Implications for the Cognitive War
Meditate on the picture:
Here is the head of Hamas, whose boys systematically fire from the midst of civilians — in order to create civilian casualties they can then blame on Israeli counter-strikes — exploiting a death directly caused by his men, in order to appeal to western sympathy. It would be hard to imagine a more stunning portrait of the most depraved hypocrisy (and contempt for viewers who believe this display of compassion).
It is hard to imagine a more grotesque expression of a mutual corruption: trying to demonize your enemy before an outside audience whom you expect to side with you in the name of empathy for the very children you victimize. How disordered the emotional and moral world of the masterminds of this kind of manipulation must be.
Not only that, but Haniyah dragged into this humiliating display the prime minister of Egypt’s new “Muslim Brotherhood” government, trying to show support for the Palestinian branch, Hamas. Prime Minister Hesham Kandil jumped right in, kissing the baby, and subsequently testifying (in what BBC correspondent Wyre Davies found to be a “powerful statement”) that “his blood is still on our clothing.” Kandil is a fool eagerly trying to join in the morbid circus Haniyah and Hamas so frequently stage. Haniyah, thinking he could get away with it, has dragged Kandil into this shameless pornography of death.
One last reflection: Hamas’s strategy has long been to attack from behind civilians to provoke Israeli retaliation and then use the collateral damage of those victims as a way to blame Israel. This is in fact a key element of their asymmetrical war with Israel. As one Gazan explained to an Italian reporter towards the end of Operation Cast Lead (OCL):
The Hamas militants looked for good places to provoke the Israelis. They were usually youths, 16 or 17 years old, armed with submachine guns. They couldn’t do anything against a tank or jet. They knew they were much weaker. But they wanted the [Israelis] to shoot at the [the civilians’] houses so they could accuse them of more war crimes.
In other words, Hamas engages in the exceptionally rare wartime act of actively victimizing one’s own civilian population – specifically a war crime – in order to win a victory in cognitive war.
And they can only do so if a corrupt media on the scene (including NGOs and UN agencies), rather than expose their criminal strategies, play along and present the images of dead babies in the framework of the Palestinian narrative of Israeli victimization. The fact that Hamas thought they could clean up the scene and pull off a Gaza beach, successfully blaming the Israelis for the tragedy, speaks eloquently of their exceptionally low appraisal of the forensic acumen of the western press.
And they have good reason to so believe. After all, Goldstone, in his investigation into the abuses of the Palestinian people during OCL, never once looked into this kind of human shielding. Imagine if he had!
Alas. It’s hard to believe that if the press had learned the lessons of al Durah they’d still be suckered by this kind of display.
Now meditate on this picture, provided by Electronic Intifada to weaponize the tragedy against Israel.