Hamas’s Interior Ministry issued guidelines to Gaza social media users on how they should report events, advising them to depict all casualties as “innocent civilians,” and not to show evidence of rockets fired from population centers.
According to a report by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) on Thursday, the campaign is being called the “Be Aware – Social Media Activist Awareness Campaign,” and an instructional video was posted on its official website and social media accounts.
“The guidelines are aimed at ensuring preservation of the line of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations, preventing the leaking of information that would be of military value to Israel, bolstering Hamas’s propaganda efforts outside the Gaza Strip in both the Arab world and the West, and preventing damage to Hamas’s image,” the report said.
According to the Hamas guidelines: “Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add ‘innocent civilian’ or ‘innocent citizen’ in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.”
One of the directives said that Israel should always be shown as attacking, and “we in Palestine are fulfilling [the role of] the reaction.”
Another stated: “Avoid publishing pictures of rockets fired into Israel from [Gaza] city centers. This [would] provide a pretext for attacking residential areas in the Gaza Strip. Do not publish or share photos or video clips showing rocket-launching sites or the movement of resistance [forces] in Gaza.”
There were also guidelines on how to speak to Westerners on social media as opposed to Arabs.
“When speaking to the West, you must use political, rational, and persuasive discourse, and avoid emotional discourse aimed at begging for sympathy.”
Also, “Avoid entering into a political argument with a Westerner aimed at convincing him that the Holocaust is a lie and deceit; instead, equate it with Israel’s crimes against Palestinian civilians.”
When speaking to an Arab emphasize “the number of martyrs,” but with “a Western friend, start with the number of wounded and dead.”