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The extent of the occupation's propaganda and aggression

The weeping over the three settlers who went missing in Hebron was the starting point for promoting the new offensive aggression against Gaza. Since the propaganda horns and media outlets exaggerated their weeping and lamenting across the world, it had become clear that it was the usual pre-emptive justification that uses tears to justify the aggression that follows.

Over the past few days, it has been clear that the propaganda machine has run by the occupation government in western areas, among others, through the state, army, institutions, embassies, and various other external means and paths throughout the world. In this military round, the occupation also highlighted its presence and prepared its armies in order to fight a battle of minds, employing methods of misguidance and influence.

However, the exaggerated propaganda does not automatically guarantee success in the battle for global awareness, as the extent and capabilities of propaganda still have their limits, regardless of its capabilities. It has become clear for some time that the occupation's propaganda is suffering from a growing crisis of credibility and reliability and this reduces the chances of the Israeli propaganda achieving success in the context of any development.

This is why the occupation's foreign propaganda mainly manoeuvres within tactical margins, i.e. within specifics and details, and increasingly limiting its ability for strategic influence, which it counts on to win over the hearts and minds of the world in favour of the occupation project as a whole.

The credibility and reliability crisis that mars the occupation's propaganda on the global level in general, particularly on a Western level, stems from factors and developments in which lies the ugly image of the reality of the occupation itself, including all of the resulting policies, measures and practices. Therefore, the chances of success of any propaganda effort seem unlikely.

The facts on the ground are more eloquent than any official or semi-official spokesperson and they speak for themselves. The main weak point in the Israeli propaganda is the reality of the occupation and its actions, including the shocking details such as the killing of children, crushing ambulances, bombing press offices, terrorising the citizens and displacing them from their homes, and the construction of the grey and bleak wall.

In addition to this, there are the classic propaganda myths that accompanied the occupation of Palestine, but which have weakened with time, such as the Israeli notion of "purity of arms", the Israeli army's "moral superiority", the myth of "a land without a people for a people without a land", and the myth of "desert bloomism and drying out swamps", in addition to other similar myths. These myths, which have been implanted in the collective consciousness of the people across the world for some time now, have all been dispelled due to the shocking facts regarding the wars and bombing, the settlements and the wall, the dealing with the people and their civilisation, and the legal system.

We can assume that the pre-emptive moral narrative used by the occupation to justify its occupation of Palestine has, with the passing of time, had the opposite effect. Any violation committed by the occupation authorities is seen from a critical viewpoint in accordance to the moral claims they made, and they are judged based on the fake moral standards they have set.

Amongst the developments that have hindered the expansion of Israel's propaganda narrative is the growing capabilities achieved by the masses around the world to follow what is going on in Palestine in detail, mainly by means of television stations, live broadcasting, internet websites, social networks, and the exchange of photos and written accounts.

We cannot underestimate the influence of the ability of the masses to follow and experience the reality in Palestine, either by communicating with the Palestinians in the Diaspora or by visiting the Palestinian territories and coming in contact with the occupation process and the impressions relayed by the visitors to their communities.

The irony faced by the Israeli propaganda is the fact that their intensification of the policies in besieging the Palestinians, placing them in ghettos, building walls around them, limiting their movement, and turning them into prisoners in open prisons is all occurring at a time when means communication and media can penetrate the borders, barbed wire, and various obstacles, and this contributes to exposing the reality of this occupation to the people all over the world on an unprecedented scale.

There have also been significant shifts that have left an impact, including the increase in the efforts of the Palestinian media and the expansion of activity against the occupation and in advocacy of Palestinian rights amongst the masses and civil society organisations around the world, which in turn, make various media efforts that confront the occupation's narrative of the events.

This development has a number of tracks, some concern the Palestinian Diaspora and work to develop the mechanisms of its work and impact, while others come in the context of Arab and Islamic backgrounds. There are also tracks that are within large and diverse solidarity formations, some of which lean towards a specialisation, such as the professional and trade unions supporting Palestine, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Israeli occupation, amongst others.

As for the traditional line-up associated with the occupation project, represented by the Jewish communities around the world, they are less aggressive than ever in regards to promoting the occupation's narrative, and since Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out, the North American and European Jews in particular began to gain a voice in the form of organisations, figures, and media outlets in which they announced their opposition to the Israeli occupation and began to have a growing presence in the solidarity actions with the Palestinian people.

Some of these forces are secular Jewish communities keen on opposing the occupation, some of whom demand the dismantling of the state set up by the Zionists in Palestine. This also compares with the traditional positions of Hasidic Jewish groups, such as Neturei Karta, who oppose the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. In addition to this, some revisions have been made with regards to the position on the occupation and Israeli policies in classical Zionist circles in Europe and North America, and such revisions have expressed themselves in petitions, memorandums and articles, and in new formations such as "J Street" and "J Call", which include some figures well known for their Zionist past.

The limits of the potential of the occupation's propaganda is narrowed if we add all I have mentioned above to the cases of confusion that have affected the Israeli government's media performance during some of the incidents in recent years, such as the piracy incident and the massacre against the Freedom Flotilla. We can also add the media performance during the war crimes committed by the occupation army during the aggression in 2008/2009 and in 2012, as well as the horrific images broadcasted from the field, and the abuses documented in the "Goldstone Report" issued by the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict before Goldstone's suspicious retractions in the report.

There are some demographic factors that affect the occupation's propaganda and which have put a certain type of elites, mostly from Russian and Eastern Europe, in Israeli leadership positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government and parliament. This had led to a relative decline in the capabilities of the Israeli leadership to address the world, especially the West. Avigdor Lieberman is a particularly strong example of this transformation, as well as the ranks of politicians, officials and members of the Knesset associated with the Shas camp.

We can also add to the list of changes that have taken place the break of the occupation's monopoly over some of the means of communication and expressions of solidarity. After decades of propaganda dominance by means of the experience of the occupation of Palestine, which was embodied by the youth delegations in the cooperative agricultural settlements called "kibbutz" using Zionist propaganda statements in an astonishing manner that leaves no room for criticism or discussion. The experiences of the kibbutz have disintegrated and solidarity delegations are now flowing into the "other side" of Palestine.

The experiences of the delegations in solidarity with Palestine, as well as the groups assisting in the olive harvesting and the convoys in aid of besieged Gaza have begun to evolve, and such solidarity efforts have brilliantly focused the media on renewable initiatives such as the Freedom Flotilla which sailed to Palestine, and "Welcome to Palestine" who flew in.

Taking into consideration all of the above, it would be wrong to underestimate the occupation's propaganda capabilities and its hostility simply because we have recognised their limits. The open confrontation is not raging on the battlefield alone; the battle is at its peak in the media and e-networking arena as well.

Translated from Arabi21, 10 July, 2014

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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