Africa & Middle East

Officials: Israel outsources monitoring of Palestinian media

The Israeli government and military have “unofficially outsourced some of their intelligence work to private organizations” that monitor anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media and are associated with right-wing politics, according to several high-ranking government and military sources.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that the situation - which the sources said stemmed from a lack of resources, shifting priorities and years of neglect - has prompted some government officials to ask Military Intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi recently to take action. Staff members in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau were among the officials who complained to Kochavi.

A Military Intelligence decision to more closely monitor social media, blogs and other online sources after the events of the Arab Spring has meant dramatically reduced monitoring of the mainstream Arab-language media, the IDF sources said. They said Military Intelligence has almost totally stopped monitoring major television stations in real time, like Al Jazeera, Al-Manar and Palestinian television.

The government, meanwhile, is getting most of its information on anti-Israel incitement from two private organizations, the sources said: the Middle East Media Research Institute, which is based in Washington, D.C., and the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch.