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Copyright 2001 The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post

June 13, 2001

HEADLINE: Hizbullah Intensifying Psychological War Against Israel

BYLINE: David Rudge

HAIFA (June 13) - Hizbullah, in the absence of internationally recognized legitimacy for attacks against Israel, is intensifying its psychological war and is even trying to deter tourists from visiting the country.

The extremist Iranian-backed Shi'ite organization is now using its Internet site, its radio station, and its Manar television channel to try to demoralize the Israeli public and raise Palestinian expectations.

Its latest gimmick is to screen excerpts of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's condolence visit to the family of Gilad Zar, who was killed in a terrorist shooting several weeks ago.

The aim, apparently, is to try and send a message to the Palestinians that Jewish residents of the territories have lost their sense of security.

Manar television has also been running pictures from the Dolphinarium suicide bomb attack.

The pictures include subtitles in Russian and Hebrew warning immigrants from the former Soviet Union of the dangers of remaining in Israel. Russian-speaking immigrant youngsters made up the bulk of the bomber's 20 victims.

Hizbullah is also apparently trying to harm Israel's economy by turning its attention towards potential tourists and warning them what could happen to them if they visit the country.

The organization's television station shows pictures of the terror attacks that have occurred in the country with the following warning in English: "Tourists Beware. . .Tourism in Israel Puts Your Life in Danger."

The pictures are accompanied by the sounds of police and ambulance sirens to give added impact to the message - even though it is primarily being seen by Hizbullah's faithful in Lebanon and its Palestinian acolytes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

According to senior analysts such propaganda is unlikely to have any effect on tourists, certainly far less than the coverage given of terror attacks by international news organizations.

Nevertheless, Hizbullah is aware that its broadcasts are monitored in Israel and they should be seen in the context of the organization's ongoing psychological war against what it describes as the "Zionist Enemy," the analysts said.

Manar television said yesterday that Hizbullah fired on Israeli warplanes which entered Lebanese airspace.

"The land-based defences of the Islamic resistance responded to Israeli airplanes that were flying over Bint Jbeil," it said in a special news bulletin.

There was no report of any damaged caused and no Israeli confirmation that the incident took place.

Witnesses in Lebanon said IDF planes yesterday flew over the south of the country, a routine occurrence since Israel withdrew from the area in May last year.

(Reuters contributed to this report.)

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