Watch Netanyahu Crash and Burn!
By Ali Haydar - Al-Akhbar Newspaper
Translated by Staff
Benjamin Netanyahu had never lost a media battle that was focused on international, ‘Israeli’, and domestic incitement against the resistance in Lebanon, in such a short period of time. He never saw it coming.
The problem isn’t that the enemy's prime minister fell victim to his traditional showmanship. Rather, it was a professional mistake of strategic dimensions committed by one or both sides: Either Netanyahu himself needed an information, even a false one, to fuel incitement against Hezbollah in his speech at the United Nations, or the intelligence service was the one that committed a serious professional mistake when it presented the prime minister with what was supposed to be a "final piece of information" regarding a facility Netanyahu proudly claimed had been seized.
One of the reasons for the mistake by the intelligence apparatus may stem from the political leadership’s insistence on the need for information with specific characteristics that serve a clear goal in the context of the incitement policy.
In a matter of hours, ‘Israel’ received a media blow no less significant than the one that accompanied the bombing of the Sa'ar battleship at sea during the July 2006 war, when the Hezbollah Secretary General uttered his famous phrase "watch it burn."
The information was handed to everyone, especially the media outlets that are allied with ‘Israel’, in both Lebanon and abroad, which didn’t have enough time to play with what Netanyahu said.
Hezbollah dealt a loud political, propaganda, and intelligence blow to the enemy’s entity, with its political and intelligence apparatuses. In more direct terms, the live broadcast featuring the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, dealt the ‘Israeli’ premier a resounding slap, which will echo and perhaps have repercussions within the ‘Israeli’ intelligence establishment and contribute to undermining the credibility of the head of the pyramid in Tel Aviv.
It will also lead to a blame game over the failure at a sensitive time internally, as well as in the context of the conflict with Hezbollah. Of course, the repercussions of the slap inside the intelligence establishment may not go out publically, but it will represent an experience to draw lessons from and try to answer specific questions: Where did the intelligence make mistakes, where did Netanyahu make a mistake, and how can you weave the false information in subsequent positions?
The successful step taken by Hezbollah in undermining Netanyahu's plan to exploit the UN platform represents a blow to the propaganda strategy that ‘Israel’ is pursuing in confronting Hezbollah. This blow has both intelligence and political dimensions. What exacerbates these dimensions is the fact that the tools for their implementation were neither soldiers in the army, nor a minister, nor an administrative official, nor a distinguished expert. Rather, it was the whole ‘state’, its top hierarchy, and from the highest international forum regarding a very sensitive issue.
Before the Beirut Port explosion on August 4, ‘Israel’ was pursuing a policy of inciting the resistance’s ecosystem and the entire Lebanese population against it and its weapons.
‘Israel’ saw in the incident as an ideal opportunity that could serve as solid ground and a driving force to take the incitement plan against the resistance to new horizons. Hence, it adopted a propaganda policy based on exploiting the fears of the Lebanese people of a recurring disaster. Netanyahu did not hide his goal. Rather, he directly addressed, during his speech before the United Nations, the residents of the Jnah area in Beirut’s southern suburbs, and the rest of the Lebanese, telling them to rise up against Hezbollah because “if this storage explodes, another tragedy will happen. And to the Lebanese citizens ... you should ask them to dismantle these warehouses.”
On the other hand, Hezbollah took a two-way step aimed at exposing Netanyahu's lies and blocking the way for him and his intelligence to benefit from them later. Sayyed Nasrallah announced that journalists are invited immediately to visit the place that Netanyahu mentioned, in order to eradicate the possibility of any subsequent allegations about the facility being evacuated.
In parallel, he was keen to block the road for the ‘Israeli’ intelligence [specifically] by affirming that this step “does not bind us to the principle that whenever Netanyahu talks about a place, we should call the media to check it out.”
The importance of this move is essential, as it’s aimed at preventing ‘Israel’ from transforming every allegation that a place contains missile stores into an opportunity to expose the resistance and Lebanon at the security level.
At the level of messages:
Hezbollah scored a qualitative achievement in the battle of awareness and public opinion. It is one of the most important arenas and axes of the ongoing conflict in Lebanon where internal and external parties try to distort the image of the resistance and its weapons.
It also undermined Netanyahu's credibility in the battle for consciousness, as he was betting that this station would represent a qualitative asset on which to build his subsequent steps. He considers this one of the most important aspects in this type of battle. Instead of undermining the credibility of the resistance and inciting the Lebanese people against it, Netanyahu's image and credibility were undermined. It can be said that any subsequent allegations of this kind will from now be questioned and neglected by large sectors of the public opinion in Lebanon and in the entity as well.
Hezbollah dealt a severe blow to the ‘Israeli’ intelligence, which was supposed to have provided Netanyahu with false and misleading information. It seems that the latter with its security and political staff were depending on the assumption that Hezbollah would either not invite the media to this place, in keeping with its policy of securely fortifying the resistance, or it will do so at a later time. Then Netanyahu and his apparatus, as it happened previously, could claim that Hezbollah emptied the site of the missiles.
Hezbollah provided tangible evidence to the public opinion that ‘Israel's’ goal is nothing but incitement against the resistance, which was what Netanyahu called for during his speech [calling on the residents of Jnah to rise up], based on lies and misinformation. This station will remain engraved in the memory of the public as a witness and an indication of what will come next in terms of allegations.