The Syrian Civil War and Israeli Media Censorship

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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An interesting example of media censorship recently appeared in Israel.  At 18:00 hours on September 4th, 2018, the Jerusalem Post published an article discussing part of the Israel Defense Forces’ operations in the Golan Heights region. These actions were allegedly part of the IDF’s Operation Good Neighbor, a non-confrontational operation of Israel with the goal of helping Syrian citizens caught in their nation’s civil war.

Let’s look at a bit of background about Operation Good Neighbor.  Here is what you will find on the IDF’s website about the program:

the syrian civil war and israeli media censorship

Here is the goal of Operation Good Neighbor and what actions the IDF has taken to assist Syrians:

The goal of Operation Good Neighbor is to provide humanitarian aid to as many people as possible while maintaining Israel’s policy of non-involvement in the conflict. The first activities coordinated by the headquarters took place in August 2016. Since then, there have been more than 110 aid operations of various kinds.

The primary recipients of the aid are the approximately 200,000 residents of the Hauran region of southwestern Syria. About 400 families live in tents near the Israel-Syria border. The rest live in villages or out in the open. A third of the aid recipients are displaced persons or refugees and half of them are under the age of 18.

“The people of Syria want peace with Israel,” one of the aid recipients wrote from an Israeli hospital. “To any Syrians that think that Israel is our enemy – you are wrong.”

The IDF primarily provides 3 types of assistance as part of Operation Good Neighbor:

1. Medical –  Over 4,000 people have been brought to Israel to receive treatment, including hundreds of children. The IDF also transfers medicine, supplies, and equipment to Syrians across the border. An internationally managed field hospital has also been established at an Israeli outpost near the border.

2. Infrastructure – 450,000 liters of fuel have been transferred for heating, operating water wells, and ovens in bakeries. The IDF also transferred seven generators, water pipes to rebuild Syrian infrastructure, and equipment for a temporary school in the region.

3. Civilian aid – The IDF transferred 40 tons of flour to bakeries, 225 tons of food, 12,000 packages of baby formula, 1,800 packages of diapers, 12 tons of shoes, and 55 tons of cold weather clothing.

The IDF provides aid to Syrians on the other side of the border for two primary reasons. Firstly, we have a moral imperative. We can’t stand by watching a severe humanitarian crisis without helping the innocent people stuck in the middle of the conflict. We also believe that the aid will ultimately create a less hostile environment across the border – and that will lead to improved Israeli security.”  (my bolds)

The most important thing to note about the IDF’s operation is that it is to “.…maintain Israel’s policy of non-involvement in the conflict” and that the only things supplied by Israel are for medical, infrastructure and food/clothing needs.  As you will see in this posting, this is not particularly accurate.

Let’s go back to the recent article in the Jerusalem Post.  The article entitled “IDF Confirms: Israel Provided Light-Weapons to Syrian Rebels”claims that the Israel Defense Force had supplied weapons, ammunition and cash to at least seven different rebel groups located in Syria’s Golan Heights Heights prior to the Assad regime retaking control of the Golan in July.

Here is the article as it first appeared, thanks to Google cache, starting with the headline:   

the syrian civil war and israeli media censorship

Here’s the body of the article:

the syrian civil war and israeli media censorship

Now, here is the interesting part.  If you use the very specific search terms “IDF, weapons, Syrian rebels, Golan, Jerusalem Post” in Google, here are the results that you will get:

the syrian civil war and israeli media censorship

This is what you now get when you click on the first result:

the syrian civil war and israeli media censorship

It is also interesting to note that absolutely no other mainstream media outlet has covered this story with the notable exception of RT, the dreaded Russian state-owned media outlet.  That said, according to RT, the original Jerusalem Post story was pulled by the newspaper at the request of the IDF’s military censor for security reasons.

Let’s change focus for a moment and put the recent news from Israel into context.  In combination with the recent IDF announcement that it had carried out 202 air strikes against supposed Iranian targets in Syria since 2017, the world can clearly see that Israel is guilty of acts of aggression against Syria as defined by United Nations Resolution 3314 as quoted here:

(a) The invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State, or any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from such invasion or attack, or any annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof,

(b) Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State;

(c) The blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by the armed forces of another State;

(d) An attack by the armed forces of a State on the land, sea or air forces, or marine and air fleets of another State;

(e) The use of armed forces of one State which are within the territory of another State with the agreement of the receiving State, in contravention of the conditions provided for in the agreement or any extension of their presence in such territory beyond the termination of the agreement;

(f) The action of a State in allowing its territory, which it has placed at the disposal of another State, to be used by that other State for perpetrating an act of aggression against a third State;

(g) The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein.” (my bold)

While it must be heart-breaking for Israel’s leadership to see Syrian government forces retaking territory and the democratically elected Assad government reestablishing its control over a nation that, three years ago, seemed close to collapse, it is most interesting to see how Israel’s armed forces has control over Israel’s media, using its power to kill a domestic story that wasn’t in its best interests and one that goes against the narrative of its alleged “Good Samaritan” program in the Golan.

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