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April 02, 2008

IDF Slams WHO Report as 'Completely Wrong'

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The Jerusalem Post reports:

A World Health Organization (WHO) report that sharply criticized the IDF's screening of Palestinians who seek medical treatment in Israeli hospitals was flatly rejected by defense officials on Tuesday, who called it "completely wrong."

The report was released during a press conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday held by Ambrogio Manenti, the head of WHO in Gaza and the West Bank, who called Israeli policy when it comes to allowing Gazans into Israel for treatment "inhumane." . . .

During the press conference, Manenti presented five cases of Gazans who died recently while he said they waited for a permit to enter Israel.

[IDF Col. Nir] Press rejected the claims that the five died while waiting for permits and claimed that each Palestinian mentioned in the report received permits to be treated in Israeli hospitals.

One such case was of 34-year-old Mona Nofal who died of rectal cancer at Shifa Hospital in Gaza in November. The report claimed that Israel delayed granting her permits.

Press pointed out, however, that Nofal's requests were approved each time and that she had in fact been treated in Israeli hospitals in July, August and October.

Press said that Hamas used Nofal's case to blame Israel when in fact "she had died of cancer and not because of the siege."

Posted by TS at April 2, 2008 04:52 AM

Comments

In Canada, where I live, the Globe and Mail printed only the WHO's press release. They didn't include an IDF rebuttal because it wasn't in the form of a press release. I later learned that the Jerusalem Post reporter covering the story gave the IDF an advance heads-up to prepare a rebuttal release and schedule a pre-emptive press conference of its own. But it didn't do either.

To my mind, it's a major failing on the IDF's part to not produce a press release, especially since it had on-the-ground facts overwhelmingly in its favour, and since employing a full-time media crew would cost less than a single helicopter gunship.

Even with the presence of organizations like CAMERA, an IDF media relations upgrade would make a substantial impact on world opinion. Since this is where the major battles are now taking place, the IDF would do well to learn this lesson quickly.

Posted by: Josh Korn at April 26, 2008 02:06 PM

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