The Propaganda Battle: How Israel and Hamas Wage War Beyond the Battlefield



by FARUK IMAMOVIC

The Propaganda Battle: How Israel and Hamas Wage War Beyond the Battlefield
© Getty Images News/Alishia Abodunde

In the volatile landscape of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the recent announcement of a tenuous truce marks a critical juncture. The path to this moment has been fraught with complexities, shaped significantly by the contrasting agendas of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian group Hamas.

The Dynamics of Anti-Diplomacy

The protracted nature of the negotiations can be partly attributed to Netanyahu's stance, driven by a blend of domestic political pressures and his avowed objective of neutralizing Hamas.

Conversely, Hamas views the attainment of an indefinite ceasefire as a symbolic victory, however pyrrhic it might be. This impasse has fueled a narrative of escalation, with each side mobilizing its regional allies in anticipation of ongoing conflict.

This scenario has given rise to what James Der Derian, an international security studies scholar, describes as "anti-diplomacy," a strategy that subverts the traditional process of diplomatic mediation and reconciliation.

This involves tactics like disinformation and propaganda aimed at those advocating for mediation and peace, unfolding across domestic, regional, and international spheres.

The Role of Propaganda in the Conflict

A notable manifestation of this anti-diplomacy is the recent activity on social media platforms such as X, where the Israel account, run by the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted a controversial video.

This video, allegedly showing an Israeli soldier in a Hamas tunnel near al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, intriguingly references Qatar multiple times. The deliberate choice of words, particularly the mention of specific countries or entities, is a classic propaganda technique intended to convey subliminal messages.

In this case, the aim appears to be linking Qatar, a key mediator in the conflict, to Hamas and portraying al-Shifa as a command center for the Palestinian group. Such tactics are not just about discrediting the mediator but also about pressuring Qatar to negotiate terms more favorable to Israel.

This approach occasionally clashes with the perspectives of key allies like the United States, as evidenced by the removal of a video critical of Qatar following President Joe Biden's praise for Qatar's mediation efforts.

The International Dimension

Globally, figures such as United Nations Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese have also found themselves targets of smear campaigns. Albanese, known for her advocacy of peace and expertise in international law, has refuted accusations related to her travel, clarifying UN funding and her mandate.

Her increasing social media presence and the recognition she receives, such as in Australia, underscore the impact of credible voices in the international arena. For Israel, the cessation of conflict brings the prospect of accountability, making influential diplomatic figures like Albanese subjects of disinformation campaigns.

This complex web of anti-diplomacy highlights the intricate and often opaque nature of international relations and conflict resolution in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.