YERUSA ALE EM (AP) – Early Friday morning, shortly after midnight, the Israeli military issued an ominous statement to the media. “IDF air and ground forces are currently attacking the Gaza Strip.”
The stubborn announcement sparked speculation that Israel had launched a ground offensive in Gaza, a very scary scenario that would mean a bloody escalation of operations against Hamas militants this week. Some journalists were even told directly that the invasion had begun.
Ours Amer “military” gave “clarification”. There were no troops inside Gaza. But before that, several major media outlets mistakenly reported that the ground offensive was continuing.
As the military tried to accuse the incident of misunderstanding, well-established Israeli military commentators said the media had used the LM as a sophisticated ploy to trap Hamas militants in a deadly trap that could have killed dozens of fighters.
“They did not lie,” said Or Heller, a veteran military correspondent for Israel’s Channel 13 television. “It simply came to our notice then. It was smart and successful. “
This is how it developed.
In the aftermath of the airstrikes late Thursday, Israel announced it was recalling thousands of reservists to mobilize troops along the border before a possible ground invasion. In another sign of escalation, Israeli tanks stationed along the border opened fire on targets in the Gaza Strip.
In the earlier stages of the fighting, ground invasions led to the devastation of Gaza, with heavy casualties on both sides.
That set the stage for the late-night deception. According to Heller, Israel began to deploy forces along the border, which seemed to be the last preparations for the invasion. Then came the announcement to the media, which was simultaneously published on Hebrew-Twitter on Twitter. Large outlets were alerted that the intrusion was continuing.
According to Israeli moves, Hamas fighters are rushing to defensive positions in an underground network of tunnels known as the Metro, according to Heller and other Israeli reports.
Israel called in 160 warplanes and bombed the tunnels for 40 minutes. Heller said he understood that many militants had been killed, although he said it was impossible to say.
“What we saw tonight was a very complex operation that had a media dimension,” Heller said.
Hamas did not comment on the incident, it was impossible to confirm the Israeli reports.
Heller said veteran Israeli correspondents who had close military ties and in many cases served were aware that Israel was not sending troops beyond enemy lines at this stage. Heller and other military correspondents even posted statements on Twitter, assuring the shocked public that there was no ground operation.
The Associated Press, based on an analysis of the military statement, made phone calls to military officials following local reports in Gaza, concluding that there had been no ground invasion or reporting any.
But others said they had been misled or even lied to by the military when asked for clarification, turning foreign media into a kind of accessory.
Felicia Schwartz, a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, said the warning about the ground attack came after a clear confirmation from military vice-colonel, Lieutenant Colonel Jon Onatan Conricus.
In a statement posted on Twitter, he said that Conricus “told me directly: ‘There are ground troops in Gaza.’ That was the basis of the first story to tell. He withdrew the statement two hours later, “I changed the story to reflect it, it’s mentioned in the text, it will be corrected.”
Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Conricus accused him of “internal miscommunication.”
“Sometimes these things can happen against the background of complex actions, with very moving parts, with an incomprehensible picture of what happened,” he said. “As soon as I realized that I had the wrong information, I updated it with the explanation of the relevant people.”
The militants of the world have long used deception and cunning against their enemies. Two years ago, the Israeli military reportedly falsified the injuries of servicemen at the site of the Hezbollah rocket attack to the point that they were airlifted to hospital.
According to reports at the time, the army had staged injuries to deceive Hezbollah, believing it had suffered casualties, so it would agree to a ceasefire.
Friday’s misleading statement exacerbated what has often been a strong link between IDF and “foreign media.”
Peter Lerner, a former military spokesman for the foreign media, says Israeli society as a whole has long felt that the international media pays too much attention to the Palestinian side of history, minimizing Israeli concerns and suffering, and that the military tends to do the same.
Lerner said he thought it was unlikely the military would deliberately lie, but the damage was done regardless.
“Your currency is reliability,” he said. “I think this is a crisis of credibility in terms of imagery.”