Israeli army accused of using media to deceive Hamas

Jerusalem (AP) — After midnight on Friday, Israeli forces issued an ominous statement to the media: “IDF Air Forces and Ground Forces are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.”

A brief statement sparked enthusiastic speculation that Israel had launched a ground invasion of Gaza. This is a highly feared scenario that shows the bloody escalation of this week’s operation against the Hamas militants. Some reporters were completely told that the invasion had begun.

A few hours later, the military announced an “explanation.” There was no military in Gaza. However, by that time, some major media outlets had falsely reported that a ground attack was underway.

The military tried to downplay the case as a misunderstanding, but properly-placed Israeli army commentators helped the media lure Hamas militants into a deadly trap that might have killed dozens of fighters. He said it was used as part of an elaborate ploy.

“They didn’t lie,” said veteran military correspondent Or Heller on Israeli Channel 13 television. “It was an operation. It was smart and successful.”

This is how it evolved:

At the end of Thursday, a few days after the airstrikes, Israel announced that it had called in thousands of reserves and gathered troops along the border ahead of a possible ground invasion. Another sign of escalation was that Israeli tanks located along the border fired at targets in Gaza.

In previous combat rounds, ground invasions caused widespread destruction in Gaza, resulting in many casualties on both sides.

That was the stage of late-night deception. According to Heller, Israel began scrambling troops along the border in what appears to be the final preparation for the invasion. Later, the media received an announcement on Twitter that was published simultaneously in Hebrew and Arabic. Warnings that the invasion was in progress followed at the major outlets.

According to Heller and other Israeli reports, the Israeli movement hastened Hamas fighters to defensive positions in the underground network of tunnels known as the Metro.

Israel called 160 military planes and bombarded the tunnel for 40 minutes, the military said. Heller said it was impossible to say, but he said it was his understanding that dozens of militants were killed.

“What we saw tonight was a very sophisticated operation with a media side,” Heller said.

Hamas did not comment on the incident and it was impossible to confirm Israel’s report.

According to Heller, veteran Israeli correspondents who have close ties to the military and often served them find that Israel has no way to send troops across enemy fronts at this stage. Was there. Heller and other military correspondents even issued a statement on Twitter, assuring the jerky masses that there were no operations on the ground.

The Associated Press concluded that there was no ground intrusion, based on an analysis of military statements, telephone calls to military personnel, and ground reports in Gaza, and did not report any intrusion.

But others said they turned foreign media into some sort of accessory by misleading them or lying when asked to clarify them.

Felicia Schwartz, a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, said he warned of news of a ground attack after receiving clear confirmation from military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.

In a statement posted on Twitter, she said Conricus told me directly that “Gaza has ground forces.” That was the basis of the first story that said. He withdrew the statement two hours later and I changed the story to reflect it. It is mentioned in the text and will be fixed. “

Conricus, who told reporters Friday morning, accused him of “internal misunderstandings.”

“These things can happen during complex operations where there are many moving parts and it’s unclear what’s going on,” he said. “As soon as I realized I had the wrong information, I clarified and updated the people involved.”

Military forces around the world have long used deception and tactics against their enemies. Two years ago, the Israeli army Forged soldier injuries reportedly At the site of the Hezbollah missile strike, helicopter evacuated to the hospital.

According to media reports at the time, the military staged the injured to trick Hezbollah into killing and injuring him and making him think he would agree to a ceasefire.

Friday’s misleading remarks further strained what was often an unstable relationship between the IDF and foreign media.

Former military spokesman for foreign media, Peter Lerner, has long said that the Israeli people are generally over-focused on the Palestinian side of the story, while minimizing Israeli concerns and suffering. He said he had felt-and the army is leaning as well.

Mr Lerner felt that the military was unlikely to lie intentionally, but said the damage still occurred.

“Your currency is credible,” he said. “I think this is a crisis of its credibility in the way it is portrayed.”