Foreign Ministry launches PR blitz

Campaign aims to change minds after Israel blamed for civilian deaths in Gaza.

livni sits 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
livni sits 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Armed with the IDF's findings that the seven Palestinian deaths on a Gaza beach Friday were not caused by Israel, the Foreign Ministry launched an information campaign Tuesday night to change the minds of a world that has already largely blamed Israel. The job, Foreign Ministry officials admitted, was not made any easier by the attack in Gaza City Tuesday that killed eight civilians and three terrorists. To read an analysis click here. In the later case, the officials said, Israel's message is simple: The Palestinians are responsible for endangering the civilian population by transferring Grad missiles in a populated area and using the population there as a human shield. Regarding Friday's attack, India and Japan issued statements Monday giving a good indication of what Israel is up against in trying to convince the world that it was not responsible. "India condemns the killing of innocent civilians, including women and children, in Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces in an unprovoked attack on Friday," the India Foreign Ministry said in a statement. A similar statement was issued by Japan, which was quick to blame Israel and issued a statement "on the Killing of Civilians in Israeli Artillery Fire." "The Government of Japan expresses its regret for the killing and wounding of many Palestinian civilians in the northern Gaza area. Japan extends condolences to the victims and to the bereaved families and offers sincere sympathy to those injured as a result of artillery fire by the Israeli Defense Forces." Following Tuesday's IDF press conference, the Foreign Ministry implemented a short-term media plan that included widespread appearances of Israeli spokesmen in the foreign media explaining the IDF findings, sending out talking points to Israel's representations abroad that include statistics on Kassam rocket firings toward Sderot and the western Negev and putting an IDF film-clip on the incident on the Foreign Ministry's web site. In explaining the recent events, the ministry is instructing its representatives abroad to stress the following points: "The Israeli Army is a cautious, professional, accurate and ethical organization. "Israel does not target innocents, yet must fight terrorists who willingly shield themselves behind their own population in their ongoing campaign to kill and maim Israeli civilians. "Not only do these terrorists use the Palestinian population for cover, they also manipulate and exploit the suffering they cause their own people in order to achieve fleeting advantages in their propaganda war against Israel and its legitimacy. "Since Israel's disengagement from Gaza last August, more than 500 terrorist rockets have fallen on Israeli civilian targets, including kindergartens, schools, homes and factories. "Daily life in those Israeli towns within rocket range has been turned upside-down, streets are deserted, factories have closed down, schools have been shut and children have been traumatized beyond measure. "The government of Israel bears the responsibility to protect the lives of its citizens, and to defend its territory and population from terrorist threat. Every other government would, in similar circumstances, act in a similar manner."