'Al-Dura probe will spur honest Israel coverage'

Steinitz: Report will discourage press from forging stories; Liberman tells Steinitz to stay out of public diplomacy.

May 21, 2013 02:17
1 minute read.
Yuval Steinitz

Yuval Steinitz 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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The revelations in the al-Dura case will discourage the foreign press from forging stories about Israel in the future, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.

“Even if we should have looked into the incident long ago, it was important to finish the investigation so that it would deter international media organizations that air dubious materials,” he explained.

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The government has no idea where Muhammad al-Dura can be found today, Steinitz added, and the IDF and Shin Bet have a lot of work to do other than search for him.

Steinitz spoke at length about his ministry’s efforts to fight delegitimization of Israel, saying that it is a battle that “can’t be won in a knock-out,” but must be fought.

The Strategic Affairs Ministry has a plan to fight delegitimization and is working and coordinating activities with many Jewish organizations around the world.

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman (Likud Beytenu) said that the government’s dealings with public diplomacy and fighting delegitimization is chaotic, because four offices deal with the issue: the Foreign Ministry, Strategic Affairs Ministry, Diaspora Affairs Ministry and the Jewish Agency.

“In order to make things efficient and have better results, we need there to be one office that coordinates all of the efforts,” Liberman suggested.

“The most natural thing is for the Foreign Ministry to take care of it.”

Liberman is a former foreign minister, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised he could return to the post if he is exonerated in his ongoing corruption trial. Relations between Liberman and Steinitz grew tense as the government was formed, following a Jerusalem Post report that Netanyahu considered giving the ministry to Steinitz if Liberman is convicted.

According to Liberman, the Strategic Affairs Ministry’s job should be to provide an in-depth examination of intelligence to the prime minister and cabinet and be responsible for the budgets of intelligence agencies.

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