Israel wages a war on truth in Gaza | Media
On May 15, Israeli air strikes razed the Al-Jalaa Tower, which is 11 stories high and houses Al Jazeera and Associated Press offices in the Gaza Strip. Just a few days ago, the Israeli military bombed the towers of al-Henday, al-Jawhara and al-Shorouk, which housed more than a dozen local and international news agencies.
The tower targeted by Israel is one of the few high-rise buildings built in the Gaza Strip in the past 20 years to meet the commercial, social and educational needs of local residents.
Before the attack, these towers were some of the few locations in the blocked enclave that had relatively uninterrupted service, especially those powered by their own generators. As a result, they attracted hundreds of families as residents, not only hosting many media offices, but also hosting several local businesses, law firms, medical laboratories and civil society organizations. They are also cultural and social hubs, vital to the daily lives of many young people in Gaza.
Due to the explosion, Gaza lost its social infrastructure, perhaps the most critical media infrastructure. Israel evacuated their offices for journalists working in Al-Jalaa Tower in just one hour, forcing them to abandon their large archives and equipment, and they were destroyed next to the building.
The bombing of Al-Jalaa Tower was criticized by international organizations, human rights organizations, and several governments including Israel’s allies.
The Israeli military claimed that the tower contained Hamas military intelligence assets and was therefore a legitimate target. However, as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently admitted as an example of Israel’s actions in defense of Israel’s actions, Tel Aviv has so far not released any evidence to support these allegations. The Associated Press firmly denied that Hamas was operating in the building.
However, regardless of whether Hamas has an office in the building or not, it uses missiles to target high-rise buildings in the center of dense cities where hundreds of civilians live. This is an indisputable violation of international law. By beating these vibrant towers, Israel once again demonstrated its determination to cause the greatest psychological harm to the residents of the besieged zone.
In addition, it targets the offices of local and international media organizations in Gaza and announces to the world that it is now willing to do everything necessary, including using its full military force to prevent reporters from reporting crimes against the Palestinians. people.
Israel has good reasons to try to silence the free media.
In recent decades, the media has become an indispensable tool for winning wars. Victory in modern conflicts depends not only on defeating the enemy on the battlefield, but also on controlling domestic and international public opinion.
Indeed, fact-based on-the-spot reports carefully study the narratives put forward by soldiers and the state, and are decisive for the progress and conclusions of many recent conflicts.
For example, during the Battle of Fallujah between the U.S. Army and the Iraqi insurgents in 2004, media reports from the scene proved to be critical to exposing the damage caused by U.S. air strikes and ground operations to civilians in the city, and ultimately led to the U.S. military. extract.
“This [US] Fallujah’s Marines have not been beaten by terrorists and insurgents, they have been effectively and accurately eliminated. They were defeated by Al Jazeera. “After the battle, the retired U.S. lieutenant colonel Ralph Peters wrote. Peters did not admit that the media had the ability to hold the powerful army accountable, but claimed that Al Jazeera and others “lied” to the local situation. In order to prevent the United States from winning. He wrote: “The media is often used as a strategic factor, but we are still not fully aware of its deadly power. “
Like the United States at the time, Israel is working hard today to stop the increasing spread of accurate information about attacks on civilians and violations of international law.
Thanks to the efforts of journalists from Palestine and other regions, and millions of Palestinians publishing their truth on social media, the true story of Palestine has finally been heard around the world. As a result, not only has global public opinion turned to support the Palestinians, but many international institutions and organizations that have long allowed Israel to control the narrative of the conflict also feel obliged to speak out for Palestine.
On May 17, the leading human rights organization Amnesty International condemned Israel’s continued attacks on Gaza, saying that the Israeli military “expressed shock at the lives of Palestinian civilians, ignoring its air strikes on residential buildings, and in some cases killed the entire Families-including children, and causing wanton destruction of civilian property in attacks that may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity”.
The condemnation statement of the amnesty was issued in the context of a report issued by Human Rights Watch in April. The report stated that Israel was committing “crimes against apartheid and persecution of humanity” in its treatment of Palestinians. Therefore, the international community must reassess and Israel’s diplomatic relations. status.
Today, Israel is not only trying to stop the dissemination of accurate information in its attacks on Gaza in the process of bombing news organizations, but also through activities of false information.
For example, last week, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared a video on Twitter, claiming that the video showed Hamas launching rockets into Israel “from a densely populated area.” . As the BBC said, the clip was actually shot in Syria in 2018 and has nothing to do with Gaza. Twitter subsequently labeled the tweet as “controlled media.”
In addition to sharing obvious “fake news”, the Israeli government is also trying to manipulate international and domestic public opinion by constantly peddling false statements about Hamas being an aggressor in the conflict, that Hamas is doing everything possible to avoid civilians. “Casualties” are just defending itself from “terrorist organizations”, and the current escalation is not a direct result of its illegal occupation.
Falsified videos and information distributed by the Israeli government have caused many Palestinians and Palestinian citizens in Israel to be attacked by far-right Israeli mobs. Pro-Israel governments around the world also use these false narratives to avoid condemning the apparently illegal actions of their allies.
The international community must take immediate action to protect journalists in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Gaza Strip. The important and dangerous work done by journalists in these conflict areas is the only way to expose Israel’s continuing attacks on Gaza and its cruel acts of illegal occupation of Palestine over decades.
At the same time, however, Israel’s ability to bomb Gaza’s “Tower of Truth” with impunity should not despair those who wish to bring justice to Palestine. The increasing diversification and democratization of information resources means that Israel cannot win its battle for truth. In the final analysis, it cannot keep all of us silent.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.