Israel's psychological warfare

Sick fucks:
Late night calls from Israel spook jittery Lebanese
Reuters 21.07.06 | 21h23

BEIRUT, July 21 (Reuters) - At first, Bushra Khayyat tried to ignore the incessant ringing of the phone at her house in Lebanon's southern port city of Sidon. It was 4 a.m., but she finally got out of bed.

"I said hello and got a recorded message from Israel," she told Reuters.

In clear Arabic, the strong voice on the phone said: "Oh Lebanese people, we tell you not to follow Hizbollah. We will continue to strike and no one will bring your prisoners back from Israel except the Lebanese government."

Other residents of the south have received similar calls.

"My grandmother got two calls at 5 and 6 in the morning saying the Israeli state would not stop the attacks and asking everyone to leave the area south of the Litani," said one woman who is stranded in Sidon.

"She slammed the phone down."

Israel has dropped flyers on Lebanon during its 10-day-old conflict with Hizbollah guerrillas, warning people to stay away from the group's strongholds, warning them to evacuate their villages in the south or caricaturing the chief of Hizbollah.

But there was something eerie about the phone calls.

"It was a shock to get a call from Israel," said Khayyat, who has since fled the bombardment to Syria and then France.

"I have caller ID on my landline and when I checked it came up as 'out of area'. It's not that I was scared, I just wished I could talk back to the voice but it was a recorded message."

Khayyat got a similar call two nights later, this time answered by her maid, who, panicking when she heard a voice announce "this is Israel", immediately put down the phone.
I doubt this kind of psychological warfare will get them far. I also wonder, out of curiosity, how they are doing this -- how they got control of the Lebanese phone system. And how long they've had the ability to control it.

Update: It gets even sicker, now they want snitches:

Israel offers rewards to Lebanese for tips on Hizbollah
Reuters 21.07.06 | 21h56

JERUSALEM, July 21 (Reuters) - Israel dropped leaflets across Lebanon on Friday offering "attractive material rewards" to people who give information about Hizbollah that helps the Jewish state's offensive against the guerrillas.
An army spokeswoman said the rewards could be a range of things, such as cash or a house. It was not clear how such items would be delivered or exactly what information Israel wanted.

The leaflets, worded in Arabic, call on people to "remove the sore known as Hizbollah from the heart of Lebanon", gave a phone number and Web site where information could be passed on.

Confidentiality was assured, said the leaflet, entitled "All 4 Lebanon".

Israeli aircraft dropped 23 tonnes of bombs on a Hizbollah bunker earlier this week in southern Beirut after intelligence indicated senior leaders of the group were there. Hizbollah said none were killed.

The Jewish state launched the offensive last week after Hizbollah seized two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in a cross-border raid.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.