A journalism museum in Washington DC says it will honor two Hamas-member journalists killed during Operation Pillar of Defense in November.

Newseum announced on its website this week that it plans to add Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama to its journalists memorial, a two-story structure of glass panels etched with the names of over 2,000 “reporters, photographers and broadcasters who have died reporting the news.”

Al-Kumi and Salama were killed on November 20 by an Israeli air strike during the height of hostilities with Gaza. Both were Hamas members and worked at the time for the Al-Aqsa television network, which is funded by Hamas.

According to Al-Aqsa at the time, the IDF targeted their vehicle even though it was clearly marked “TV.”

Mahmoud Al-Kumi (L) and Hussam Salam honored on the Newseum website (photo credit: screen capture www.newseum.org)

Mahmoud Al-Kumi (L) and Hussam Salam honored on the Newseum website (photo credit: screen capture www.newseum.org)

In response, the IDF issued a statement accusing the Al-Aqsa network of acting as the voice of terror by featuring programs that praise and incite attacks on Israeli civilians. Moreover, the IDF claimed that al-Kumi and Salama functioned as Hamas operatives, in addition to being Al-Aqsa cameramen, and were targeted on November 20 for their terror ties.

On Newseum’s website, al-Kumi and Salama are described as cameramen who “were covering fighting between Israel and the militant group Hamas when a missile hit their vehicle.”

The museum did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

In November, Al-Aqsa head Mohammad Thouraya denied the IDF accusations of incitement, and told Al-Jazeera that “we are not the voice of Hamas. We are the voice of the Palestinian people, the voice of the resistance… we try to make sure the Palestinian people stay strong, the resistance is strong, and we show them we are winning. We want to make them resilient,” he said.

However, in 2010 the US Treasury Department singled out Al-Aqsa as “a television station financed and controlled by Hamas. Al-Aqsa is a primary Hamas media outlet and airs programs and music videos designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood.”