Netanyahu ally says government failed to properly explain Gaza operation to public

Akunis cited polls indicating that the public does not think Israel won in Gaza as proof of the failure.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 31, 2014 22:23
1 minute read.
IDF in Gaza strip

An Israeli soldier sits next to tanks at a staging area near the border with the Gaza Strip. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel's internal public diplomacy failed during Operation Protective Edge, deputy minister for liaison with the Knesset Ophir Akunis (Likud) charged Sunday in an interview with Israel Radio.

There has been much written about whether Israel's external public diplomacy to the foreign press succeeded during the operation. But Akunis was the first politician to allege a failure in how information about the military campaign was relayed to the Israeli public.

Akunis, who is a former spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, cited polls indicating that the public does not think Israel won in Gaza as proof of the failure. He suggested that the impression that Israel had in fact emerged victorious would have been internalized if explained better.

Asked about his comments by The Jerusalem Post, Akunis first tried to deny what he had said on the radio but then reiterated what he said.

"The public has not understood the sheer force Hamas endured," he said. "That the public does not understand this is a failure of internal public diplomacy."

Akunis stressed that he was not blaming any person or organization involved in explaining the operation. He made a point of saying he did not blame Netanyahu, the prime minister's staff, the Foreign Ministry, or the IDF Spokesman's Unit.

But Akunis did have criticism for Tourism Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu), who suggested in multiple media interviews that Israel had not won in Gaza.

"Uzi Landau has not missed an opportunity to slam the government he is part of," he said. "If he thinks such things, he should do the ethical and fair thing and quit the government."

Landau declined to respond to Akunis's attack.


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