On Sunday, Haaretz’s Amira Hass reported that in January, the IDF published a new military order that paves the way for the mass expulsion of illegal aliens from Judea and Samaria. The story sported the disturbing headline, “IDF order will enable mass deportation from West Bank.”
In a follow-up on Monday, Hass reported that 10 self-described human rights organizations (all funded by the New Israel Fund) sent a joint letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak asking him to rescind the order. She noted, too, that, “the international media also has taken great interest in the story.”
And indeed, on Wednesday, a Google news search for “IDF West Bank deportation order” drew nearly 20,000 results.
Also on Monday, Haaretz published an editorial based on Hass’s stories. Titled, “IDF bid to expel West Bank Palestinians is a step too far,” the editorial asserted, “Implementing this new military order is not only likely to spark a new conflagration in the territories, it is liable to give the world clear-cut proof that Israel’s aim is a mass deportation of Palestinians from the West Bank.”
That is, Israel is fomenting a war and Israel deserves to lose that war because it is the villain.
On Wednesday, Haaretz reported that Jordan had joined it in condemning Israel.
That’s quite an accomplishment for an Israeli newspaper with a negligible share of the domestic market.
The only problem is that the order Hass reported on is 41 years old. After creating an international scandal, on Wednesday Haaretz acknowledged that the supposedly new order has been in place since 1969. What changed in January is that the IDF decided to expand the rights of illegal aliens in Judea and Samaria to pre-deportation hearings.
This was not a change for the worse in the status of illegal residents. It was a change for the better.
And still, due to Haaretz‘s misreporting, Israeli diplomats are being called into the chanceries of the world and raked over the coals for the country’s alleged plot to conduct a mass expulsion of Palestinians.
Haaretz accomplished two things with this story. It weakened Israel abroad, which clearly serves its ideological purposes. And it demonstrated its enormous power to damage Israel’s international image at will, which of course puts Israel’s law enforcement and judicial arms on notice as they prosecute and adjudicate the Haaretz spy scandal.
HAARETZ’S MANIPULATION of the deportation story bears a striking similarity to the way it manipulated its own spy scandal. That scandal was under a total court-issued gag order that barred the local media from reporting on it until last Thursday.
That gag order gave Haaretz the opportunity to manipulate the story to its advantage before the state authorities had a chance to explain what it was about. And so, early last week, Haaretz editor Dov Alfon approached credulous foreign journalists and spun a tale. By Alfon’s telling, Israel’s draconian Shin Bet security agency had “disappeared” one reporter – Anat Kamm – and caused another – Uri Blau – to flee the country.