Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

No Corporate Advertising. No Selling Out. We Rely Instead on Many Small Donations From Readers Like You.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal” or acceptable. Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli forces launched air attacks on the Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli forces launched air attacks on the Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021. (Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)

IDF 'Willfully' Misled Media About Ground Invasion to Lure Gaza Fighters Into Tunnels: Report

The Israeli military spokesperson's office communicated directly with reporters just after midnight Friday, claiming a ground invasion was underway.

Even as fresh fears surfaced of a looming ground invasion by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza emerged Friday morning, reporting indicated that members of the international media were "willfully" misled just hours earlier when the IDF falsely announced overnight it had begun ground operations as a ruse to lure Palestinian resistance fighters into more vulnerable positions for targeted bombings.

At 12:17 a.m. Israel time on Friday, according to Haaretz, the IDF spokesperson's unit sent a WhatsApp message to several foreign correspondents, telling them ground troops were headed into Gaza—a major escalation beyond the IDF's bombing campaign which has killed at least 119 people including 31 children and injured at least 830 people as of Friday.  

The spokesperson's English department also tweeted, "IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip," leading news outlets including the Washington Post and ABC News to report the escalation. 

Instead of a ground invasion, however, Hamas fighters faced another air attack aimed at the so-called "Metro," a network of underground tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip. The IDF soon began a major blitz of targets in Gaza, including the tunnels, with 160 warplanes dropping approximately 450 bombs, according to Haaretz.

Military representatives took more than an hour to correct the reports of a ground assault. 

According to Haaretz, "Emerging social media reports say that the IDF's report of a ground incursion was intended to draw Hamas militants into the organization's underground tunnel network, which were then targeted in heavy airstrikes, using the military's direct line to international journalists as a means of attack against Hamas."

The IDF said Friday it was still assessing how many people were killed in the assault, and spokesperson Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman claimed the military's reports of a ground invasion directly to the media were not intentional. 

Zilberman told Israel's Kan Radio that there "could have been a mistake" in how his office described the IDF's plans for the late night attack, but members of the media scoffed.

"To be clear, [International IDF Spokesperson] Jonathan Conricus told me directly, 'there are ground troops in Gaza.' That was the basis for a first story saying so," tweeted Felicia Schwartz, Israel and Palestine correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, after correcting a report she wrote about the IDF's stated plans of attack.

One American journalist based in Israel told Haaretz that the WhatsApp message sent from Conricus to the press just after midnight Friday was "awfully transparent" and could damage IDF's credibility and relationships with the media. 

"The idea that they misled people only in English, that Conricus personally said it was so, without any caveats or promises to check, and the timing right before a big attack on the tunnels," the reporter said. "On the other hand, they may figure that foreign press is so dependent on them, what does it matter?"

The United Nations said Friday that dozens of Gaza residents had fled their homes overnight to seek refuge in U.N. emergency shelters. The bombing campaign also caused severe damage to Gaza's electricity networks.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Sanders Rips GOP for Remaining 'Loyal to the Big Lie,' Says Filibuster Must Be Abolished

"Not a single Republican in the United States Senate has the courage to even debate whether we should protect American democracy or not."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


'The Filibuster Must Go': Senate GOP Blocks Debate on Voting Rights Bill

"Democrats in the Senate can have a functional democracy or the filibuster, but not both."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Key Senate Democrat Applauded for Manifesto on Reducing Drug Costs

"Sen. Wyden's drug pricing principles are a road map for taking on the greed of pharmaceutical corporations and lowering drug prices for all Americans."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·



Coalition of 200+ Groups Call for Permanent End to 'Neocolonialist' Global Gag Rule

"The global community deserves true partnership from the U.S., but the threat that this destructive policy could reemerge undermines relationships and harms people around the globe."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·