The recent escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas has drawn international attention and condemnation. The conflict, which began on November 10, 2023, has claimed the lives of more than 200 people, mostly Palestinians, and injured thousands more. The world media has portrayed the war as a result of Hamas firing rockets at Israeli cities, provoking a harsh response from the Israeli military. However, there is more to the story than meets the eye. In this article, we will explore some of the underlying factors and motivations that have fueled the war and why the media is not telling you the whole truth.
The role of Iran and its proxies
One of the main reasons why Hamas decided to launch rockets at Israel was to divert attention from the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the world powers in Vienna. Iran, which is the main sponsor and ally of Hamas, has been under intense pressure to curb its nuclear ambitions and comply with the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US withdrew from in 2018. Iran has been using its proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, to create instability and chaos in the region, hoping to gain leverage and concessions in the talks. By provoking Israel, Iran hoped to rally the Muslim world behind its cause and portray itself as the defender of the Palestinian cause.
However, this strategy backfired, as many Arab and Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, have condemned Hamas for its aggression and expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense. These countries, which have recently normalized their relations with Israel, see Iran as a bigger threat than Israel and are wary of its expansionist and sectarian agenda. They also fear that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to their security and stability. Therefore, they have been working with Israel and the US to contain Iran’s influence and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The internal politics of Israel and Palestine
Another factor that contributed to the outbreak of the war was the internal politics of both Israel and Palestine. On the Israeli side, the war came at a time when the country was facing a political deadlock and a possible fifth election in two years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009, was facing corruption charges and a growing opposition from his rivals. He was also unable to form a stable coalition government after the March 2023 election, which resulted in a hung parliament. By launching a military campaign against Hamas, Netanyahu hoped to boost his popularity and secure his political survival. He also hoped to sabotage the efforts of his opponents, who were trying to form an alternative government that would include Arab parties for the first time in Israel’s history.
On the Palestinian side, the war came at a time when the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the West Bank, was facing a legitimacy crisis and a loss of support from its people. President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been in power since 2005, has been widely criticized for his authoritarianism, corruption, and failure to deliver on the promises of statehood and peace. He has also postponed the first parliamentary and presidential elections in 15 years, which were scheduled for May and July 2023, citing the Israeli refusal to allow voting in East Jerusalem. By doing so, he angered many Palestinians, who saw the elections as a chance to renew their leadership and end the division between the PA and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. By firing rockets at Israel, Hamas hoped to challenge Abbas’s authority and present itself as the true representative and defender of the Palestinian people.
The media bias and misinformation
The third factor that influenced the war was the media bias and misinformation that shaped the public opinion and perception of the conflict. The mainstream media, especially in the West, has been largely biased in favor of Israel, portraying it as a victim of Hamas’s terrorism and ignoring its violations of international law and human rights. The media has also failed to provide the historical and political context of the conflict, such as the Israeli occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion, which have created the conditions for violence and resistance. The media has also relied on unreliable and unverified sources, such as the Israeli military and government, which have often distorted the facts and figures of the war. For example, the media has reported that Israel has targeted only military sites and minimized civilian casualties, while in reality, Israel has bombed residential buildings, schools, hospitals, media offices, and infrastructure, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians, including women and children.
On the other hand, the social media, especially in the Arab and Muslim world, has been flooded with misinformation and propaganda that has inflamed the emotions and sentiments of the people. The social media has also spread false and exaggerated claims, such as the involvement of other countries and actors, such as Turkey, Qatar, and the Muslim Brotherhood, in the war. The social media has also circulated graphic and disturbing images and videos, some of which were old or fabricated, that have provoked anger and hatred against Israel and its allies. The social media has also been used to mobilize and organize protests and demonstrations, some of which turned violent and resulted in clashes with the security forces and attacks on Jewish communities and synagogues.
The way forward
The war between Israel and Hamas has ended with a fragile and temporary ceasefire, brokered by Egypt and the UN, on November 21, 2023. However, the root causes and underlying issues of the conflict remain unresolved and could erupt again at any time. The war has also exposed the failure and weakness of the international community, which has been unable to prevent or stop the violence and hold the perpetrators accountable. The war has also highlighted the need for a genuine and lasting peace process that would address the legitimate rights and aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian people, based on the principles of justice, equality, and coexistence. The war has also underscored the importance of accurate and balanced media coverage that would inform and educate the public and foster dialogue and understanding among different cultures and religions.