Is Hamas Winning the Propaganda War in Gaza?

April 30 2018

The numbers attending the weekly demonstrations at the fence separating Gaza from Israel have declined from one Friday to the next, although over this past weekend the protests turned increasingly violent. Despite the likelihood that Israel will be able to restore order, writes Ben-Dror Yemini, Hamas has nevertheless managed to score a propaganda victory with the aid of the world’s media, which blithely continue to distort what is happening:

No one has placed cameras on the U.S.-Mexico border, although 412 infiltrators or migrants were killed there in 2017, and 498 in 2016, including children. But the border between Israel and Gaza, as well as the points of friction in Hebron, seem to have the highest number of cameras in the world.

Something [besides wounded Palestinians, however,] was caught on camera: many of the kites flown toward Israel were marked with a swastika, in addition to carrying explosives. . . . It’s not just the Hamas Covenant or the calls for Israel’s destruction, chanted by some of the protestors [that should be troubling to neutral parties]. It’s also the kites carrying the Nazi symbol. . . .

We shouldn’t make generalizations. It’s not that all of the Strip’s residents identify with the Nazi ideology. But Hamas and its supporters, and likely many of the protestors as well, carry a message of annihilation and anti-Semitism. The moderate ones settle for [merely] spreading the message of Israel’s destruction. . . .

[But] the global media, almost without exception, have ignored the protestors’ message. The swastikas didn’t appear in the New York Times or in Le Monde. [For its part,] the Guardian published a letter by three members of the [Israeli] Breaking the Silence organization, accusing the IDF of instructing snipers to shoot to kill unarmed demonstrators. They’re lying; there are no such orders. They didn’t bother, of course, to write a single word about the responsibility of Hamas and its supporters. On the contrary, they wrote that “harming innocent people in Gaza is part of what is needed to maintain the regime of occupation.” If former soldiers publish a letter which leads to the conclusion that IDF soldiers are murderers, how can we complain about those newspapers’ editorials?

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Hebron, Israel & Zionism, Media


Syria’s Druze Uprising, and What It Means for the Region

When the Arab Spring came to Syria in 2011, the Druze for the most part remained loyal to the regime—which has generally depended on the support of religious minorities such as the Druze and thus afforded them a modicum of protection. But in the past several weeks that has changed, with sustained anti-government protests in the Druze-dominated southwestern province of Suwayda. Ehud Yaari evaluates the implications of this shift:

The disillusionment of the Druze with Bashar al-Assad, their suspicion of militias backed by Iran and Hizballah on the outskirts of their region, and growing economic hardships are fanning the flames of revolt. In Syrian Druze circles, there is now open discussion of “self-rule,” for example replacing government offices and services with local Druze alternative bodies.

Is there a politically acceptable way to assist the Druze and prevent the regime from the violent reoccupation of Jebel al-Druze, [as they call the area in which they live]? The answer is yes. It would require Jordan to open a short humanitarian corridor through the village of al-Anat, the southernmost point of the Druze community, less than three kilometers from the Syrian-Jordanian border.

Setting up a corridor to the Druze would require a broad consensus among Western and Gulf Arab states, which have currently suspended the process of normalization with Assad. . . . The cost of such an operation would not be high compared to the humanitarian corridors currently operating in northern Syria. It could be developed in stages, and perhaps ultimately include, if necessary, providing the Druze with weapons to defend their territory. A quick reminder: during the Islamic State attack on Suwayda province in 2018, the Druze demonstrated an ability to assemble close to 50,000 militia men almost overnight.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: Druze, Iran, Israeli Security, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy