Israeli public diplomacy surrounding the disengagement from Gaza and the general elections in the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2005 reflects a problematic misconstruction of Israel’s messages in English regarding its relations with the Palestinians. Based on content analysis of official documents, such as official announcements, press releases, and speeches by Israeli government officials (the PM and the foreign ministry), we point to the incompleteness of Israeli public messages aimed at non-Hebrew speakers in terms of major framing functions. Incorporating narrative analysis, we further claim that the problem of missing framing functions is part of a larger problem of misconstruction of the state’s foreign policy narrative. At the core of this problem lies a discontinuity between the definition of the problem faced by Israel, the characterization of those who are responsible for the problem, and the proposed solutions to the problem. While the definition of the problem tends to rest quite heavily on internal disputes within Israel, namely the dispute between the government and the settlers, the Palestinians are those who are held responsible for the problem, and the solution is defined as a confrontation with the Palestinians. This incoherence between the definition of the problems and the solutions offered has damaged the internal logic of Israeli public diplomacy. The article discusses these findings against the backdrop of the traditional Israeli approach toward public diplomacy as reflected by the concept of “explanation” (hasbara). It suggests that these incoherencies played a key role in the explanation of why Israel failed to achieve significant improvement in its international image following the disengagement.
Item Citation: Israel Studies. 15,3 (2010) 143-162Accession Number: edsram.aleph.publish.000498848; Publication Type: Periodical; Source: Israel Studies; Language: English; Publication Date: 20100101