An animated video clip mocking the coverage of last summer’s conflict in Gaza released by Israel’s Foreign Ministry has raised the ire of the foreign press corps in the country.
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A statement released by the board of the Foreign Press Association said that it was “surprised and alarmed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry's decision to produce a cartoon mocking the foreign media's coverage of last year's war in Gaza.”
It continued: “At a time when Israel has serious issues to deal with in Iran and Syria, it is disconcerting that the ministry would spend its time producing a 50-second video that attempts to ridicule journalists reporting on a conflict in which 2,100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis were killed. Israel's diplomatic corps wants to be taken seriously in the world. Posting misleading and poorly conceived videos on YouTube is inappropriate, unhelpful and undermines the ministry, which says it respects the foreign press and its freedom to work in Gaza.”
The English-language cartoon was released online Monday and was clearly designed to drive home the message that oblivious reporters had been telling the world that the Palestinians were innocent victims while dastardly Hamas operatives outsmart them.
The clip opens as a blonde anchorman reports: "We are here in the center of Gaza, and as you can see, people here are trying to live quiet lives. There are no terrorists here, just ordinary people." Immediately a rocket is launched behind him.
Then, the journalist reports enthusiastically on the “underground city” and tunnels that comprise “Gaza’s first subway system” as armed men head into the tubes, with the prominent sign: “MINIMUM: 8 terrorists per tunnel.”
Finally, he reports that “Palestinian society here is liberal and pluralistic, and Hamas allows everyone to live in dignity" as a man with a rainbow gay pride flag is grabbed and carried away.
At the end, a savvier colleague hands the journalist a pair of glasses that will help him “see the reality of life under Hamas rule.” When he does, he passes out from shock. The tag line is. "Open your eyes, terror rules Gaza."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Uri Resnick told the Washington Post that the video was “meant to expose the irony of how Gaza is portrayed” in the world media, adding “I don’t think it is meant to be an insult at all.”
The clip was released the day after Israel's Foreign Ministry published its 277-page report on the Gaza conflict, in anticipation of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is set to release its own report in the coming days.
The Israeli report rejected claims that Israel committed war crimes during the fighting in Gaza, and accused Hamas and other terrorist groups of committing such crimes and violating international law.