Israel Foreign Ministry, April 10, 2002.
The Palestinian use of lies and disinformation has been well known for many
years but, in recent days it has reached new heights, the likes of which we
have not seen before.
The false reports published in the Palestinian media, or from time to time
by their spokespeople in the international media, have a double purpose: on the
one hand, to delegitimize Israel and, on the other hand, to distract world
attention from the Palestinian Authority’s deep involvement in terrorism.
The Palestinian collection of lies is particularly disturbing in light of the
well-known phenomenon that when a lie is repeated often enough it becomes
the truth, even if it has no basis.
Even more disturbing is the willingness of the international media to
serve as the instrument for publicizing the Palestinian claims, without checking
their veracity and knowing that in many cases they are without foundation. The
denials, if they are published later, receive much less publicity; by then, the
damage has been done.
Below are a few examples of fabrications disseminated by the Palestinians:
- One of the most popular themes, arising from the restrictions placed on
Arafat, is the fear for the life of the president. On March 31, Yasser Abed Rabo
said, in an interview to the Al Jazeera television station, that a warning was
received that the IDF would enter the compound in Ramallah, and that this step
was planned by Sharon with the intent to kill Yasser Arafat. The same day,
Hassan Asfor said to BBC radio that the IDF had broken into Arafat’s offices
and that the situation was dangerous, “on the brink of disaster”. Also on the
same day, Saeb Erekat said on Egyptian television that he was unable to make
contact with Arafat and that he feared for his life. Erekat repeated this in an
interview he gave to CNN on April 6.These fears were all proven to be unfounded.
- Jibril Rajoub (March 30, on MAHAD TV, a local television station in
Ramallah) accused Israel of carrying out a “massacre,” executing 30
Palestinians in Ramallah. The announcement was also broadcast on Al Jazeera
and other stations.The reality, of course, is different: in battles which took place on that day in
Ramallah, 9 Palestinians were killed – all of them armed.
- Palestinian television reported on April 2, on the basis of an official
announcement by the Palestinian leadership, that a priest named Jacques
Amathis had been killed and dozens of monks wounded in an IDF action in
Bethlehem. The announcement was published prominently in the Italian and
French media and prompted a storm of protest.The following day the ‘late” priest was interviewed by the MINSA agency and
confirmed that he and the monks in the monastery were safe and well.
- Arafat, in an interview to Al Jazeera television on April 3, claimed that
Israel had “burned the mosque” opposite Santa Maria Church in Bethlehem and
“destroyed many churches and mosques.” He called upon the Christian and
Muslim world to take action. MAHAD TV reported that a fire had broken out in
the Omar el-Hatib Mosque in Bethlehem and that the IDF was preventing the
fire brigade from reaching the site to extinguish the flames.None of these charges has any factual basis.
- The WAFA (Palestinian News Agency) Internet site reported on April 2
that the IDF had shelled the new mosque in Tulkarm after the muezzin called
people to noon prayers.In fact, no such incident took place.
- Jibril Rajoub claimed, in an interview with Syrian television network ANN
on March 30, that the only people in the compound of the Preventive Security
Services in Betouniya were people working for the service, women and
civilians, and that there were no wanted terrorists there.The truth, of course, is somewhat different. On April 2, a number of wanted
terrorists were captured in the building, including senior members of Hamas
involved in many terrorist activities.
- On the WAFA Internet site, it was reported on April 2 by the Palestinian
Minister of Health, Riyad Al Zanoun, that the IDF had taken control of five
Palestinian ambulances in Ramallah, forced their teams to strip, and taken them
to an unknown site, in order to prevent them from treating the wounded.In reality, ever since an explosive belt was discovered in a Palestinian
ambulance underneath a stretcher on which a small child was lying (end of
March, at the A-Ram check post), the IDF has been forced to act with extreme
caution.A similar charge, incidentally, was made on April 5 by Al Kuds
newspaper, which reported that a Red Crescent ambulance was seized in El
Bireh, and that IDF soldiers attacked its driver and the paramedics traveling with
No such incident has ever taken place.
- In an interview with Abu Dhabi television on March 29, Arafat claimed
that “there was also that incident in Hebron, that insolent and criminal incident;
they even attacked and killed in the Hebron area three members of the
international force: two from Turkey and one of the nurses from Switzerland.”In fact, in the incident in question, one of the Turkish members of the force was
rescued, and he said, in a radio interview, that the attack was carried out by an
- The Al Kuds newspaper reported on April 4 that the IDF refused to permit
a patient to be transferred by ambulance from the clinic in the Greek Orthodox
Monastery in Beit Sahour to hospital in Beit Jala.In fact, no such incident took place.
- The WAFA agency reported on April 5 that the IDF shelled the Um Nasser
neighborhood, the Al Udeh towers and the residential areas near the Salah a
Din road in the northern Gaza Strip.The reality was somewhat different – the mortar shells were fired by the
Palestinians themselves, but landed in their own territory.
- The Al Kuds newspaper reported on April 5 that the prisoners in Ofer
Camp, near Givat Ze’ev, undergo torture, including breaking their fingers.This allegation too has no basis.
- The WAFA news agency reported on April 6 that a person named Ali
Mustafa Abu Razek, aged 30, was shot and killed by the IDF close to the Sufa
Crossing.In fact, Abu Razek was a terrorist who was trying to place an explosive device
and was blown up together with the device.
- At the beginning of the events, IDF soldiers were accused of broadcasting
pornographic films on Al Watan television in Ramallah.This claim was thoroughly investigated by the IDF and found to be baseless.
- On April 5 Nabil Sha’ath claimed in the Saudi ‘Okaz’ that Israel had
forged the document seized from Arafat’s office in Ramallah indicating that the
Palestinian Authority was funding the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade.The document is of course authentic, and in the meantime other documents
have been found indicating the involvement of the Palestinian Authority and of
Arafat in terrorism and in its funding.
These are just a few examples of the uncontrolled Palestinian disinformation
campaign being waged also in the leading world media networks. This
campaign creates a picture of Israel as a cruel and inhumane country, which
damages holy sites, persecutes first aid agencies in contravention of the
Geneva Convention and so on.
The reality is different. The ones who are harming innocent civilians are the
Palestinians terrorists. The ones who are desecrating holy sites, and not for the
first time, are the Palestinians. The ones who are violating the Geneva
Convention and using ambulances and hospitals for other than their real
purpose – are the Palestinians.
A propos the use of ambulances, there is a famous picture from Bethlehem
showing a tank moving aside two ambulances blocking its path. For some
reason, no one gave a thought to this use of these ambulances as a barricade –
not one of the natural and protected uses of ambulances.
We are publishing these things because we suspect that the Palestinians will
claim that a massacre took place in the Jenin refugee camp, in view of the
heavy losses that they sustained in the bloody battles that were fought there.
The Palestinians are preparing the ground for such a claim. On April 6, they
published an urgent call to the international community to intervene immediately
in order to save the lives of the residents of the refugee camp, because the
camp was under merciless attack and “there are dozens of dead and injured, a
situation which could reach the scale of a new Sabra and Shatilla massacre.”
They do not allow bodies to be evacuated from the site so as to intensify the
effect, and the only thing left for us to do is to be prepared and to reject any
attempt to draw such a comparison.
This is particularly important against the background of the item by Al Jazeera
reporter Walid Alamari, who announced on April 8 that, according to
information coming from the Jenin refugee camp, all the resistors and fighters
are wearing explosive belts. If this is the case, then we are talking about a
bloody battle and not a massacre. But the associations that the Palestinians are
trying to arouse are stronger than the facts.