“Will you condemn Hamas?” Asks Piers Morgan on one of his many interviews concerning the situation in Israel and Gaza. Trying to give an air of impartiality, although he does sometimes show where he stands. The Palestinian speaker tries to creatively wiggle their way out of the question.
As the battles in Gaza enter their fourth week, and the initial shock of how this all started fades into the prehistoric by social media standards. We quickly slide back into the familiar trenches of the battles for the hearts and minds.
Each side digging out new and old YouTube and Instagram videos of this or that figure saying or showing something damning about the other side. A fetish develops for pictures and videos of dead babies and suffering civilians. A pavlovian response to each new piece of news that appears.
Anything that can be used to change even one person’s mind is immediately posted to stories and walls, and people will argue their talking points in the comments with passion and with not a hint of good faith.
Each side will accuse the other of believing propaganda and lies. While copiously swallowing and believing their own side’s propaganda and lies.
In the worst cases.
1. On one side Israel is portrayed as a bloodthirsty regime with modern weaponry who executes civilians out of a sadistic urge. They imagine a Jewish pilot with a big nose and an evil laugh pressing the button on their F-16 while aiming specifically for the poor Palestinian children while Americans stand behind it and rub their hands together counting the money that these wars generate. The Americans are of course Zionist Jews.
In their minds these Jews are almost omnipotent in their cunning, and the only reason Hamas managed to break through the barriers and commit their atrocities, is their diabolical plan which will give the bloodthirsty Israelis an excuse to go in and kill as many of Gaza´s children as they want.
Even going as far as faking the beheadings of babies in order to get cover for their evil plots.
In the best case scenario they are callous racist who do not care for Palestinian lives, carelessly dropping bombs randomly on a poor defenceless, and mainly unarmed population.
On this side of the story Hamas are noble barbarian freedom fighters, fighting the evil Zionist. They can do no wrong.
2. On the other hand Hamas are portrayed as evil barbaric marauders who broke through to Israel, and for hours committed the worst atrocities against Jewish men, women, children, elderly since the Holocaust.
The people on this side believe the stories of the rapes, the beheadings and medieval sadism with which Hamas and in many cases civilian Gazans who accompanied them acted.
They also believe that Hamas would be so callous as to place their rocket launchers in schools, hospitals and next to news agency offices. Using civilians as shields.
On this side of the story they naively believe that Hamas as the ruling party of Gaza since 2007 should have focused on infrastructure, shelters and the well being of the ordinary Palestinians, instead of investing everything into the tunnels, rockets and expensive hotel rooms in Doha for their leaders. They refuse the thought of a ceasefire now, as they believe it will only serve for Hamas to regroup, rearm and plan their next murderous attacks against Israeli civilians.
One of these scenarios is fiction. The other is fact. But depending on the readers ideology it will unfortunately not be as obvious as expected to see the difference.
Innocent people die in wars. Especially these type of wars where the enemy is purposefully embedded within the civilian populations.
This is a sad and terrible fact: There was a ceasefire in effect when Hamas stormed the borders and brought this calamity on Israel, but even more so on Gaza, that is a fact.
Gaza is now suffering. They knew Gaza would suffer horribly from their actions, and they did it anyway that is a fact.
They knew Israel would have to respond harshly, they did it anyway. They killed our children knowing their children would die, and….they did it anyway.
So let me ask you a question, will you condemn Hamas?