J'lem diplomats briefed on 'hasbara'

Foreign Ministry instructs officials to emphasize launching of rockets from residential areas.

rocket 224.88 (photo credit: Avi Hayun/ GPO)
rocket 224.88
(photo credit: Avi Hayun/ GPO)
Officials in Jerusalem began laying the grounds for a large hasbara campaign to try and show the world that Israel's actions in Gaza were "careful" and the harming of civilians was "impossible to avoid" when Hamas terrorists were using civilian grounds to launch rockets into Israel. Foreign Ministry Director-General Aharon Abramovitch called an emergency meeting on Saturday night to initiate a range of public relations activities with international groups and foreign media outlets. Israeli diplomats have been asked to deliver the message that 150 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel since Wednesday. 'The rockets were fired from residential communities while intentionally putting Palestinian residents living in the area at risk… Israel is carefully acting to avoid harming innocent people but at times this is impossible to prevent,' the diplomats have been instructed to say. Meanwhile, Maj. Avital Leibovich, a spokeswoman for the IDF, called Saturday's action, which involved ground, armored and air forces, a "pinpoint operation" provoked by a rocket attack on Ashkelon earlier in the week. That attack, which was followed Saturday by seven rocket assaults on the coastal city of 120,000, struck closer to Israel's heartland than ever before, and widened the circle of Israelis at risk. Leibovich blamed the high civilian toll on Hamas's practice of using homes to store and produce projectiles. AP contributed to this report.