Israel Army Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis accused Hamas of lying to the world and the international media of furthering Hamas's goals by "publishing its lies rather than the facts," in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal published on Monday.
In protests last week along the border fence of the Gaza Strip, at least 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli army forces, though Hamas members have said a significant percentage belonged to the group.
"For Hamas, lies are more important than lives," he charged, citing a television interview given by Hamas Politburo member Salah Bardaweil last week during which he said 50 of the Palestinians who were killed during protests along the border fence were Hamas members. “The number I am telling you is official. Fifty martyrs from Hamas were martyred in this most recent battle,” he told Baladna, a Gaza-based TV station on Wednesday.
"Hamas has continued to lie to the world, which is why their rare acknowledgments of truth are especially revealing," Manelis charged.
The senior Israeli army official also asserted Hamas used a host of ways to manipulate the situation to most-negatively portray Israel, including paying women and children for attendance at the border protests, extra monetary incentives for injuries, free public transportation to the fence and free access and Wi-Fi for anyone with a video camera to document. He also said undercover Hamas operatives manged the situation in the field, "as if to direct their own stage of the operation."
"Hamas called it a 'peaceful protest,' and much of the world simply fell for it," he wrote. "The idea that this was a peaceful protest is the biggest lie of all, because the basic tenets required for a protest in a democracy like the US or Israel do not exist in Gaza. There can be no such thing as a peaceful protest in Gaza, only gatherings organized, sanctioned and funded by Hamas. Calling this a protest isn’t fake news, just fake."
Manelis also cited Yahya Sinwar's April 6 speech in which he said the goal of the protests was to "take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies," and said that none of the violence along the border had to occur but for Hamas's orchestration as Israeli army forces "acted with courage and restraint, following strict rules of engagement to ensure minimum civilian injury and loss of life while still protecting the border."
"If in order to win the international propaganda war I need to lie like Hamas, then I prefer to tell the truth and lose. The IDF will win where it matters—protecting our civilians in the face of terror," he closed.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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