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Government Press Office doing PR for the settler movement

It seems that every state agency in Israel is becoming a tool in the effort to further colonize the West Bank and deepen the control over the lives of Palestinians.

Soon after the government reached an internal “deal” with the settler movement that would keep the families who settled in a so-called “illegal” outpost on the ground, the Government Press Office – once in charge of handling press cards and other bureaucratic duties – is now engaging in propaganda efforts on behalf of the settlers.

A few days ago, the foreign press corps received the following mail, inviting members to an ideological tour in the heart of the settler land – “Samaria,” in the north of the West Bank (links appeared in the original):

Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs
Government Press Office
Jerusalem, 12 January 2012
TO: Foreign Journalists in Israel
FROM: Israel Government Press Office

GPO TOUR OF THE SHOMRON (SAMARIA) REGIONAL COUNCIL

We are pleased to invite you to a tour (in English) of the Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council on Thursday, 19.1.12, from 09:30-16:30.  Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein will participate.

09:30  Departure from Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.

11:00-11:30  Visit to community of Barkan: Briefing by local resident Natalie Hershkowitz on the history of the community, westward view to the   Mediterranean Sea.

11:45-12:15  Barkan Industrial Park: Tour of plant that employs Palestinians,  briefing on effect of Arab boycott on the plant.

12:35-12:45  Itamar; stop at Fogel family residence.

12:45-13:15  Itamar: Meeting with local resident Leah Goldsmith at her home. Briefing on her move from the US, the establishment of Itamar & life in the community.

13:30-14:15  Lunch at Giv’ot Olam Organic Farm, with participation of Minister Edelstein, and Shomron Regional Council Chairman Gershon Mesika and Asst. Chairman Yossi Dagan (responsible for Council Strategic Affairs Dept).

14:30-15:00  Overlook of Nablus, Joseph’s Tomb and local communities from Mt. Gerizim; guided by David Haivri & with participation of Minister Edelstein.

15:00  Departure.

16:30  Return to Teddy Stadium.
Hila Tal
Government Press Office

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    COMMENTS

    1. Carl

      Am I right in thinking that even five years ago the Press Office wouldn’t have chanced inviting foreign journalists to somewhere like Itamar? It’s an obvious PR disaster in the making. It looks like a manifestation of the increasing myopia of the government as regards international opinion, but I’d be interested to know from those better informed whether this sort of tour is a recent development or not.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ariel

      Nice to see the government still hellbent on using the Fogel family and its tragedy to score shameless propaganda points. Only in Israel…

      Reply to Comment
    3. Philos

      Awesome. Please go and report to us what happened. I hope for foreign journalists ask some difficult questions and get some hilarious responses. “Leah Goldsmith, originally of Brooklyn NY, remarked, ‘It’s difficult living alongside foreign colonizers who are trying to steal your land from you but we make do as best we can.'”

      Reply to Comment
    4. Lauren

      Wow!!!! At least Leah Goldsmith is no longer in my beloved Brooklyn. I suppose all those LEGAL immigrants that live here were too much for her.
      PS you can’t steal what belongs to you.

      Reply to Comment