Countering Palestinian misinformation

During the first weeks of December a sizeable number of reports regarding the latest round of violence in the region have been published. Without any major surprise, the international community has been focusing its latest attacks against Israel. In fact, Human Rights Watch is in the process of once more taking aim at the Jewish State defense operations against Hamas by publishing documents which would define actions taken during Pillars of Defense as in direct opposition with the “law of war”. Regardless of errors that may or may not have been made during this latest round of violence, it is now clear that international bodies and agencies are no longer to be considered super partes in the conflict between the State of Israel and the Palestinians. The ongoing condemnation of the E1 building and development project, both by the UN Security Council and the European Union, is a further example of how much international organizations and inter-governmental bodies have bought into a pro-Palestinian rhetoric. This situation creates a reality which is highly problematic both for Israel and for foreign commentators and analysts genuinely interested in peace and security for the Jewish State as well as an overall positive development in the region.

By ignoring the facts on the ground; pro-Palestinians Westerners are bound to fall into a double trap which is hidden in a carefully built Arab propaganda machine. Since 1967, after the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has lost control of Judea and Samaria, the world has been conditioned into perceiving the Palestinians as the modern ideal type of “victim”. While the rhetoric around refugees and a supposed “right of return” has been pushed for decades into the ears of decision makers, analysts, commentators and students, the image of “resistance’ has also been carefully built. States such as Syria or Iran and terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizb’Allah have gained an aura within political and intellectual cycles due to their meticulously brushed image of being the new David against Goliath.

As the situation in Syria is worsening, the rhetoric by both Palestinian terrorists and their sponsor states is increasingly worsening. While the UN provided the PA with its blessing, Hamas and Hizb’Allah are emboldened by what they perceive as recent victories. As future conflicts will be as much mediatic as military, it is now more necessary than ever to confront the Palestinian misinformation.

The first point that needs to be tackled resides in what can be called the victimization strategy. Since 1967 war and the events that took place in Sabra and Chatila, Palestinians have taken the world stage to look like the perfect victim, and as current policies illustrate, they have been successful at it. Such a strategy is exclusively meant to deprive Israel from its moral legitimacy and switch the nature of a conflict which they are unable to win. It must be said clearly, Palestinians have fully accepted their status and find in it their raison d’être. Recent polls indicate that more than 88% of residents in Judea and Samaria support armed fight against the State of Israel. This number must be brought in front of all wishful thinkers that see in the establishment of a Palestinian State the end of violence. For Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, by far the most active terrorist organizations in the Palestinian arena, peace cannot be obtained unless the Jewish State ceases to exist as it does today. 88% of individuals living under the rule of Mahmoud Abbas, supposedly more moderate than his Hamas counterparts, support a vision centered on war and destruction. This does not make of Palestinians victims, it rather makes them skilled calculators. A Ghandi or a Mandela may have used the term “victim” for his non-violent opposition movement, but as Hamas teaches to middle school children how to use and operate mortars and rocket launchers, the world must understand that Israel’s enemies simply build a rhetoric, focused on “education” projects and proselytism, which would see them as victims when in fact they have repeatedly chosen war over peace, death over life and destruction over economic development, not for the sake of national liberation but with the final intent, either stated or covert, of erasing the idea of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel.

The second point which must be confronted and challenged is the one concerning the so called Arab solidarity and the myth of a resistance bloc. Syria, Iran and Hizb’Allah have found their political credo in branding themselves as the spearheads of a movement which is meant to canalize international efforts to ultimately destroy Israel. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been the greatest recipients of logistical and military support, a support which now also comes from Egypt and Qatar. It must be clearly stated that none of these countries or organizations truly support a self-defined “Palestinian struggle”. The Syrian government is in the process of actively waging war against Palestinian camps in the country. Camps that have been built to make sure Palestinians are forever treated as second class individuals (not citizens). Recent statements by Syrian Army officials have indicated that a military “clean up” is on the way in the camp of Yarmuk. Along with Al Assad, Iran and Hizb’Allah are actively present in the Syrian civil and proxy war. The current situation is instrumental in exposing how much these States and organizations may be willing to cooperate to destroy Israel, but not to safeguard Palestinian lives. Weapons sent from Teheran to Damascus are currently being used for shooting and killing Palestinians inside camps built to create and maintain the above mentioned “victim status”.

For these two reasons, European and North American decision makers, analysts, commentators and generally good-willing persons should use their critical thinking to systematically rebuke and counter-argument the carefully built pro-Palestinian misinformation campaign. Finding comfort in the acceptance of lies and tactics to undermine Israel is not the way international powers such as the United States, France and Great Britain, should function. In a period in which the combat as switched from the immediate and definitive resolutions offered by the battlegrounds to the complex and tortuous ways of international media, it is necessary to find the audacity to deprive the ongoing campaign of misinformation of any available legitimacy. The risk is that dramatic policies will be adopted and the peace and security of the State of Israel will further be put in great danger. For Europe and Northern America, the choice is between the courage of supporting Israel in the existential fight for Her existence or further falling into a cultural crisis which undermines free thinking at the benefits of terrorist organizations and rogue states.

About the Author
Riccardo Dugulin is an independant international affairs analyst. He holds a Master in International Security from the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po) and has worked in leading think tanks in Washington DC, Beirut and Dubai and has held the position of security coordinator for a security assistance firm.