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Friday, November 10, 2006

Losing the media war

The IDF is reaching the conclusion that yesterday's shelling of a full house in Beit Hanoun was caused by a technical failure in the artillery. As a result, the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government is falling all over itself in apologetics and apopleptics. Never mind that the only reason shelling was going on anywhere near that house was that the 'Palestinians' have been shooting Kassams at Israeli civilians from among their own civilians, which is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention. Forget that the children of Sderot no longer remember what it's like not to wake up to the Red Dawn sirens every morning. The dhimmis are out in force this evening.

Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, fresh from the debacle of his handling of this summer's war in Lebanon, has ordered a stop to all artillery fire into the Gaza Strip "until further technical, professional and operational inquiries were completed." And defenseless Defense Minister Amir Comrade Peretz has ordered that "all artillery fire into the Gaza Strip must first be approved by OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant." So now, every time we want to retaliate for a Kassam, they will have to get Galant on the phone.

But worst of all is Olmert, who is falling over himself offering more and more concessions in response to 'Palestinian' calls for mass murder of Jews. Tonight, Olmert apologized again for yesterday's shelling, and sent a message to 'moderate Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen that he is willing to 'go far' in a projected meeting with Abu Mazen.
"He will be surprised when he sits with me at how far we are prepared to go,” Olmert said Thursday evening. “I can offer him a lot."
Yeah, yeah. We all remember another Ehud who 'offered a lot' - too much in fact - and ended up getting about 1000 Jews murdered. But Olmert's not talking about giving up territory this time - that's self-understood. This time, he wants to replenish the terrorist armies so that more terror attacks can be carried out:
Olmert said that he was prepared to release a large number of terrorists in talks with Abbas, saying he intended to release them even before IDF Corporal Gilad Shilat was kidnapped. "Even before Shalit's abduction, I met [Hashemite King of Jordan] Abdullah, [Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak, and [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair and told them that I am ready to release prisoners. I tell the Palestinians today – you don't know how many prisoners you can have if you were to release Shalit. I am ready to release them for Abu Mazen but not for Hamas."
Sounds like Olmert is trying to romance Abu Mazen, doesn't it? "Honey, I'll clean all the bathrooms and watch the kids all day on Saturday if...." Sickening, isn't it? But the 'Palestinians' aren't buying it. Not even the 'moderate' Fatah 'Palestinians':
Senior Fatah officials themselves openly called for terror attacks on Israeli civilians following the pre-dawn incident Wednesday morning in the Northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, in which the artillery shell strayed 500 meters off course, killing 19 and wounding 29 others. Just hours before Olmert’s statement, Fatah official Abdul Hakim Awad declared in Gaza: "The Zionist enemy understands only the language of force and therefore I say, an eye for an eye and a soul for a soul. There will be no security in Ashkelon, no security in Tel Aviv or Haifa, until our people in Beit Hanoun are secured."
Hearing and reading about this, I can only think back to a different time, a little more than nine years ago.

In September 1997, the Mossad botched an assassination attempt against none other than Khaled Meshaal in Jordan. King Hussein was furious. He forced Israel to give the Jordanians the antidote for the poison that was administered to Meshaal, and to release many 'Palestinian' prisoners terrorists, including Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin (who would later meet an Israeli helicopter after morning prayers in Gaza). At the time, I remember thinking that Bibi Netanyahu - who was then Prime Minister - was giving up way too much to free a couple of Mossad operatives who were being held prisoner in Jordan. But in retrospect, the times were different, the American President was different, a trial would have been tremendously embarassing to the Israeli government, and could have exposed a lot of the Mossad's operational methods, and at least Netanyahu wasn't falling over himself to make more and more concessions. And Hussein wasn't threatening mass murder - only a suspension in diplomatic relations.

Today, what the government ought to be doing is not apologizing, but defending itself by countering the propaganda that the 'Palestinians' are releasing. As an article in YNet summed it up today, "Want to win the media war? Don't apologize." The article interviewed Dr. Ra'anan Gissin, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's media adviser and strategist who now works as a foreign media expert.
"We have to understand that we have no choice but to win on all the fronts," says Gissin, "because if we don't win our range of our freedom to act will narrow. We must prepare for the media war as we prepare for the ground one – and that includes an operational doctrine, collecting intelligence and the appropriate preparations."

"So how is it done? You must broadcast the images of the terror groups hiding their rockets and launching those rockets from those residential areas. The world doesn't see enough of those images. Take one cell, don't destroy it, follow it and then show the world the images of the rockets being fired from within neighborhoods. Because if you kill the cell, and the world never sees it – the world won't believe it ever existed."
I suspect that Gissin is correct that most of the world has no idea that Israel was shelling in Beit Hanoun because the 'Palestinians' were shooting Kassams at Sderot and Ashkelon from among the civilian population. Yet Olmert is more interested in apologizing than in telling the truth. Zvi Mazel, Israel's former ambassador to Egypt and Sweden, believes that Israel mustn't apologize for Beit Hanoun.
"The world must be told in the clearest manner that the responsibility lies solely with the terror organizations, which bring it on themselves. Foreign Minister Livni should have convened the foreign press by that afternoon and explained to the journalists that terror groups operate from within the civilian population with the intent to draw the IDF there."
Yes, of course that's what the world should be told and what should happen. There's only one problem with that strategy: Livni's English sounds like pig latin. But this is Israel, and speaking English is not a qualification for any position in foreign service. Not for being the foreign minister and not for being the ambassador to the Court of St. James.
Mazel says that the world must understand that despite Israel's withdrawal from Gaza the Palestinians continue to relentlessly launch Qassam rockets at Israeli towns with the intent to kill.

"The world must understand that the lives of Israeli citizens have become hell – they can't work, they can't live, not to mention the economic damage. If Livni and her friends were saying that, then our situation would be completely different."
Yes, but to say that, the government would also have to admit that expelling all the Jews from Gaza was the first step on the way to national suicide, and that we will never ever ever do anything like that again. And that would leave the government without any policy initiatives other than keeping itself in power.
Mazel also disapproves of Israel's terminology. He says that Qassams should be called 'missiles', meant to kill civilians.

"Terror groups are committing crimes," he says, "and I believe that the foreign press won't be able to ignore that reality if it is presented in the clearest possible manner. We have nothing to apologize for – we are operating against an enemy which calls for our annihilation and that enemy forces us to fight in populated areas."

"I think that someone has lost it in this country – it's becoming obvious that the Israeli government doesn't know how to defend the state of Israel on the political and explanatory front."
Doesn't know how to or doesn't want to?

The truth is that the government doesn't want to defend the State of Israel. This government is so detached from true Jewish values that it is ashamed of the efforts that need to be made to ensure Jewish survival in the Land of Israel. Overcoming that shame is far more difficult than overcoming the government's poor public relations. The shame took forty-five years (1948-93 in case of any of you missed my allusion) to develop and ripen. It may take that long to undo it too, but first the government and the post-Zionist left will have to admit that they have a problem. And that is the hardest part of all.


At 5:10 AM, Blogger miriam sawyer said...

What you say is true, and scary.

At 5:48 AM, Blogger Tom Gara said...

I guess you're one of those guys who believe the shell was guided by god into that apartment building?

Your army shells an apartment building, kills a bunch of civilians, women and children, and you think that the biggest thing to be worried about is the P.R ramifications of apologising. Says a lot.


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