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The Israeli Propaganda War - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Lebanese have become forcibly familiar with the propaganda campaign being waged in parallel to the brutal and comprehensive Israeli attacks on their country. At the heart of this campaign are the leaflets that are dropped by Israeli planes on Lebanese citizens in the south or in Beirut. These leaflets warn Lebanese civilians against supporting Hezbollah, criticized the party’s leaders in silly cartoon drawings, called on residents to flee their homes, and alleged that Israel is not targeting civilians! When leaflets were dropped on the capital’s southern suburbs, residents of the area realized that a difficult night was ahead… and so it proved to be!

From the start of its war on Lebanon, Israel has broadcast warnings via radio or loudspeakers in the south and by dropping leaflets. It appears the last method has become the preferred means of communication with the Lebanese, owing to the speed of their exchange amongst the Lebanese and through the local and international media.

Israel’s use of leaflets in this war is a familiar technique and certainly not innovative. One can only ponder the meaning behind dropping these leaflets and the implications in term of content and methodology. These leaflets appear as a sort of primitive way to communicate, as if modern means of communication have suddenly disappeared and been replaced by this deadly and harsh language.

Even the expressions used seem devoid of any life, as if they are produced by a machines trying to tell the Lebanese people that they are dealing with a senseless method of communication. When Israel uses the radio or loudspeakers to warn the Lebanese, an echo of the human race, even if feeble, is still noticeable. But the leaflets signed by the “State of Israel” suggest a primitive evil.

As Israel prepared itself militarily for the war on Lebanon, it also readied a propaganda campaign that is no less ferocious and severe. It has not spared the Lebanese media and has bombed the offices of “Al Manar” TV, Hezbollah’s official channel. Israeli war planes have also destroyed the transmission stations and broadcasting antennas of several radio and television stations.

Even the recorded phone messages, which have often awakened Lebanese civilians at night, contain warnings from the State of Israel not to support Hezbollah. It is clear that the individual delivering these messages are not fluent in Arabic; their enunciation resembles that of a robot. All this makes the people of Lebanon feel they are confronting a strange enemy whose image is now of pure evil.

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a veteran war correspondent, having covered both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained worldwide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004.

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