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Israel: Media Spin Matters


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20150831.aspxStrategy Page:

August 31, 2015:


Israel is pressuring Hamas to admit that it is holding two Israeli civilians and to release them. Both of the captives have mental illness which is believed to have played a role in their entering Gaza. One of the men is an Ethiopian Jew while the other is an Israeli Arab. The Jewish captive has been held since September 2014 while the Israeli Arab has been held since April. Israel kept the captivity of these two men quiet until July in an effort to convince Hamas to release the two, which Hamas will not even admit it has them. Apparently Hamas leaders realize that holding Israeli soldiers for ransom is one thing but to use mentally ill Israelis, one African and the other Arab, might be more difficult to pull off and could backfire in the media. The Palestinian battle with Israel, which is constantly promoted in Palestinian media, is mostly one of symbolism. So media spin matters more than military or political reality.


Speaking of spin, in the West Bank the head (Abu Mazen) of the ruling PA (Palestinian Authority) is dealing with a PR crises. This all began when word got out that Mazen was seeking more money be spent on his new estate, which has been under construction since 2013 and is nearly complete. It is a five hectare (13 acre) walled compound outside Ramallah. The estate has a large garden, a helicopter pad, swimming pool, underground bunker and what is described as a palatial main building. Total cost for this is now about $14 million and that is an issue in the West Bank because the PA is always short of money and currently claims it cannot pay all the salaries for PA employees. Mazen says the estate is really for visiting dignitaries, a “guest house” so to speak. No one in the West Bank believes him and that is a growing problem.


One thing Israel and the PA agree on is that Lebanese Shia Islamic terror group Hezbollah is again trying to recruit West Bank Palestinians for attacks on Israel or Israelis. Hezbollah is financed by Iran and rarely does anything that Iran does not want done. The recruitment efforts have never disappeared but in the last few months have been more intense. While the PA and Hamas appreciate help from Hezbollah and Iran they don’t like outsiders running their own terror operations in the West Bank.


The 2012 Fatah and Hamas reconciliation agreement is apparently really dead. According to that deal the head of Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, was to become president of the reunited Palestinian people, at least until new elections could be held. These elections are not going to happen.................................(Snip)

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