli policies towards the Palestinian population to those of South Africa during Apartheid, saying:

'The Palestinians, as a people, are divided into subgroups, something which is reminiscent also of South Africa under apartheid rule'[6]

Legal issues[edit]

Defamation case[edit]

In June 2001, Judge Rachel Shalev-Gartel of the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ruled that Hass had defamed the Jewish settler community of Beit Hadassah in Hebron and ordered her to pay 250,000 shekels (about $60,000) in damages. Hass had published accounts by Palestinians that claimed Israeli settlers defiled the body of a Palestinian militant killed by Israeli police; the settlers said that the event did not take place and that Hass had falsely reported the story with malicious intent.[7] The presiding judge found in favour of the settlers, saying that television accounts contradicted Hass's account and ruling that Hass's report damaged that community’s reputation. Ha'aretz indicated that it did not have time to arrange a defense in the case and indicated that it would appeal the decision.[8] Hass said that she had brought forward sourced information from the Palestinian community and said that it was the responsibility of newspaper editors to cross-reference it with other information from the IDF and the settler community.[9]


On 1 December 2008, Hass, who had traveled to Gaza aboard a protest vessel, had to flee the strip due to threats to her life after she criticized Hamas.[10] She was arrested by Israeli police on her return to Israel for being in Gaza without a permit.[11]

After residing in the Gaza Strip for several months, Hass was again arrested by Israeli police upon her return to Israel on 12 May 2009 "for violating a law which forbids residence in an enemy state."[12]

In April 2013, Hass wrote an article in Haaretz defending Palestinian rock throwing, calling it "the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule".[13] She was criticized by left-wing politician Yossi Beilin[14] and Adva Biton,[15][16] whose three-year-old daughter was critically injured during a Palestinian rock attack.[17] The Yesha Council filed a complaint with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and the police, accusing Hass of incitement to violence and pointing out that stone throwing has caused serious injuries and death among Israelis.[18]


On 27 June 2001, Hass received the Golden Dove of Peace Prize awarded by the Rome-based organization Archivo Disarmo.[19]

In September 2009, Hass received the Hrant Dink International Award, with Alper Görmüş.[20]

On 20 October 2009, Hass received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women's Media Foundation.[21]

In December 2009 she was awarded the Reporters Without Borders Prize for Press Freedom "for her independent and outspoken reporting from the Gaza Strip for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz during Operation Cast Lead, the offensive which Israel waged against the territory from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009."[22]



  1. ^ "Amira Hass". IWMF. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Kreisler, Harry (2010). Political awakenings: conversations with history. The New Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-59558-340-6. 
  3. ^ Chris Kutschera. From inside an Israeli prison The Middle East. 15 January 2008
  4. ^ "World Press Freedom Heroes: Symbols of courage in global journalism". International Press Institute. 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Hrant Dink Ödülü Görmüş ve Hass'a'". Milliyet. 15 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "Criticism of Israel Is not 'anti-Semitism'". Arab News. 2006-09-05. 
  7. ^ "'Ha'aretz' journalist ordered to pay Hebron residents NIS 250,000". Jerusalem Post  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 2012 [last update]. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "'Ha'aretz' journalist ordered to pay Hebron residents NIS 250,000", Jerusalem Post, 8 June 2001.
  9. ^ Eli Pollak and Yisrael Medad, "The accomplice", Jerusalem Post, 16 March 2003, 3.
  10. ^ "Haaretz journalist wrote an article from the Gaza Strip against Hamas, and was forced to flee because of threats on her life". Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2008. 
  11. ^ "Haaretz journalist Amira Hass detained by Sderot police after Gaza trip - Haaretz". Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "Haaretz reporter Amira Hass arrested upon leaving Gaza". 12 May 2009. Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2009. 
  13. ^ Hass, Amira. "The inner syntax of Palestinian stone-throwing". Haaretz. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  14. ^ Beilin, Yossi. "Violence is never legitimate". Israel HaYom. 
  15. ^ Beiton, Adva. "עמירה, תראי את אדל שלי נלחמת על חייה". Maariv. 
  16. ^ "Mother of Girl Injured by Stone Throwing Responds to Ha’aretz: "Come to the Intensive Care Unit, and See My Adele"". Algemeiner Journal. April 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ Kelner, Yaron (March 15, 2013). "Mother of girl hurt in Samaria recounts attack". Ynetnews. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ Kalman, Aaron (April 4, 2013). "Settlers accuse Haaretz writer of inciting violence". Times of Israel. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Israeli journalist among those awarded Italian peace prize", Associated Press Newswires, 28 June 2001.
  20. ^ Today's Zaman, 17 September 2009, Journalists Görmüş and Haas receive International Dink Award
  21. ^

External links[edit]