While Israel has met strategically with success over the last month, many of us have missed the real point of this war. Opponents of Israel have accused it of deliberately harming civilian populations – as so often, they are projecting onto Israel the desires of its enemies. And this time, the aim wasn’t only to kill Israeli children – Hamas was trying their hardest to get Palestinian innocents killed, too.

Israel’s goals were strategic: to end the rockets, and then, far more importantly, to destroy the tunnels. To my mind, it seems that Israel has achieved these objectives, at least for now, but that’s not the point.

The other war has been constantly mentioned, although it’s doubtful whether its importance is appreciated: the PR war. Hamas did not have objectives on the ground in this operation. Its rockets were ineffective for any such tactic. It’s tunnels were destroyed before they could be used. The only war Hamas wanted was the PR war, which was unequivocally successful.

Each person who decided Israel should lift the blockade on Gaza, who thinks that Israel needs to sit down and negotiate with Hamas, who is convinced that Israel’s actions are disproportionate, or that it committed war crimes, each one of those people represents a victory for Hamas – in what can only be called the “telegenically dead child strategy”.

Take a moment for the unspeakable horror of that to sink in. Hamas began this war wanting children to die.

It conducted this war so that children would die. It even killed children preparing for this war in the construction of its tunnels. Hamas wanted all these children dead because it wanted you, western folk, to blame Israel.

The breakdown of responsibility for the murder of innocents is traditionally between Hamas and Israel, each trying to pin the blame on the other. Israel is responsible for mistakes it makes while fighting a war it did not choose or want. It should apologise for mistakes, and work to avoid them. But Israel had little choice but to engage in this operation, and took pains to limit the impact once it began.

Hamas is to blame for the deliberate endangerment of far more people. But those who perpetuate the Hamas narrative, who broadcast the pictures or stories of dead children and pretend that Hamas was not the one that ensured they died, for the very purpose of being broadcast in the way they are, also share responsibility.

So to all those people who fell for it, congratulations. You share responsibility for every dead child.

These people are typically not blamed. Hamas and Israel are both accused of war crimes, but the driving force behind the deaths is the presence and attitude of news media who legitimate Hamas’ methods, by making them successful.

The world is blaming Israel, and the responsibility for that rests with the perpetrators of a murderous PR strategy – both those who ensure the death of innocents, and those who package and broadcast those to suit the narrative of terrorism. The fact is, if the news media weren’t there to do the bidding of a terror group, many innocent people would be alive today.

So I’ve put together an incomplete list of people and organisations who’ve rewarded Hamas’ telegenically dead child strategy. These are the people who I hold responsible for the innocent casualties of the current conflict, as well as future ones, in which Hamas will undoubtedly employ the same strategy, as it has worked so well.

Until these people and many others cease rewarding Hamas for killing children, more will die.

  • UNRWA

This UN body has not only been perpetuating the narratives that underpin the telegenically dead child strategy, they’ve been practically assisting in its implementation, with UNRWA facilities used for weapons storage. That’s before we get onto the topic of UNRWA indoctrinating children towards destroying the state of Israel.

Housing displaced people, and displaced rockets underneath them. Responsible for the death of innocents, including children.

Housing displaced people, and displaced rockets underneath them. Responsible for the death of innocents, including children.

  • Jon Snow

Jon Snow’s online on-screen editorializing reached a huge audience. His trivialization of the threats Israel faced knew no bounds. Still, it’s hard to doubt his commitment to innocents in Gaza. His emotional appeal on behalf of the children of Gaza would no doubt have been extremely effective, if he had not been carrying out the propaganda objectives of the people who endangered those children in the first place, and thus rewarding those actions.

By trivializing the threat posed by the genocidal rulers of Gaza and pinning all blame on Israel, Jon Snow gave cover to the deliberate endangerment of children. You know nothing, Jon Snow.

  • Owen Jones

Owen Jones’ rush to claim the media was biased in favour of Israel, and then frenzied accusations of occupation, war crimes, and sundry other things were bad enough. He blamed Israel for killing 11-month-old Omar Jihad al-Mishrawi – despite the fact that the UN revealed he was killed by a Hamas rocket. He has refused to apologise for this. So on all fronts, it seems he’s a supporter of the propaganda around the telegenically dead children tactic. And thus must take some responsibility for the dead children we see today.

Omar Jihad al-Masharawi's father. Owen is partly responsible for Hamas replicating his fate.

Omar Jihad al-Masharawi’s father. Owen is partly responsible for Hamas replicating his fate hundreds of times in the last month.

  • The National Union of Students

This lot, having recently rejected BDS, adopted it during the operation. Apart from the anti-Semitic undertones, it rewarded Hamas’ strategy of making sure as many children as possible die, and encouraged them to do it in future.

By giving in to Hamas’ tactic of putting children in to harm’s way, the NUS not only passed a motion that will target all Jews, but made horrifying scenes like this one more likely to happen again.

  • Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband’s getting on board with Hamas’ strategy to kill as many children as possible wasn’t as swift as Owen Jones’, but the amount of amoral political opportunism needed was staggering. Ed clearly cares more about his own polling than he does about dead children.

Ed only married the mother of his children when it became politically expedient, so it’s no surprise that now he’s taking part in the telegenically dead children industry for a poll bump.

This list is obviously not an attempt to be comprehensive. Nor do I think all the people on it were deliberately trying to kill children (although UNRWA certainly do their bit to promote the cycle of violence). Still, if they had all considered the consequences of their actions, rather than rewarding the cold-blooded savagery of a genocidal organisation, we might have seen the end of the tactic of deliberately having children die.

When children are sacrificed to sate the gods of 24-hour news, the moral onus is also on those in the media to see that it never happens again. And to all those who circulated pictures of wounded or dying innocents, and those who decided that those pictures were reason enough to take punitive action against Israel – next time, the blood is on your hands.

 

If you think someone else deserves to be included on the list, comment who they are and why they should be there below.