Major-General Dangot: "The battle for the legitimation and public opinion is no less difficult than the confrontation in the battlefield"

On last Monday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major-General Eytan Dangot, delivered a speech at the Conference on Combating the Delegitimation of the State of Israel” held at the Academic College of Netanya on the subject of “Strategy for the Prevention of Delegitimation of Israel and Shaping of Public Opinion”.

Date: 18.04.12     Author: Menachem Adoni

The speech was delivered within the framework of a panel of speakers that convened at the college for a strategic dialog in front of an audience consisted mostly of foreign and international bodies and entities, intellectuals, academicians and experts in spokesmanship and public diplomacy.

In the introductory part of his discourse, Major-General Eytan Dangot stressed that the battle for public opinion and for the legitimacy of the Israeli activities in Judea and Samaria and in relation to the Gaza Strip is a front line no less difficult than the battlefield itself. “The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit copes with delegitimation in aspects of policy and strategy when coping with the Palestinian side, and also with specific issues and current events”, he said and added that the fact that the unit’s officers are spread across the area and maintain direct contact with both the Palestinian population in the region and the various bodies and entities of the international community, constitutes the unit’s added value. “There were many instances where we received phone calls from influential senior persons or bodies of various countries concerning this or that tactical incident. The fact that my officers keep on maintaining their presence in the field and keep on delivering us information quickly, assists me to clarify and explain the incidents to the decision makers, to verify with them the details, to calm down and to minimize the damage that could be occurred”.

Major-General Dangot chose to put focus on the southern arena (namely, the Gaze Strip) and to provide som up-to-date examples: “We care coping and facing a culture of lies, deceit, fraudulence and biases of facts, cultivated by the terrorist organizations, led mainly by the Hamas terrorist organization, in an attempt to blame the State of Israel for the civil hardships and to put the responsibility on the State of Israel. For instance, Israel is being blamed for a long time for the electricity crisis in Gaza, notwithstanding the fact that it’s in fact an internal Palestinian issue between the Palestinian Auhtority in Ramallah and Hamas, with Egyptian involvement. Israel has made clear, more than once, that any request presented by the Palestinian Authority concerning delivery of fuels from Israel to the Gaza strip, through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, will be accepted and practically carried out.

Another example indicated by Major-General Dangot is the imaginary pseudo-“medications crisis”, for which Hamas is also trying to put the blame on Israel, claiming that Israel is preventing the delivery of medications to the Gaza Strip, not withstanding the fact that actually Israel has no connection to the medication crisis in the Gaza Strip, and actually the said “medication crisis” stems from the bad relationships between the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health in Ramallah and the Health Ministries in the Gaza Strip. “Israel has undertaken in the past, is presently committed and shall commit itself in the future to deliver to the Gaza Strip any medical equipment or merchandise, including medications, either on requests presented by the Palestinian Authority or following requests by international organizations”, Major-General Dangot pointed out.
“The international community is an influential crucial factor in the Palestinian arena, and its involvement level has gradually increased over the years”, said Major-General Dangot and he further added that “Following the flotilla incidents, the attention and concern towards the civil and economical situation in the Gaza Strip has substantially increased and many senior persons asked to enter the Gaza Strip and to visit there.  We implored and demanded them, before their entry into the Gaza Strip, to first arrive at the Kerem Shalom Crossing and see with their own eyes the quantity of goods and merchandises that are being delivered to the Gaza Strip on a daily basis. It was important to us that they hear about the quantity of projects that are being carried out in coordination with the international community. The fact that within less than three weeks they ceased talking with us in terms of hunger crisis and instead began talking with us in economical terms and concerning exportation from Gaza, has proved that the real current state of affairs, concerning the occurrences in the Gaza Strip, has been made clear to them and that the claims about an alleged humanitarian crisis were groundless and fallacious”.

“The great challenge facing Israel and the Coordinator of Government’s Activities in the Territories in connection with the delegitimation in the Palestinian arena, consists of breaking negative concepts and terms, by presenting the plain facts, reliable data and performing expeditious public diplomacy activities before, during and after any activity or attempt to damage or stain the legitimacy of the activities performed by the State of Israel and by the IDF”.

At the conclusion of his speech, Major-General Dangot stressed that “We should not rest on our laurels and think that the imaginary silence and the low international attention to the Gaza Strip are only a consequence of the activity carried out by Israel and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories as a means of facing the delegitimation activity, since Gaza may return to the headlines either by an authentic event or by an imaginary one.


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