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  • Helena Kallas

Israel-Palestine: a war of information

Along with the actual war, information warfare plays a crucial role in the Israel-Palestine conflict, with narratives, media manipulation, and propaganda changing public opinion while maintaining the ongoing conflict.

In a world where news organizations are constantly focusing on reporting global disasters, inequity appears in terms of who suffers. Every day, people's lives are ruined by violence and despair. The variation in media coverage highlights how important the media is in defining people's sides/opinions, making us wonder why some crises and their victims create more concern and empathy compared to others. The choices we make, such as painting one side as the aggressor and the other as the victim, or showing empathy towards one group while ignoring the other, have a significant impact. These choices support stories that promote and elevate certain people over others in terms of importance and humanity.

The way in which current events between Israel and Hamas are covered is the best example of this media manipulation in action. For instance, in some news reports, Palestinians "die" while Israelis are "killed". Danger false narratives are created by media coverage that only highlight the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas in Israel, failing to contextualize the event in the larger context of Israel's harsh occupation and oppression of the Palestine people for more than 50 years.

It is a complicated relationship of historical, geopolitical, and narrative factors that raises questions when comparing to the unequal treatment of the resistance movements in Palestine and Ukraine by the Western nations, with Ukrainians frequently praised as "heroes" and Palestinians labeled as "terrorists". Ukrainian resistance leans on its historical struggle against Soviet invaders, portraying itself as protectors of territory integrity

This typically leads to an impacted perspective, which makes it difficult to see the bigger picture, which makes it simpler to tolerate acts that oppress or injure them. However, humanizing just one group has a chance of ignoring the complexity of the issue and the pain that all sides are going through. In this ongoing conflict, many journalists are afraid of being portrayed as antisemitic when writing narratives. “If you’re trying to tell the story from a perspective which recognizes Palestinian humanity and recognizes that Israel has failed [to uphold] its obligations under international law, you are held to a high standard,” Ash Sarkar, contributing editor at Novara Media, told Al Jazeera’s The Take.

It is crucial to have a critical viewpoint on media narratives in a globalized society. It is equally important to question these portrayals and take the larger context into account here empathy and recognition are based on the human experiences on both sides.

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