Terror victims group gears up for hasbara campaign
Almagor organization fears Obama will usher in period "where there is no serious global war on terror."
By RUTH EGLASH
An Israeli terror victims association is preparing to launch a new information campaign based on the fear that new US President Barack Obama will usher in a period "where there is no serious global war on terror."
The tour will take victims of Hamas terror on a speaking tour to the US and Europe, where they will tell their personal stories to the international community and justify Israel's three-week operation against the terror group in the Gaza Strip.
"We are hearing how many civilians were killed in Gaza all the time, but we feel that the focus needs to be widened in order to highlight how many Israeli civilians have also been killed by Hamas terrorists," said Meir Indor, head of the right-of-center terror victims association, Almagor.
Almagor has protested the release of Palestinian prisoners in prisoner exchanges, and strongly supported the IDF's offensive in Gaza.
Indor was in Sderot Monday to recruit Israel's most recent victims of terror for the tour, which is set to take place in the coming weeks.
"We are planning on meeting with members of the US Congress and their aides, as well as members of the Jewish community. We want to wake them up to how Israel suffers regularly from terrorism," said Indor.
He added that with Obama now in power, the trip is more important than in the past because, "we are about to enter a period where there is no serious global war on terror."
For Yossi Zur, whose 17-year-old son Assaf was killed by a Hamas suicide bomber on a Haifa bus in 2003, the decision to join Almagor's forthcoming speaking tour was an easy one.
"Seventeen people were killed in that attack; nine of them were under 17," recalled Zur of that fateful day in March when his son died on his way home from school. "He took that bus every day at the same time."
According to Zur, information about the suicide bomber, who was sent by Hamas, was later found showing that he chose that specific bus "because he knew it would be packed with school children.
"I think that the international media is very one-sided and believe that the main reason for this is something that I call the 'pain competition,'" he continued. "In 30 seconds, the TV media is not able to present the reality here. It is so much easier for them to play the pain game."
Zur said that since 2000, more than 1,200 Israeli have been killed by suicide bombers. He pointed to a recent Channel 4 documentary on suicide bombers, in which one declared that "every person in Israel can justifiably be killed because either they were once in a soldier or will become a soldier one day."
Alongside their frustration that the voice of Hamas terror victims is seldom heard in the international media, Zur and Indor feel that the government achieved very little during the recent conflict.
"Hamas is still in power, Gilad Schalit has still not been returned and, I read in the newspaper today that, within a year Hamas will have rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv," said Zur, referring to assertions made in an interview by Israel Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman.
Indor, who said he interviewed terror victims from the communities around Gaza Monday, added: "People in the South had very high expectations for this war and most of those whom I spoke to were disappointed that it had ended without any real results."
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