The Palestinian resistance demonstrated its strategic ingenuity by launching Operation “Al-Aqsa Flood” on October 7, which inflicted a severe blow to the Israeli military and political establishment, and resonated across the world. However, it is important to note that this operation is not, as the Western media portrays it, a new September 11 in Israel, analogous to the terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States.
Israel is known to be an occupying power that has been colonizing the Palestinian lands since 1948, and has been committing atrocities against the Palestinian population, even after signing peace agreements with some Arab states. The recent events in Sheikh Jarrah are clear evidence of that. In response to the Palestinian resistance against Israel’s aggression, Israel has launched a vicious campaign against Hamas, and has tried to depict it as a terrorist organization that carried out a new September 11 in Israel, which is a false narrative.
In contrast, what happened in the United States on September 11 was indeed a terrorist act perpetrated by extremist groups that harbored animosity towards the United States, and that had no legitimate claim to the land or the people they attacked. These groups acted out of revenge, and not out of self-defense. Therefore, it is unfair and inaccurate to label Hamas’s resistance against Israel’s occupation of their lands as terrorism. There is a huge difference between the circumstances of September 11 that took place in the United States, and what Israel and the Western media are trying to present as a new September 11 that happened in the Middle East.
Israel, as Gil Anidjar aptly described it, is a suicidal state, that is engaged in a self-destructive war, for the sake of its survival. For Israel, the state is more important than anything else, even more than the lives of its citizens. The more violence escalates on Gaza, the more it reveals Israel’s terror and fear, and its willingness to exterminate everyone, even if it means being the last survivor. This is perhaps what explains the outrageous statements of the Israeli Minister of Heritage “Eliyahu” who suggested dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza.
The global public opinion views on the Gaza war are diverse and complex, reflecting the historical, political, and religious dimensions of the conflict. According to some sources, the majority of the countries have condemned the attacks by Hamas, while expressing support for Israel’s right to self-defense. The United Nations has also adopted a resolution calling for a humanitarian truce, and has established a commission of inquiry to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes committed by all sides. The UN experts have also deplored the attacks on civilians, and called for the release of all hostages. The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains dire, as reports indicate that more than 420 children are being killed or injured each day, and that the supplies of food, water, and fuel are critically low.
Western Media Narrative about Gaza war
Since the attack launched by Hamas on Israeli positions on October 7, 2023, which resulted in the deaths and injuries of several Israelis, and which was followed by systematic Israeli shelling of all sectors of Gaza, it has become clear that the Western media’s coverage of the crisis is heavily biased towards the Israeli side.
Although Western media bias, especially American bias, is not new, but rather a common and stable feature, with the rise of social media, this bias has become more visible and understood than ever before. It is now easy to share examples and video clips that reveal this bias on social media among millions of Arabs, which has created a state of anger in Arab societies towards the United States and the Western countries false norms.
It is also observed that the Western European and American media are spreading lies and misinformation about the Palestinian cause and the destruction and brutality being committed against children, women, youth, and the elderly in the Gaza Strip, and the practice of the most heinous forms of ethnic cleansing and odious racism against the Palestinian people, while the leaders of the world watch and listen, in the name of human rights in Israel. This false and misleading information is the headline of all the known news in the West and in the United States of America.
Israel war on Gaza shifting Global public opinion along partisan lines
There was a global boycott of pro-Israel products and products of Western companies endorsing Israel in the Gaza war on October 7, 2023, due to the anger and solidarity that many people felt towards the Palestinians who were suffering under the Israeli blockade and bombardment of Gaza. The boycott affected the sales and reputation of some well-known brands, such as McDonald’s, which faced protests and vandalism in some countries. The boycott also prompted some consumers to shift towards local products and alternatives.
A boycott of Western firms considered to be pro-Israel has hurt the sales and reputations of certain well-known brands, like McDonald’s, which has faced protests and even vandalism in some countries. According to reports, the boycott resulted in a 15% drop in McDonald’s global revenue in October 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. A similar situation has occurred in Egypt, where citizens have sought out an alternative to Pepsi and Coca-Cola called “Spiro Spathis,” which has made significant contributions to the provision of job possibilities for Egyptian young.
