Every once in awhile, the Western media finds itself complacent in playing to the narrative of those opposed to liberal values. In an attempt to seem universalist and open-minded, the international press often portrays immensely complicated global conflicts in Leibniz terms that fit their progressive and simplistic paradigm. In the course of such oversimplification, the press becomes increasingly more apt to demonize Western nations in order to fit their reductionist narrative.
Take, for example, the recent events in Gaza. This past Friday, before the first night of Passover, the Palestinian-Arab terrorist group Hamas launched a series of protests on the Gaza Strip near the Israeli border. Over the course of the afternoon, the protests turned violent, as Palestinian-Arabs heaved rocks and firebombs towards the border fence and sent tires engulfed in flames towards Israeli soldiers. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) responded in kind by targeting those civilians instigating violence or attempting to breach the border wall. In total, seventeen Palestinian-Arabs were killed in confrontations with Israeli soldiers, while over a thousand others were injured in the clashes.
For context, Hamas labeled the planned six-week insurrection the “March of Return,” a reference to the Palestinian-Arab desire to return to Israeli land after their defeat in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and subsequent departure. Hamas planned the protests to coincide with the Palestinian-Arab holiday known as “Land Day,” a day in 1976 when Israeli security forces killed six Arab-Israelis who were protesting the appropriation of Arab-owned land in northern Israel.
At the behest and encouragement of Hamas, roughly 20,000 Palestinian-Arab civilians set up five large camps near the border fence, demanding the “right” to enter Israeli land. The final “push” of the six-week protests will involve rushing the border wall on May 15, the day coined by the Palestinian-Arabs as nakba or “the catastrophe,” a politically absurd reference to Israeli Independence, which occurred on May 14, 1948. May 15 holds particular contention this year, since it is also the day upon which President Trump will open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
In response to the Hamas-led protests, the IDF tweeted, “Hamas is responsible for violent riots and everything taking place under its jurisdiction. The IDF will not allow the security fence to be turned into an area of terror.” The IDF had earlier alluded to the existence of various terror sites within the rioting encampments, whose chaos Hamas has used to “camouflage” its terrorist activities next to the border wall.
Friday’s headlines did not disappoint in their failure to properly assign blame to the responsible parties. From The New York Times, the headline read “Israeli military kills 15 Palestinians in Confrontations at Gaza Border.” And from Reuters, “Israeli forces kill 16 Palestinians in Gaza border protests: Gaza medics.” And from CNN, “Gaza protests: 17 Palestinians killed in confrontations with Israeli forces” The LA Times performed its job, as well: “15 Palestinians reported killed by Israeli fire as Gaza border protest builds.” Like clockwork, various outlets have whitewashed any mention of Hamas from their headlines, though Hamas is solely responsible for instigating the violence. In fact, the media categorically ignore much of the context behind the Palestinian-Arab frustrations that have nothing to directly do with Israel.
For those unfamiliar with the various cadres of ineffective and corrupt Palestinian-Arab “leadership,” Hamas is the Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist faction that consolidated control of the Gaza Strip following the Battle of Gaza in 2007. As of now, Hamas remains in league with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the subordinate governing organ that controls the rest of the Palestinian-controlled territories in Judea and Samaria.
While the international community is strangely more forgiving of the PA, about 10 percent of its budget, which amounts to roughly $350 million, is allocated towards funding terrorism against neighboring Israelis. Similarly, there is no shortage of “Days of Rage” — public days of protest condoned and sponsored by the government — that Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has incited in an attempt to weaponize his own civilians against the Israeli army and distract from his own miserable approval rating within the Palestinian-controlled territories.
Indeed, much of what we are currently witnessing on the Gaza border is a direct attempt by Hamas to weaponize the Palestinian-Arabs under its control, much as the PA has done. According to reports from the IDF, Hamas is systematically goading its civilians to rush the wall in the hopes of drawing Israeli soldiers into confrontation with the civilians. For example, the IDF reported that a seven year-old Palestinian-Arab girl had approached the fence but that they were able to locate the young girl’s parents. The IDF then released a statement: “Hamas cynically uses women and children, sending them to the fence and endangering their lives.”
Israel’s cynicism of Hamas’s use of human shields is well-placed. Civilian deaths at the hands of Israeli soldiers capture the attention of the international media and result in the collective demonization of Israel, irrespective of whether the civilians were engaging in violence prior to being killed. With the Western media’s willingness to portray Israel as the routine aggressor despite the Israeli military following highly specific and moral rules of engagement, the Hamas method of using civilians as bait will continue to be a successful tactic for shoring up international apologia for the terrorist group.
Israeli reporter Caroline Glick summarizes this pernicious strategy well: “Hamas’s strategy of harming Israel by forcing its soldiers to kill Palestinians is predicated on its certainty that the Western media will act as its partner and ensure the success of its lethal propaganda stunt … So long as the media and the left rush to indict Israel for its efforts to defend itself and its citizens against its terrorist foes, who turn the laws of war on their head as a matter of course, these attacks will continue and they will escalate.”
There is also an additional element to the international press’s desire to frame the Arab-Israeli conflict in a negative manner toward Israel and it fits the Left’s theory of intersectionality. Elliott Hamilton, Daily Wire writer and former research associate for Americans for Peace and Tolerance, describes the Left and Western media’s propensity to blame Israel for Hamas’ actions as an example of turning non-westerners into a noble savage, a literary stock character that represents the “outsider” who usually garners sympathy due to his assumed goodness and his adamant resistance to a corrupt civilization:
“The Left’s propensity to view the world through the prism of race and ethnicity results in them blaming seemingly white, European, Christian, and Jewish entities to be at fault for every apparent disadvantage that non-Westerners face. In their eyes, the supposedly oppressed non-Westerners can do no wrong and are in the right when it seeks to resist against the supposed oppressors. Conveniently, they will actively ignore the most dangerous aspects of any given entity, such as Hamas’ modus operandi to wage genocide against the Jewish people.”
Hamilton suggests that by framing the Palestinian-Arabs as the “other” and placing the entirety of the blame on Israel for the tragic situation that the people of Gaza live under, the international press engages in the soft bigotry of low expectations, where the Palestinian-Arab leadership seeks to lack the agency to charter alternative directions to better the people they supposedly represent. This deeply-seeded racism within the progressive media elites obscures the nuance of the conflict and it prevents us from being able to actively discuss and tackle long-standing problems within the ranks of the Palestinian-Arab leadership.
I encourage you to actively examine how the international press portrays the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, taking special note of how the Israeli response to Palestinian-Arab aggression is categorically portrayed as the source of said conflict, rather than as the only logical diffuser. The Gaza protests are yet another battlefield for the press to display its overwhelming commitment to a narrative that only emboldens terrorism.