In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis slammed Western media outlets for letting the Hamas terrorist group get away with lies over the weekly violent demonstrations near the Gaza Strip border fence. In the most recent clashes, when tens of thousands of rioters tried to storm into Israel, around 60 Palestinians were killed after they tried to target Israeli troops and perpetrate terrorist activities.
Manelis’ 1,000-word piece, titled ‘The Truth About Hamas and Israel’ began with a reminder of Hamas’ history of brutality, calling it “an internationally recognized terrorist organization funded by Iran.” Manelis said that “Hamas controls Gaza and has killed innocent Israeli, American, Brazilian, Kenyan, British, French and Chinese civilians.”
Manelis said that Hamas was successfully manipulating the media to ensure its lies catch wind, and it had been allowed to get away with severe distortions.
“Some in the media helped Hamas by publishing its lies rather than the facts. Hamas achieved negative media coverage about Israel after their first violent riot, on March 30, the first day of this propaganda operation. Hamas could have then claimed a propaganda victory, stopped the violence, and prevented many deaths. But for Hamas, lies are more important than lives.”
According to Manelis, if the media was doing its job properly, it should also have reported that by Hamas’ own admission, in a “rare acknowledgment of truth,” that the protesters were not innocent civilians but members of the organization.
“A senior Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, said in a May 16 interview with a Palestinian TV station: ‘In the last round of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas,’” Manelis wrote.
He also wrote that despite the media reports, the protesters did not arrive at the border fence spontaneously. Rather, the demonstrations were part of a meticulously planned campaign.
“The Hamas spokesmen orchestrated a well-funded terrorist propaganda operation,” he wrote.
“Behind the theatrics was a plan that threatened Israel’s border and civilians. Hamas provided free transportation from throughout the Gaza Strip to the border for innocent civilians, including women and children. Hamas hired them as extras, paying $14 a person or $100 a family for attendance, and $500 if they managed to get injured. Hamas forced all of their commanders and operatives to go to the border dressed as civilians, each serving as a director of an area, as if to direct their own stage of the operation.”
Manelis continued that “Hamas gave anyone with a video camera front-row access to the show and free Wi-Fi. The IDF had precise intelligence that the violent riots were masking a plan of mass infiltration into Israel in order to carry out a massacre against Israeli civilians. Hamas called it a ‘peaceful protest,’ and much of the world simply fell for it.
“The idea that this was a peaceful protest is the biggest lie of all, because the basic tenets required for a protest in a democracy like the U.S. or Israel do not exist in Gaza. Under Hamas’ control, there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no freedom of religion, no freedom of the press. There can be no such thing as a peaceful protest in Gaza, only gatherings organized, sanctioned and funded by Hamas. Calling this a protest isn’t fake news, just fake.
“Hamas can lie – to the world, to Palestinians and to their own commanders and operatives – but I am proud that the IDF will never lie or use Israeli civilians or soldiers as pawns. Some of Israel’s greatest friends might have preferred that we had looked better in the media this past week, but between vanity and truth, the IDF always chooses truth. It is that morality that sustains the IDF. The uniformed professional soldiers of the IDF may not photograph well compared with terrorists disguised as civilians, but we are honest about what we are and what we say. As the IDF spokesman, if I cannot source and cite material, I will not allow it to be published. I will not release any statement if the facts are in doubt,” Manelis wrote.