A Palestinian protester carrying a tire near the Gaza security fence.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis accused Hamas of lying to the world and the international media of furthering the terrorist group’s goals by “publishing its lies rather than the facts,” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday. At least 60 Palestinians were killed by IDF forces in protests along the border fence of the Gaza Strip last week, though Hamas has said a significant number of those killed belonged to the group.
“For Hamas, lies are more important than lives,” Manelis charged, citing a television interview given by Hamas Politburo member Salah Bardaweil last week in which he said 50 of the protesters who were killed were Hamas members. “The number I am telling you is official.
Fifty martyrs from Hamas were martyred in this most recent battle,” he told Baladna, a Gaza-based TV station on Wednesday.
Hamas terrorist who reached the border fence between Gaza and Israel caught on camera explaining how Hamas forces civilians to participate in violence against Israel, May 16, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson's
“Hamas has continued to lie to the world, which is why their rare acknowledgments of truth are especially revealing,” Manelis said.
The senior IDF official also asserted Hamas used a host of ways to manipulate the situation to most negatively portray Israel, including paying women and children for attendance at the border protests, offering extra monetary incentives for injuries, providing free transportation to the fence and free Wi-Fi for anyone with a video camera. He also said undercover Hamas operatives managed the situation in the field, “as if to direct their own stage of the operation.”
“Hamas called it a ‘peaceful protest,’ and much of the world simply fell for it,” Manelis wrote. “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 US or Israel do not exist in Gaza. 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, it’s just fake.”
Manelis also cited Yahya Sinwar’s April 6 speech in which he said the goal of the protests was to “take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies.” He said none of the violence along the border had to occur if not for Hamas’s orchestration, and that IDF forces “acted with courage and restraint, following strict rules of engagement to ensure minimum civilian injury and loss of life while still protecting the border.”
“If in order to win the international propaganda war I need to lie like Hamas, then I prefer to tell the truth and lose. The IDF will win where it matters – protecting our civilians in the face of terror,” he concluded.
Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.