When an Arab deputy in the Israeli Knesset, Ahmad Al-Tibi, was asked by a Jewish member not to read out the names of those killed by the Israeli Army this week, Tibi responded by saying: “Shut up while I am reading names of people you killed with missiles. Are you not ashamed? The Israeli military forces are committing war crimes.”
This verbal altercation about the escalation of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the heavy Israeli shelling of Gaza gave rise to what is, perhaps, the media’s most interesting response to the ongoing fighting in Gaza.
For the most part, there is little noticeable outrage over the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza—and what little there is is often fabricated. At this point, we must admit that the ordeal of Gaza’s residents has not struck a chord with many Arabs, despite the growing number of people killed by Israeli aggression.
The Arab media’s laziness and its hesitancy to cover a humanitarian catastrophe that has killed dozens and injured hundreds in just a few days is clear. The Arab media and large portions of the public seem to have a confused approach to the issue, often viewing Hamas as the sole representative of the whole Gaza Strip and all of its people.
Despite all the footage of its victims being shown on our screens, it seems like this tragedy is still not a priority. It makes no sense that the tragedy unfolding in Gaza is not to appealing to our sentiments. We must search to find out why this is, and where this defect in our support for the Palestinian cause lies.
The past three years have revealed the hypocritical nature of the narrative that surrounds the Palestinian cause. Today more than ever before, the Arab media and Arab society in general appear confused about the position they should take on events in Gaza.
In this way, the Palestinian cause has become a victim of the rhetoric of “resistance” adopted by the Syrian regime, which has exploited the Palestinian cause in its three-year war against its own people. The official stance of the Syrian regime boils down to the idea that they are killing their own people in order to liberate Palestine. But the fact remains that it is killing Syrians to stay in power.
All the thousands of photographs of the Syrian regime’s massacres have not moved us much. Now, we’re replicating this tragedy with photos of Palestinian victims of this new violence. None of the images have been seared on public imagination
The release of photos of the Syrian regime’s massacres did not move us much, and this tragedy is repeated with the photos of the Palestinian victims of today’s violence. None of the images have become seared into the public’s imagination as the video of Muhammad Durrah’s last moments during the Second Intifada did, even though the victims of today’s violence are equally real and Israel is still an aggressive occupying force. Are the stories of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, the boy burned to death by Israeli settlers, and his cousin, Tarek, who was attacked by Israeli soldiers, not enough to move us?
Perhaps the difficulty is that the victims in Gaza have been crowded out by the many more in other places. On the day when Mohammad and Tarek were attacked, there were dozens of deaths in Syria and Iraq as well. Palestine is no longer the only tragedy of the Levant. Its cause has been weakened by the fact that even greater atrocities have become routine—another crime of the Syrian regime.