Edelstein: 'Hamas, bin Laden are the same gang'

Public Diplomacy Minister tells 20 Questions his views on the bin Laden execution, the Hamas-Fatah deal, and Israel's ongoing hasbara efforts.

20 questions 58 (photo credit: courtsey)
20 questions 58
(photo credit: courtsey)
This week’s 20 Questions hosts Yuli Edelstein, Likud MK and Public Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Minister.
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Edelsteinasserts that the argument that Israel has been using for years alongthe lines of, “see what they do and then they condemn us for doing thesame thing” doesn’t work. While Israel needs to remind the world thatHamas terrorists are copycats of Osama bin Laden, and that mourning thedeath of the Al Qaida “martyr” and condemning the “terrible, cruel actof the American administration in killing him” is inexcusable, Israelshould be focusing its hasbara efforts on showing a truer picture ofthe country’s reality.
Edelstein believes that the number one fallacy regarding the perceptionof Israel is that it is a war zone with its citizens sitting in bombshelters – an image, he says, perpetuated by the foreign presscorrespondents based here, whose primary mandate is to cover theconflict.
Edelstein’s office concentrates its energies on showing the worldIsrael’s flourishing democracy, and in particular, pointing out justhow relevant Israel is to billions of people around the world thatdon’t have the first idea that things ranging from USB sticks tocertain medicines would not exist if the Jewish state didn’t either.
Edelstein admits that the decision to release graphic photos of theFogel family was not an easy one to make. He added that the image ofGlenn Beck holding the pictures on Fox news without showing them to thecamera was more effective than publicizing the photos themselves. 
Edelstein postulates that while sometimes the conflicting voices comingfrom the same government makes his job more difficult, it alsoillustrates how democratic and dynamic Israel is for allowing differentopinions to be openly expressed.
He also denounces the argument that two big parliamentary parties wouldbe better than having twenty different factions, explaining that thiswould not suit Israel’s young, mosaic society.
In response to the Hamas-Fatah unity, Edelstein believes that it isinevitable that anyone running for office from either the PA or Hamaswill compete in showing who hates Israel more and what they will do toIsrael if elected. However, he acknowledges the conundrum that Israelcan’t realistically sign a viable agreement with the PA as long asHamas continues to rule over half the Palestinian population.
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