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Hamas Issues Social Media Guidelines: Dead are Always “Innocent Civilians”

On Thursday, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published a translation of the social media guidelines of Hamas’ Ministry of the Interior.

The main goal in these guidelines is to portray Hamas as the victim of Israeli aggression.

Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add “innocent civilian” or “innocent citizen” in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Begin [your reports of] news of resistance actions with the phrase “In response to the cruel Israeli attack,” and conclude with the phrase “This many people have been martyred since Israel launched its aggression against Gaza.” Be sure to always perpetuate the principle of “the role of the occupation is attack, and we in Palestine are fulfilling [the role of] the reaction.”

In the Times of Israel, Rafael Ahren explains why this is so effective:

So far, 194 Palestinians been killed during Operation Protective Edge; that’s already a higher death toll than that of the entire 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense. Or at least that’s what’s reported in the press, internationally but also in Israel. The truth is that the number of casualties, and the percentage of civilians among the dead, comes exclusively from Palestinian sources. Israel only publishes its version of the body count — which is always significantly lower than the Palestinian account — weeks after such operations end. Meanwhile, the damage to Israel’s reputation is done.

The New York Times, for example, provides a daily graphic showing the fatalities on both sides, with no further context, uncritically accepting the figures it gets from the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

Another aim of the guidelines is to prevent Israel from gathering intelligence about Hamas and its operations.

Do not publish photos of military commanders. Do not mention their names in public, and do not praise their achievements in conversations with foreign friends!

Gazans were also warned not to post photos of rockets being fired, as that would give “a pretext for attacking residential areas in the Gaza Strip.”

Gazans using social media were also given practical advice by Hamas: “Do not publish close-ups of masked men with heavy weapons, so that your page will not be shut down [by Facebook] on the claim that you are inciting violence.”

[Photo: FIFA2014 in Animation / YouTube ]