A Palestinian man stands amid the rubble looking at a building
Jerusalem - AFP
Israel's foreign ministry has lashed out at foreign journalists' coverage of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, in a video ridiculing their reporting, particularly during last year's bloody war.
The 49-second cartoon clip, entitled "Open your eyes about Gaza", was posted on YouTube on Sunday, and quickly drew condemnation from the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel.
The video features a blonde-haired television correspondent in Gaza with an American accent declaring to camera "there are no terrorists here, just ordinary people", while a masked militant fires off a rocket, presumably towards Israel.
Another scene has the reporter describing tunnels that Hamas fighters used to stage attacks into Israeli territory as "the first Palestinian subway."
A female character then gives the reporter a pair of glasses, allowing him to see the reality of "life under Hamas rule".
The reporter then faints.
"Terror rules Gaza," a caption reads.
The FPA said it was "surprised and alarmed" by the "misleading and poorly conceived" clip.
"It is disconcerting that the ministry would spend its time producing a... video that attempts to ridicule journalists reporting on a conflict" that killed 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.
It described the video as "inappropriate" and "unhelpful."
The Hamas-run ministry of information said 17 journalists were killed covering the July-August Gaza war, the bloodiest yet in the tiny coastal territory.
That statistic is disputed by the privately-run Israeli Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, which says Hamas-linked media operatives or combatants were counted as journalists in Palestinian figures.
The International Federation of Journalists says at least 13 media workers were killed.
An Italian photographer working for the Associated Press was among the journalists who died during the war.
Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon defended the controversial video, which had both foreign and Israeli reporters up in arms on social media.
He said the video was "poking gentle fun at the phenomenon" of Hamas allegedly using "human shields" during fighting and the "partial reporting" of this by international media.
The international media reported during the conflict on the alleged use of civilian sites by Palestinian militants to store weapons and fire rockets.
Israel carried out deadly strikes on several UN institutions, including schools where displaced civilians were sheltering, saying Hamas's actions forced it to target those areas.