Breaking: Israeli troops have crossed into Gaza, the Israeli military confirmed early Friday. No further details at this point… https://t.co/yUXDXfHIGm
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) May 13, 2021
In a much vaunted bit of trickery, the IDF deliberately lied to Israeli and foreign media claiming its forces had commenced a ground invasion of Gaza. Several hours layer, it “corrected” itself saying the previous statement had been in error. A number of major foreign media outlets were hoodwinked (see above tweet) and reported the original IDF claim.
As Israeli journalists probed the IDF public affairs staff, they discovered the elaborate hoax and its purpose. For some strange reason, the army believed Hamas commanders read the NY Times and make operational decisions based on its headlines. The IDF had planned, according to this report., to lure Palestinian militants into a trap which would bring hundreds of their fighters into the group’s elaborate underground defensive system, whereupon the IAF would bomb the tunnel network, burying the fighters alive. But Maariv reports today the ruse failed (Israel HaYom confirms the failure in its own reporting). Hamas did not bite, and its fighters lived to fight another day.
IDF sources told Maariv the plan had been carefully orchestrated over three years and the army had set great hopes for it. On the night in question, the IDF moved its tanks into position in a feint meant to tempt Hamas fighters. Netanyahu himself was prepared to host a press conference to boast about the success. But alas, it was not to be.
I was dubious as soon as I heard that the IDF had recanted its original report. I even approached an Israeli security source to ask if he could confirm any Hamas fighters had been caught in the attack. His response was a vague “we don’t know how many were killed.” Which needless to say, I found unconvincing.
The IDF’s credibility, if it had any, was shot and Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, the disseminator of the garbage claim, looks like a fool. A lying fool. The mainstream media doesn’t look much better. Falling for such a ruse is a beginner’s mistake. Especially when you’re dealing with an army known for its deceit and hoaxes. I doubt any reporters will learn a lesson from this. But I hope they will.
Compare Maariv’s straightforward, candid admission of IDF failure with this stenography by Haaretz’s Amos Harel who holds out hope the IDF did kill someone in some tunnel somewhere under Gaza despite all evidence to the contrary. And don’t believe everything you read in Haaretz (if you read Haaretz).
Today, in a further assault on foreign media, the IAF destroyed the Gaza office building housing the media offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. It seems not to care that the ICC is watching and that this clearly constitutes a war crime, not to mention an attempt to destroy media efforts to document Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
Foreign governments, including the US, have been silent. Pres. Biden’s claim to incorporate human rights into American foreign policy interests, doesn’t go much farther than the water’s edge, if that far. Press freedom is only important for domestic media. When it comes to foreign media, its on its own.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.