Be Wary of Stories Quoting One “Israeli Official”

The World
How It Works
July 17 2014 11:42 AM

Be Wary of Stories Quoting One “Israeli Official”

This morning a number of outlets, including the BBC, AFP, and Reuters, quoted claims by an unnamed Israeli official who said that the Israeli government and Hamas had agreed to a cease-fire due to take effect tomorrow morning.

The reports were quickly denied by both Hamas and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, though there are apparently ongoing talks facilitated by the Egyptian government in Cairo.

Advertisement

It’s not unusual for conflicting statements to come out of a government during combat and high-pressure negotiations. The quick reversal struck me only because the New York Times led its front page this morning with an article declaring that a ground invasion of Gaza is “increasingly likely,” according to a “senior Israeli military official.” The official “spoke on the condition of anonymity under military protocol” and “said that his assessment was based on ‘the signals I get.’ ”

I have no particular reason to doubt this official’s take on the signals coming from the government, but as I noted yesterday, it’s fairly apparent that there’s disagreement and even acrimony among senior Israeli leaders about what course of action to take. It doesn’t seem that unlikely that some officials might be attempting to sway policy with leaks to the international media.

My guess would be that decisions on whether to accept a cease-fire—if there were even one on the table—or escalate to a full-scale ground campaign haven’t been made yet. A lot can happen in the next few days, and I’d take the comments of any anonymous official with a grain of salt.  

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Behold

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 3:53 PM Smash and Grab Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 5:39 PM Whole Foods Desperately Wants Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 5:03 PM Marcel the Shell Is Back and as Endearing as Ever
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.