Israeli ad blitz links Hamas, P.A. leaders

Israel is launching an international diplomatic campaign meant to portray Hamas’ Khaled Mashaal and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as cohorts and peace refuseniks, the daily newspaper Yediot Achronot reported on Dec. 11.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed the Foreign Ministry to post large ads in major newspapers in 10 countries showing an image of Abbas and Mashaal embracing.

The move was opposed by the ministry and in Israeli embassies, as staff claimed a paid ad would undercut the message’s credibility. European PR companies hired by Israel also said the campaign was problematic.

In addition, the ministry struggled to secure funding for the campaign, estimated at $650,000.

Lieberman eventually decided to ask Jewish organizations to post five ads under their names instead of the Foreign Ministry. The ads will appear in five European countries. —