Notes from the information war

Sometimes I don’t have to go looking for insights; they appear in my email inbox. Here is an arbitrary collection of quotations from links that people sent me. This first one has an unexpected source:

…more generally, the word [occupier] means that Israel occupies all the land of Palestine. This, Hamas defines by the boundaries of the territory mandated by the League of Nations to Britain after World War I, minus the east bank of the Jordan that Britain sliced off to give to the Jordanian royal family and which is now Jordan.

So when Hamas talks about resisting the “occupier”, it is not just talking about resistance in Gaza.

Its occasional references to a long-term “truce” also must be understood. For Hamas, this does not mean a proper peace agreement with Israel. It means a cessation of violence, which could perhaps last for years, but under which it holds its options open.

And when Hamas says it is ready to accept a Palestinian state within the borders as they existed before the war in 1967, it does not follow that it would accept those borders as the last word. It hopes to re-establish Palestine as it once was.

Sometimes Hamas leaders come into the open. A few years ago I interviewed one of them, Dr Mahmoud Zahar, in Gaza. He referred to Israel as “a foreign body. It does not belong in the area”.

Dr Zahar has now declared that Israel’s attacks in Gaza have “legitimised” the killing of Israeli children. I doubt if he has changed his mind about Israel being a foreign body. — “The language of Hamas“, Paul Reynolds, World affairs correspondent, BBC News website [!]

And here is one that succinctly characterizes the information war that Israel must fight along with the military one:

Israel faces enemies in the field of world public opinion that add up to powerful de facto allies of the Hamas. This vast alliance, ranging from the UN to the Arab street to the looming inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the US, to the inevitable Rabbi Michael Lerner and the J Street alliance of Hamas groupies, cannot be defeated by Shaldag commandos, bunker buster bombs or military intelligence.

It was inevitable that Mahmoud Abbas, Hosni Mubarak and the other distinguished lights of Middle East diplomacy would orchestrate a caterwauling symphony of wailing about the “genocide” of the “Palestinian people” in public diplomacy and their government controlled media, while all the while urging Israel to wipe out the Hamas behind the scenes. Rafael military industries has not yet perfected an anti-J-Street device, and Golan soldiers are not equipped with anti-UN-General-Assembly missiles and anti-CNN radar chaff. — “Gaza: What now?“, Ami Isseroff

I have hopes that Isseroff is wrong about the future actions of the Obama Administration, but we shall see.

The next one illustrates the old saying “it’s not paranoia; they really are all against you’:

From the beginning of Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza on December 27, 2008 to January 8, 2009, 35 NGOs claiming to promote human rights and humanitarian agendas have issued more than 132 statements on the fighting, and the number increases continuously. These statements exhibit severe bias and double standards, focus overwhelmingly on condemning Israel, and ignore or pay little attention to Israeli human rights and casualties. Under the façade of morality and universality, they exploit international legal terminology and erase Hamas violations of international humanitarian law, such as the extensive use of human shields.

These reports are a central part of the “soft power” war being waged against Israel, in parallel to the “hard power” rocket and terror attacks, and reflect an ideological bias which also gives excessive attention to this conflict. In contrast many international NGOs have remained silent on extensive human rights abuses occurring around the world during this period. For example, on December 27 (the start of the operation), 189 villagers were massacred by Ugandan rebels in the Congo. Yet, none of the major NGOs reported on this incident. — NGO Monitor

Finally, a great one from the folks that brought us Muhammad al-Dura:

French public television network France 2 on Tuesday revealed they had aired photographs that allegedly showed destruction caused by the Israel Air Force during Operation Cast Lead, which were in fact taken during a different incident in 2005, one in which Gaza civilians were killed by an explosion caused by militants in the Strip.

The footage aired on Channel 2 on Tuesday afternoon showed dozens of dead bodies, including Hamas gunmen and citizens, which the channel said were killed by an IAF bombing raid on January 1st. It later came to light that the channel had instead aired footage of the devastation caused after a truck full of explosives blew up in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp. — Ha’aretz (h/t: Simply Jews)


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