חשיפה: חמושים מסיני פרצו לאחרונה לשטח ישראל, וירו על מסוק חיל האוויר
حصري: مسلحون من سيناء اقتحموا مؤخرا الحدود الاسرائيلية وأطلقوا النار على مروحية حربية
Yesterday, Israel’s military censor, Brig. Gen. Ariella Ben Avraham, prohibited Yediot Achronot from reporting about a newsworthy portion of a speech PM Netanyahu delivered to Likud Party faithful in which he bragged about Israel’s fight against Islamist terror. Why? Because Netanyahu publicly revealed that Sinai militants (whom he lumped together under the convenient term, ISIS) penetrated Israeli territory and fired a missile at an Israeli military helicopter. Bibi’s boast involved reporting to his acolytes that Israel then attacked the cell and wiped it out. He does not say whether they were attacked on Israeli or Egyptian territory. If the latter, then Israel violated Egyptian sovereignty in doing so.
The video, which I didn’t have access to yesterday, is now widely posted on YouTube and elsewhere. Above, you’ll find Bibi’s entire speech (the Sinai section begins around 14:35) and the portion highlighting the Sinai attack just below it.
Another reason for censoring the news is that is exposes weaknesses in Israel’s border defenses. After spending billions on a supposedly air-tight border fence and installing all manner of sophisticated audio-video surveillance devices in a state-of-the-art system, a bunch of desert Bedouins succeeded in penetrating it. Why did they get so far as to be able to infiltrate into Israel with an anti-aircraft rocket launcher and launch a missile? Some general should have egg on his face.
Here is what Bibi says in the video:
You should know that on the Sinai border, not too long ago, ISIS fighters fired on one of our helicopters. In penetrating our border, they crossed into our territory. We liquidated them. We faced a concentration of ISIS fighters in Sinai and we stopped them dead in their tracks.
UPDATE: Subsequent Israeli media reports indicate that Netanyahu wasn’t speaking about an incident that happened “not too long ago.” In fact, it happened in 2011 and was widely covered in the Israeli media at the time. It was, as Yossi Melman indicates, a major IDF security lapse (as I reported at the time). In his speech, Netanyahu boasts about countries which cannot control their borders and points out how impregnable Israel’s borders are. This incident in fact points out the opposite. Several different groups of Sinai attackers penetrated Israeli territory and conducted running gunfights over several hours with IDF forces. Even worse, Israel pursued some of the attackers into Egyptian territory and killed Egyptian police who were also pursuing the militants. Finally, the Sinai militants weren’t allied with ISIS as Netanyahu claimed. In fact, they were Bedouins affiliated, if anything, with al Qaeda. Not that Netanyahu would know the difference or care. All of this makes both Bibi a liar and the censor look like even more of an idiot than she already is. I thought about titling this post: Bibi Lies, Israel Cries, and the Censor Doesn’t Think Twice!
This information is updated from yesterday’s post, which I wrote based on a report from an Israeli source. I had not yet seen the video myself. Bibi’s remarks portray the incident somewhat differently than what I posted yesterday.
Apparently, the prime minister can boast to the Party faithful about the exploits of the IDF in wiping out terrorists. But the rest of Israel may not know that Sinai militants penetrated Israeli territory and launched a terror attack against the IDF. If this isn’t schizophrenia, I don’t know what is.
Apparently, the Likud hasn’t gotten the censor’s memo as there are multiple videos of his entire speech, including the portion in which he speaks of the attack.
האסור לחזור על הסוד שגילה נתניהו לפעילי ליכוד מגחיך עוד יותר את הצנזורה שמחמירה לאחרונה את גישתה ראיון איתי בעין ה7https://t.co/ht2BoVk5h0
— Yossi Melman (@yossi_melman) October 3, 2016
I’m tempted to say that Censor Ben Avraham is a fool. But wouldn’t that be obvious? Who is she protecting? Israel’s security? And who does she work for? You see, this is the problem with having a military censor: she’s employed by the army and so represents its interests, or her perception of them. She doesn’t represent the public as a political appointee might. And why does Israel think that a military censor would do a good job of protecting Israel’s security interests, when she’s more interested in protecting the asses of the generals who might be taken to task for permitting the infiltration in the first place?
Yossi Melman, one of Israel’s veteran national security reporters is having his own private battle with Ben Avraham, which I documented here. He writes in this tweet:
The prohibition against reporting the secret which Netanyahu revealed to the Likud activists is yet another self-inflicted wound on the part of the censor…
Thanks to Ronnie Barkan for editing the video featured above.