No special hasbara blitz over mosque arson

No special hasbara blitz

The sharp condemnations of the Yasuf mosque arson issued over the weekend by President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman were distributed to foreign journalists in Jerusalem, but the government made no special hasbara efforts targeting the Arab media. The arson, allegedly carried out by the extreme-right wing trying to extract a "price tag" for the decision to freeze housing starts in the settlements, raised concern in Jerusalem that it would trigger violent responses. The Organization of Islamic Conference condemned the action in harsh terms. "The profanation of the mosque and the torching of Koran copies found in it, and the spraying of racist graffiti slogans on the mosque's walls against Islam and Moslems represent a blatant aggression against the sanctity of sacred places," OIC secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in a statement on Saturday. AFP quoted him as saying the incident "confirms the urgent need for the international community to intervene in order to compel Israel to put an end to its aggressions and comply with the stipulations of international law and the Geneva Convention." Nevertheless, diplomatic sources said the issue did not receive disproportionate coverage in the international media, including the Arab media, and since this was an internal incident that was condemned harshly by top government leaders, there was no need to launch a special hasbara campaign to deal with it. The condemnations issued by the country's leaders were translated into English and distributed to the top media outlets in Jerusalem, including the Arab media outlets. Foreign Ministry officials said they received relatively few inquires by the media over the weekend regarding the incident.