Media Narratives and Contradictions of the West in the Palestine Crisis

Israeli destruction of Gaza City

Israel-Palestine conflict is going through the deadliest escalation after the 2nd intifada as Israel continues its arial bombardment on Gaza strip. Beginning on 7th October, Hamas entered Israeli occupied settlements and took many Israeli citizens hostage. This resulted in serious bombardment of Gaza strip that soon turned into a worst humanitarian catastrophe after the Russia-Ukraine war in recent years. Unlike the Ukrainians, the Palestinian people had no other place to fled to as the whole country has been taken hostage by a brutal tyrant regime. Western media also initiated a wave of propaganda against the Palestinian people, spreading misinformation regarding the extent of Hamas tactics and wrong images of beheaded babies which turned out to be false news. Despite of no evidence, President Biden condemned that event in his official statement to further the false narrative. After subsequent reports revealed that no such incident was verified by international correspondents and neither by Israeli channels, the whole fiasco was dismissed. But it had already caused damage by intensifying ideological rift and cultural fault lines on the media. Media presenters like Piers Morgan used these fake reports to justify Israeli aggression by using this incident as fault line to draw this false dichotomy between both sides. Presenting Israel as innocent victim by setting this precedent as origin of hostilities undermined the decades of exploitation and apartheid by Israel.

The world now stands divided over the matter of Israel’s violent aggression and constant bombardment of Gaza strip, indiscriminately targeting churches, mosques and hospital and killing innocent people. These actions would have been condemned as war crimes by international community but what the world witnessed was completely opposite. Instead of holding Israel responsible for their tyranny and violence, the international community defended Israel’s actions as their right to defend itself from terrorism. Despite of obvious history of Israel’s settler colonial activities, expelling indigenous population from their ancestral land and consistent events of violence and mass killings, the western powers are siding with Israel. This depicts the eurocentrism of western notion of human rights and reality of “rule based international order”. When Russia invaded Ukraine to prevent the encroachment of NATO, USA and European states put sanctions on Russia, cut off any economic relations with them and banned Russian citizens. Yet no such reactions have been observed with Israel. USA and all major European leaders and state officials have announced their support of Israel’s attack on Gaza, calling it a proportionate response. Israel’s defense minister called Palestinians human animals and said that after they are done with their attack, Gaza will never be the same implying the level of brutality and violence they are willing to enact to achieve their goals. 

The dehumanizing strategies are normal media tactics that European colonial powers always employed to justify their war crimes. Painting themselves as good civilized people while reducing their opponents as lower cultures is a historical truth of the west. Churchill used such derogatory remarks about Indians during Bengal famine which was engineered by the Britain as they hoarded all the food from subcontinent during world war ll. Churchill undermined the suffering of famine and said that they breed like rabbits implying the death of few is not his concern. United States also accused Iraq for bombing their own civilians and possessing nuclear weapons then went ahead and killed millions of Iraqis by aerial bombing, all the while possessing the deadliest nuclear arsenal. The self-reflection and accountability are strictly missing from West’s notion of power politics. President Biden accused Putin of committing war crimes and bombing children in Ukraine but dismissed Israel’s deliberate attack on hospitals as Hamas propaganda. The stark inconsistency of Europe’s approach in downplaying Israel’s actions while labeling others as aggressors has led some of their own experts to question credibility of international law and norm. Allies of Israel have always maintained that Israel is a democracy and is governed by rules and human rights. But such retorts always fell short when it came rights of Palestinian people. There have been numerous recorded incidents where Israeli police and military detained, tortured and killed innocent Palestinian people without any legitimate cause. Aljazeera reported in 2022 that Israel held around 600 Palestinian detainees without any criminal charge and kept them in prison based on their “secret evidence”. Such detainees are not given proper trial nor they are allowed to meet their relatives. Such state tyranny would be judged and charged under international laws but “international community” always turn blind eyes to Israel’s war crimes. 

The governments who are supportive of Israel’s violent and inhumane policies are also responsible for reprehensible actions themselves. United States waged wars on Iraq and Afghanistan at the start of 21st century that resulted in the deaths of more than two million people and caused the biggest humanitarian crisis after the world wars. The cold war with Soviet Union also witnessed many conflicts and overthrowal of many governments in Africa, Asia and South America. Colonial legacy of Britain, France and other European powers resulted in centuries of slavery that created the “third world”. Meanwhile the only supporter of Israel in South Asia, India, itself is committing same inhumane crimes with their extremist Hindutva ideology. Violence against minorities have increased many folds ever since Modi led RSS regime came to power in 2014. Kashmir crisis is likely to become next Palestine with Indian military effectively putting a lockdown in many parts of the occupied territory. Nonetheless, just because the governments of these countries have decided to support Israel does not mean the population is also supportive of their government. European countries are witnessing one of the biggest anti-Israel protests in years. There have been demonstrations in many big cities like London, Brussels, Dublin, New York, Colombia, Paris etc. These protests indicate that, regardless of their government’s policies and national interests, the public is not accepting the state-sponsored propaganda and misleading media portrayal promoted by Israel and its supporters.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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