Heartwarming or heartless? Israeli propaganda vs. reality

COGAT uses its Facebook pages to show a kinder, gentler military occupation.

The Facebook propaganda pages touting the activities of the bureaucratic arm of Israel’s occupation might be funny if the policies they attempt to whitewash weren’t so cruel.

Dedicated to showing the softer side of military occupation, the posts made by COGAT – which stands for “Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories” – paint a fantastical picture of Israel’s rule over millions of Palestinians which bears little resemblance to the brutal reality on the ground.

The word “coordination” is euphemistically used to describe Israel’s control over Palestinians’ access to health services, ability to trade, or even visit family. It was recently featured as “word of the day” on COGAT’S page.

COGAT presents itself as a humanitarian body, posting cheery infographics with Israeli government statistics on the amount of goods allowed into Gaza and people allowed out of the territory in a given week. They appear to be modeled after those put out by the United Nations monitoring group OCHA and other watchdogs.

COGAT’s logo, featuring two hands clasped together, might even look like the logo of a humanitarian charity, were it not for the sword that emanates from the handshake, adorned with an olive branch.

Its Arabic-language page is much more active than the English page, likely part of its strategy to normalize relations with certain Arab countries.

“Easy and fast”

A video recently posted on COGAT’s Arabic-language page purports to explain the “easy and fast” process by which Palestinians can obtain a permit for medical treatment in Israel.

Upbeat music accompanies emoji-style graphics and animated text stating that all one needs to do is give the Palestinian Authority health ministry a referral request and a copy of one’s ID and medical report.

In the case of a medical emergency, the video states, COGAT simply requires a referral request from a hospital and a statement of financial commitment to pay the bill.

And yet humanitarian and human rights groups have noted this year an increase in the number of patients from Gaza whose requests for permits have been delayed or denied, preventing urgently needed health care and costing some patients their lives.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel this week made an urgent appeal to COGAT concerning the cases of nine women cancer patients.

“The need for treatment outside the Gaza Strip is intensified due to the long blockade, internal and structural reasons, making adequate medical care for women with cancer unavailable,” PHRI stated.

Israel’s blockade on Gaza and the resulting fuel and electricity shortages are directly to blame for the lack of proper medical care for these patients.

“Bureaucratic nightmare”

As the occupying power, Israel is fully responsible for the welfare of the population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to international law.

“For example, in recent months the permanent lack of radiotherapy for cancer patients, radioactive iodine, or diagnostic equipment was added by shortage in medicine for chemotherapy and difficulties to activate operation rooms due to fuel and electricity shortages,” PHRI added.

The Palestinian rights group Al Mezan stated on Saturday last week, which marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, that “10 women have died since the beginning of 2017 after being denied access to hospitals and appropriate medical treatment outside of Gaza.”

Rather than “easy and fast,” PHRI describes the permit application process for patients in Gaza as “a bureaucratic nightmare.”

On Monday, COGAT posted a heartwarming story about an Iraqi baby who received life-saving treatment in Israel.

“This is the true Israeli humanity,” COGAT boasts.

Palestinian mothers and fathers in Gaza who have had to bury their children after they were denied vital treatment by Israel know the real story.

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Unbelievable!! It would be laughable if it wasn't so despicably inaccurate. Especially since there is
such venom on Facebook when Palestinians post videos of the IDF beating women and children for no reason. (Seems they do not want to pick on someone their own size.)...Israeli's applauding the videos, saying they deserve it etc.
It's sickening. But this propaganda hopefully means that more and more people in the U.S. are realizing the truth of their atrocities, and Israel does not like that.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.