Does the Truth Mean Anything in the Gaza Strip Discourse?

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Written by: Liam King

“The right of self-defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals.” – James Monroe

Yet again violence has broken out on the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip and yet again mainstream media outlets have proven themselves to be Hamas’ biggest PR weapon. Scrolling through social media or turning the page of a local newspaper, one is bound to hear of the recent “slaughter” and “massacre” of innocent Palestinians by the brutal and wicked Israeli Defense Forces. The propaganda campaign to classify Israel as the monster of this story is alive and well. This article seeks to address (and refute) the biggest lies surrounding this most recent conflict on the Israeli border.

Although tensions have been on the rise for weeks now, the first real violence broke out on Monday the 14th of May, resulting in the death of approximately 50 Palestinians. People across the world have since labelled this an example of Israel killing dozens of “peaceful protestors.” This claim can only be true for those who have no understanding of what the word “peaceful” actually means. According to a Washington Post article, one of the so-called protestors, named Mohammed Mansoura, was quoted as saying that he and other “protestors” were excited to breach the Israeli border and, once in the country, to do “whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.” Does this really sound like something your average peaceful protestor would say? But who is to say this one person is qualified to speak on behalf of such a large group of “protestors” present at the border? Well, he isn’t, so let us turn our attention to someone who is. Mahmoud al-Zahar served as the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority and is both a co-founder of Hamas and one of its senior leaders in the Gaza Strip. He had the following to say about the “peaceful protests”:

“This is not peaceful resistance. Has the option (of armed struggle) diminished? No. On the contrary, it is growing and developing. That’s clear. So when we talk about “peaceful resistance,” we are deceiving the public. This is peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support.”

As if this is not sufficient evidence, consider the following message by Yahya Sinwar (the political leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip), made over a month ago:

“Let them [Israel] wait for the big push. We will take down the border and tear out their hearts from their bodies.”

These statements serve as proof that what is happening on the Israeli border is not a peaceful protest, nor was it ever intended to be one, but in fact far more likely to be a precursor to military action such as an invasion of Israel by Palestinian terrorists. Furthermore, prior to the riots even beginning, Hamas operatives were handing out maps to the “protestors” on which were the locations of the nearest Jewish homes on the Israeli side of the border. This seems to be an unusual bit of information to hand to people whose sole intention is to peacefully protest. Contrast this to the information handed out to Palestinians by Israelis: as early as last month, Israeli aircraft flew over the Gaza border and dropped pamphlets to the ground below warning Palestinians to stay away from the border fence. Quite an odd strategy isn’t it? The evil enemy giving their future victims information as to how to stay safe.

Once one has established that these “protests” were by no means peaceful, one can address the other significant bias of the mainstream media in its coverage of this (and indeed almost all) conflicts between Israel and Palestine. I am primarily referring to what can be termed the fallacy of proportionality and it goes as follows: “Over 50 Palestinians have been killed this week. Not a single Israeli soldier has died. Therefore, Israel’s actions are immoral because the death toll is nowhere near proportionate.” This argument was almost verbatim used by the BBC’s Louise Minchin earlier this week. The logic in this argument is flawed for the simple reason that there is no connection between the proportionality of injuries and deaths in a military operation and the morality of said operation. During the Second World War, Axis planes dropped over 30 000 tons of bombs on Allied powers whereas the Allies responded by dropping over 3 million tons of bombs on Axis powers. This is by no means proportionate, but this fact on its own does not bring into question the morality of the Allied cause, nor does it justify the Axis cause.

There is a valid argument to be made (although the writer does not necessarily agree with it) that Israel’s response this week was too drastic. Some might argue that live ammunition, to the extent that it was used, was not necessary. I don’t think any rational person would take issue with those sorts of arguments being put forth for discussion. However, a line is crossed when people have to lie about the nature of the events that we have seen unfolding over the last few days and weeks. Lies and fallacious reasoning have no place in an intellectual political discourse. If one’s argument is good enough, the truth will help it stand, not bring it to its knees.

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