IDF using Israeli press for psych warfareBy 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.