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Israel distorts Palestinian resistance to further rhetoric of violence

The distortion of Palestinian resistance has escalated in Israeli official rhetoric. During an IAF graduation ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the intention "to strike those who threaten to damage our existence". Holding Hamas responsible for what was described as "heightened tensions" by Israeli media, the continuous Israeli aggression on Gaza was mellowed to a necessary retaliation in order to highlight the latest firing of a rocket from Gaza which failed to cause any damage or injuries. Talk of premeditated action by Israel also resurfaced, highlighting the impunity enjoyed by Israel as well as its efficiency in eliminating reference to the human rights violations inflicted regularly upon Palestinians by the settler-colonial state.


IDF spokesman Peter Lerner stated: "Terrorists, under the Hamas rule, have turned Gaza into a heinous sanctuary for rocket terrorism employed against innocent Israeli civilians … We will not tolerate daily aggression from the Hamas ruled territory and are morally obligated to act against those threatening our communities, our towns and our cities."

In contrast, the murder of the three year old Palestinian girl, Hala Sbaikhat, was briefly acknowledged in Israeli media as a result of collateral damage during airstrikes in alleged retaliation for the death of an Israeli working on the fence close to the border between Gaza and Israel.

Israeli rhetoric provides distorted justifications for its perpetual violence against Gaza, with an expectation of disseminating the disassociation between Palestinian resistance and Israeli oppression. While claiming innocence and victimisation in order to retain support for its illegal state, Israel exaggerates rocket attacks from Gaza to emphasise the triumphant status by using terms such as "successful retaliation", which in turn supports the misrepresentation of Palestinian resistance as terrorism. The manipulation of discourse pertaining to power remains a tactic which Israel has employed since the commencement of the colonisation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Palestinian resistance is consistently depicted as an irrational response, rather than legally sanctioned under international law as a response to the oppression inflicted by the colonial power. Hence reports concerning Palestinian resistance are isolated from the settler-colonial framework, allowing Israel the freedom to depict resistance as unbridled violence and Israeli aggression as necessary to achieve security for its "innocent civilians" – a concept which should also be discussed by taking into account a civilian population mainly composed of settlers whose presence constitutes an impediment for Palestinian land reclamation.

Shifting the focus from Gaza to the farcical peace negotiations, the New York Times described "the increase in violence" as casting doubts upon the possibility of reaching an agreement. Mainstream media has utilised the negotiations to promote a hypothetical peace which so far has proven to be a diplomatic exercise in alienation and further depletion of Palestinian rights. The adherence to Israeli propaganda is evident – instead of focusing on Palestinian resistance as a necessary and legitimate means to resist an illegal oppressive state, mainstream media continues to misrepresent Palestinians, recognising their existence only to bolster the dominant, false narrative endorsed by Israel which associates security with further oppressive violence.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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