The tactically adroit Israel Defense Forces are doing an ever-better job of fighting the information war. Throughout Operation Protective Edge, IDF maps, graphics, videos, and other communications tools have illustrated Hamas’s consistent and routine transformation of civilian areas into launch pads for some 3,000 rockets blasted wildly into Israel. The IDF also has informed the world about its leaflets, phone calls, and text messages that urge Gazans to seek shelter before Israel neutralizes Hamas’s hostile-fire installations. As the debate roars on about the current war between Israel and Hamas, these IDF materials arm Israel’s friends, challenge its open-minded critics, and embarrass its enemies.
“Hamas War Tactics: Attacks from Civilian Centers,” is an apparent PowerPoint presentation by the IDF’s Military-Strategic Information Section. Its subtitle says it all: “Evidence of Hamas’ Violations of International Law through Use of Civilian Facilities and Densely Populated Areas for Terror.”
These slides detail Hamas’s rocket blasts from mosques, schools, power plants, and even hospitals. Beyond maps, photos, and text, this presentation includes links to declassified footage from IDF drones and aircraft. Multiple IDF videos and broadcast-news stories show how these militant-Islamic murderers literally commit war crimes by firing from civilian areas in Gaza into civilian areas in Israel, all while refusing to wear uniforms.
Has anyone ever waved the Geneva Convention at Hamas? If Israel is held to Geneva standards, why isn’t Hamas?
In just one example of this phenomenon, an IDF map shows how Hamas fired a rocket from inside the El’ Azhar Islamic College on July 8 at 2:44 a.m. The projectile soared over the border and then exploded in an Israeli town called Ofakim.
Imagine your sleep being disturbed by that.
“Hamas’ tactics flagrantly violate international law and the most basic of moral precepts,” the document concludes. “Given these tactics, the ultimate responsibility for the damage done to civilians as well as the civilian infrastructure of Gaza lies with Hamas.”
With this document and others, IDF has shown the world, including the United States, how a military force can use timely operational information and intelligence to sway – and, one hopes, capture – international opinion. Such PR would have served the Pentagon well during the Iraq War and even now in Afghanistan.
Among the very few things that keep this IDF presentation from being a model document is that it is undated. Every document should be dated, always and everywhere, especially if one seeks credibility among journalists and other professional communicators. To the untrained eye, the IDF’s fine work could be confused with something about Hamas’s misdeeds from one, five or even seven years ago, when it took over Gaza and began pummeling Israel with missiles. It would be sad if the mere absence of a date on this PowerPoint led people to disregard it as old news.
Also, it would be wise for Israel to use English as well as metric measurements in all of its English-language materials. The more friends Israel has in America, the better. Sparing Americans the inconvenience of converting kilometers into miles is worth the trouble. Measurements using both systems should appear side by side. Everybody wins!
But these are comparative quibbles.
“Hamas War Tactics: Attacks from Civilian Centers” is a high-quality communications effort in its own right. More important, it is a deeply disturbing guide to the evils of Hamas – the formidable and relentless cancer that annoyingly is affixed to Israel.
A version of this piece previously appeared on National Review Online.