Dispatches from the PR battle: Jan. 13

Jacob Dallal, Director of Public Relations for the Jewish Agency in North America (JAFI is a UJC/Federation partner agency), was recently called up to do reserve duty in the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, where he served for 5 years and hold the rank of Major. Jacob is reporting on the IDF's PR war for this blog.

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On Sunday I felt better. Somehow I feel we've turned a corner. Maybe it was the reports that there is a bitter split within the Hamas between the organization's leadership in Gaza and the figureheads in Syria. The Gaza leadership wants a ceasefire asap, the Iranian-influenced Syria-based heads say no end to fighting.

However, in all my time in the IDF whenever I thought things would get better, they got worse.

On the PR front, things can't that much worse.

Towards the end of last week, we were flooded with allegations of incidents of civilain casulaties in Gaza. I am familiar with all the cases and all the allegations. In most of the cases, the IDF is not involved. In some it is. But you can only say you are not involved so many times. There are too many nasty pictures. And there is a lot of heavy fire and civilian casualties.

The press is a bit sick and tired. They want to enter Gaza. (A small number were supposed to, but Israeli authorities say its too dangerous. All Israel needs is a foreign reporter accidentally wounded / killed by IDF.) Also, media access to IDF troops is quite limited.

So they are testy standing in front of a mound overlooking Gaza, alert for a boom or plume of smoke.

Not a few reporters pointed out to me how they can't report the story properly because they are not in Gaza. I guess they are stuck reporting about the human suffering in Sderot and aren't too happy about that limitation....

-- Jacob Dallal