is launching an international diplomatic campaign meant to portray Hamas'
and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
as cohorts and peace refuseniks, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
has instructed the Foreign Ministry to post large ads in major newspapers in 10 different countries showing an image of Abbas and Mashaal embraced.
The move was met by internal opposition at the ministry and in Israeli embassies as staff claimed a paid ad undercuts the message's credibility. European PR companies hired by Israel also said the campaign was problematic.
In addition, the ministry struggled to secure funding for the campaign which is estimated at 500,000 euros for every 10 newspapers.
Lieberman eventually decided to ask Jewish organizations to post five ads under their names instead of the Foreign Ministry. The ads will be posted in five European countries.
The foreign minister's office said in response, "In light of requests by Jewish groups asking what could be done about Khaled Mashaal's hateful statements and Abu Mazen's collaboration with them, we proposed posting ads in media outlets."