Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Unpacking the Ongoing Struggles and Media Biases

Over the years, numerous attempts have been made to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians. However, core issues like the status of Jerusalem, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the borders of a potential Palestinian state remain unresolved, making a lasting peace agreement elusive. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a major geopolitical challenge, with far-reaching consequences for the Middle East and beyond.

On Saturday, the Gaza Strip saw Palestinian militants firing more than 5,000 rockets toward Israel. This relentless attack activated air raid sirens across Israel, raising the likelihood of another significant escalation in the conflict. The intense barrage began in the early morning and persisted for over 30 minutes, with such force that its echoes reached as far as Tel Aviv. Even in Gaza, alarm sirens were sounded.

The death toll has now exceeded 1,100, and includes at least 700 Israeli casualties, with 44 of them being soldiers, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stated that Israel is entering into a “long and challenging war.” In Gaza, which has been heavily targeted by Israeli airstrikes, officials have confirmed a minimum of 413 fatalities

The permanent observer mission of the state of Palestine to the UN pointed out in a statement that these developments did not happen in isolation. They mentioned that these events follow the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians earlier in the year and are the result of decades of continuous Israeli military operations in Palestinian villages, towns, cities, and refugee camps.

The media often portrays Hamas, an Islamist movement, in a negative light. Most mainstream outlets depict Hamas as responsible for war crimes, launching missiles, and causing fear and trauma among millions of Israelis.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has endured for decades, has garnered the involvement of numerous actors outside the region. This conflict has naturally piqued the interest of the global community, prompting them to seek an understanding of the ongoing dynamics between these two nations. Over decades, events in Israel and Palestine have transcended borders and have left a lasting impact on the thoughts and sentiments of people worldwide.

Mainstream media typically covers Palestinians when they are involved in protests or when they are directly confronting Israeli aggression. In such cases, their actions are often portrayed as an “escalation of violence.” Historically, though, there appears to be less emphasis on describing an escalation of violence when Israel has been terrorising Palestinians for years. Many media outlets covering the Israel-Palestine issue often fall short in presenting the audience with the comprehensive historical background of the ongoing situation. They frequently omit essential context related to the Palestinian struggle. Repeatedly, the media has misrepresented the challenges faced by Palestine and has not adequately supported their cause.

In this context, the media plays a crucial and influential role. Whether it’s driven by humanitarian concerns for the well-being of those affected, political attention from foreign governments, economic interests of businesses and markets affected by the conflict, or even religious fervor stemming from the conflict’s deep-rooted origins, this issue has captured the attention of communities across the world.

The Real Story

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a struggle over territory, history, and identity in the Middle East. It revolves around the competing claims of Israelis, who are primarily Jewish, and Palestinians, who are primarily Arab, to the same land in the region known as Palestine. This land encompasses what is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

This conflict’s origins can be traced back to the late 19th century when Jewish immigrants began arriving in Palestine during the final years of the Ottoman Empire. Tensions escalated throughout the 20th century, culminating in Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, which led to a war with neighboring Arab states. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip following the Six-Day War in 1967 has been a significant source of friction, especially due to the establishment of Israeli settlements in these territories.

Over the years, numerous attempts have been made to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians. However, core issues like the status of Jerusalem, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the borders of a potential Palestinian state remain unresolved, making a lasting peace agreement elusive. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a major geopolitical challenge, with far-reaching consequences for the Middle East and beyond.

Over the past, during Ramadan period, Israeli law enforcement authorities opted to respond to events at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque by engaging in multiple clashes with Palestinian worshipers. Numerous Palestinians have been detained and injured as Israeli forces employed rubber bullets, batons, stun grenades, and tear gas. In contrast, the police have sustained minimal injuries, while also providing protection for illegal Israeli settlers entering the mosque compound. Additionally, Israel has initiated a series of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon in response to reported rocket attacks.

Throughout the year, Israeli military operations involving hundreds of troops were conducted in the Palestinian city of Jenin. In May 2021, Israeli law enforcement authorities conducted a raid on Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, considered the third-holiest site in Islam. This event triggered an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas, resulting in the deaths of over 200 Palestinians and more than 10 Israelis. In November 2012, Israel targeted Ahmed al-Jabari, the military leader of Hamas, which subsequently led to more than a week of intense hostilities, resulting in the deaths of over 150 Palestinians and at least six Israelis in a back-and-forth exchange of fire.

Earlier this year, an incursion was carried out by the Israel Defense Forces into a Palestinian residence in Hebron during which five female members of a family were allegedly compelled to disrobe during a search. This had stirred outrage in the Palestinian territories. Occurring in the early morning of July 10, the incident’s details were initially documented by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, with testimonies from three of the women gathered on the following day. As per reports, approximately 25 to 30 soldiers, some masked, entered three interconnected apartments housing the extended Ajlouni family in southern Hebron to conduct a search for weapons. During the search, two female soldiers armed with rifles and accompanied by an attack dog purportedly coerced five women from the family, ranging in age from 24 to 53, to remove their clothing under the threat of releasing the dog if they refused compliance, while male soldiers conducted searches of their male relatives without imposing a similar requirement.

Infact, on a daily basis, Palestinian women continue to experience violence, threats, intimidation, movement restrictions, and discrimination at the hands of Israeli forces. Israel persists in implementing policies that flagrantly contravene both international humanitarian and human rights laws.

Hamas ‘Terror Group’ 

Hamas, one of the major political parties in the Palestinian territories, is primarily recognized as a militant movement. While it governs over two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, its most notable aspect is its armed opposition to Israel. Numerous countries have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization, with some applying this classification specifically to its military wing.

Following its takeover of Gaza, Hamas initiated rocket and mortar attacks into Israel. Iranian security officials have indicated that Tehran supplied some of these weapons, but Hamas subsequently developed the capability to manufacture its own missiles after receiving training from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its proxies. Additionally, Hamas militants have deployed balloons carrying incendiary devices toward Israel, resulting in occasional fires. The group has also conducted incursions into Israeli territory, most notably exemplified by the 2006 kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Israel’s release of over a thousand Palestinian prisoners, including Sinwar, in exchange for Shalit’s freedom occurred five years later.

Hamas’s commitment to armed resistance against Israel finds support among some segments of the public. Hamas has indeed engaged in numerous questionable actions, often resorting to violence. But can it be argued that these actions were entirely unjustified? It’s important to acknowledge that these actions have typically been a response to perceived provocations. While the tactics employed by the Hamas militant group may be deemed wrong, have they ever been without provocation? It is now imperative for the mainstream media to shed any biases and for the United Nations to intervene decisively, putting an end to this enduring conflict once and for all. Such intervention would aim to provide Palestinians and the innocent civilians of Israel with the peaceful life they rightfully deserve.