Tuesday, October 19, 1999 IDF using Israeli press for psych warfare By Aluf Benn, Ha'aretz Diplomatic Correspondent
The IDF is disseminating material prepared by its psychological warfare
unit in the Israeli press, by distributing items that it has previously
succeeded in getting into Arabic papers to Israeli journalists.
Most of these items relate to the severity of the threat from Iran
and Hezbollah, and are apparently aimed at strengthening the Israeli public's
perception of this threat.
Officers of the psychological warfare unit are in constant contact
with Israeli journalists, and give them translated material from Arabic
newspapers. At times, these officers have pressured journalists to publish
these reports. One journalist said a senior officer told him: "It's important
that you publish this item, and I tell you it is true. I know, because
I gave it to the [Arabic] paper myself."
The journalist said this official told him that the unit regularly
gets items into the Paris-based Arabic paper Al Watan Al Arabi, as well
as the London-based Foreign Report.
In one case, Israeli journalists were given an item from a Lebanese
paper about the Hezbollah's achievements in electronic warfare against
the IDF. When asked why the IDF was emphasizing Hezbollah victories, the
senior officer told the journalist: "This way, we can explain to the public
why the IDF needs to invest a lot in defending our soldiers in Lebanon."
Major General Amos Malcha, the head of military intelligence, and Brigadier
General Amos Gilad, the head of the IDF's research division, both consider
Iran to be the greatest threat to Israel's security, and have warned in
recent months that Iran plans to foment a wave of terror by Islamic extremist
organizations in order to disrupt the peace process and plans for an IDF
withdrawal from South Lebanon.
In late July, Al Watan Al Arabi published a "western intelligence report"
about a summit meeting that allegedly took place in a luxury villa in a
small town in Greece. The meeting reportedly included representatives from
Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad under the direct supervision of Iran's
spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
According to the report, the participants agreed on a joint plan of
action to disrupt the peace process and the withdrawal from Lebanon. The
main elements of this story, minus the colorful details about the location,
appeared a few days ago in the Israeli press as reliable information about
Iran's dangerous plans against Israel.