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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The media's role in Hamas' war strategy

Richard Landes has written a seminal piece on the media's role in Hamas' war strategy. It's required reading.
According to its critics, Hamas’ war strategy works like this:
  1. Episodically attack Israel’s civilians in such as way as to provoke a counter-attack.
  2. Hide behind Palestinian civilians (preferably in crowded neighborhoods, schools, and hospitals), while encouraging them, even forcing them, to stay, guaranteeing that the return fire wounds or kills civilians and damages civilian structures.
  3. Encourage the Western news media to play up the civilian suffering, play down Hamas’ role in it, and accuse Israel.
  4. Conjure a firestorm of outrage around the world that eventually pressures Israel into desisting from counteroffensive measures.
  5. Survive to reap the propaganda victory and prepare the next round of hostilities.
  6. Repeat, with each exchange hurting Israel more, and each round of international news coverage further savaging the Jewish State’s international reputation.
No matter what the Israeli response, the Hamas strategy is win-win. If the Israelis abort a strike to avoid civilian casualties (as they often do), then Hamas is spared the blow; if an Israeli strike causes civilian casualties, Hamas has dead babies to parade before the cameras. And eventually, the bloodletting will get so bad, the pictures so damning, that Israel will stop. Hamas’ endgame goals, at least at this stage of its asymmetrical war, are actually threefold: tie Israel down with constraints on its use of power, delegitimize and demonize it in the eyes of the world, and stir an aggressive “Muslim Street” in the West, where genocidal chants can lead to pogroms against the Jews worldwide.
Read the whole thing.

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