The Global public opinion on the Israel-Gaza conflict was largely negative towards Israel and sympathetic towards the Palestinians. Many countries and international organizations condemned the attacks by Hamas, which they considered as acts of terrorism, but also criticized Israel for its disproportionate use of force and violation of human rights. Some countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which had normalized relations with Israel through the Abraham Accords, expressed mixed concern and called for a peaceful resolution. Some countries, such as Iran and Turkey, supported Hamas and denounced Israel as an aggressor and an occupier. The United States, Israel’s main ally, pledged its support to Israel’s right to defend itself, but also urged restraint and diplomacy. According to a [CNN poll] 67% of Americans said they were very or somewhat sympathetic to the Israelis, while only 16% said they were very or somewhat sympathetic to the Palestinians. However, 69% of Americans also said they were very or somewhat worried that the fighting between Israel and Hamas could lead to terrorism in the US. In a recent survey, the Economist and YouGov gauged the sympathies of American citizens towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, uncovering a distinct inclination towards the Israelis, with 41% expressing the highest level of empathy towards them. In contrast, only 13% sided with the Palestinians, while a moderate 28% offered equal compassion for both parties.
In Africa, many countries expressed solidarity with the Palestinian cause and condemned the Israeli aggression. Some African leaders, such as Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa and Algeria’s Abdelmadjid Tebboune, called for an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state. However, some African countries, such as Sudan and Morocco, which had recently normalized ties with Israel, maintained a more balanced stance and urged for a ceasefire.
In Asia, the reactions varied depending on the political and religious affiliations of the countries. Some Muslim-majority countries, such as Pakistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia, strongly denounced Israel and supported the Palestinians, while also calling for a peaceful solution. Some non-Muslim countries, such as India, Japan, and South Korea, expressed concern over the violence and called for restraint, but also reaffirmed their friendship with Israel. China and Russia, which have veto power in the U.N. Security Council, blamed the U.S. for blocking a joint statement on the crisis and called for an immediate halt to the hostilities.
In Europe, the public opinion was largely critical of Israel and sympathetic to the Palestinians, as evidenced by the massive protests that took place in several European cities, such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Madrid. However, the official responses from the European governments and institutions were more nuanced and balanced, as they condemned the Hamas attacks, expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense, but also urged Israel to respect international law and avoid civilian casualties. Some European countries, such as France and Germany, also offered to mediate between the parties and facilitate a diplomatic solution.
In Latin America, responses have also varied, depending on political orientation and historical ties between countries. Some left-leaning countries, such as Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia, have strongly condemned Israel and accused it of committing genocide and apartheid against Palestinians. Some countries, such as Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia expressed concern about the humanitarian situation and called for a ceasefire and a two-state solution.
Regional Dynamics towards Gaza War
Regional public opinion had an important role in broadcasting the state of defense and deterrence to the Palestinian people, as there were a group of different positions of the Arab countries in the region, namely:
(Egypt – Jordan – Lebanon – Syria – Oman – Qatar – Saudi Arabia – UAE – Iraq – Kuwait – Morocco – Tunisia – Algeria) in solidarity with the Palestinian people and rejecting the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and the necessity of stopping the escalation and preserving the lives of civilians, and that the ongoing escalation is the result of the continuation Israeli violations and attacks against the Palestinian people, and by shedding light on the position of the Arab League, Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit called for an immediate cessation of military operations in Gaza, and saw that Israel’s continued implementation of violent and extremist policies is a time bomb that deprives the region of any serious opportunities for stability. The foreseeable future. As for the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, its Secretary-General, Jassem Mohammed Al-Budaiwi, called for an immediate halt to the escalation and the protection of innocent civilians, and that these conditions resulted from the continuation of the blatant and ongoing Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people and holy places. He renewed the call for the institutions of the international community to intervene forcefully and quickly to revive Efforts to empower the Palestinian people with their legitimate rights to establish their state on the 1967 lands with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Public opinion came in support of the Palestinian cause, and on October 20, several Arab and Islamic countries witnessed massive popular demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians and to denounce the Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip. The crowds of demonstrators spread to various parts of the Arab world in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, and others. Below is a discussion of the motives for some of those positions, but all of these positions will find no benefit in the matter, so the Israeli bombing continues to this day.
Moreover, Cairo Peace Summit, held on October 21, 2023, was attended by 31 states, three international organizations, and many significant world leaders. The major goal of this meeting was to assess the chaotic conditions in the Gaza Strip, with the goal of establishing a method to quiet the looming threat of war and airstrikes while also investigating de-escalation options. Among those in attendance were UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Council President Charles Michel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and notable leaders from Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, the Sultanate of Oman, Libya, Mauritania, Spain, the United States, Greece, Cyprus, South Africa, Turkey, Brazil, France, Japan, Britain, Norway, Russia, and China.
The official statement by the Egyptian presidency during this summit underscored several pivotal facets
- The unequivocal resolve to foster a collective rejection of violence, terrorism, and self-destructive acts.
- A resounding call for an immediate cessation of the protracted conflict that has tragically claimed the lives of countless innocent civilians on both the Palestinian and Israeli fronts.
- A fervent plea for the strict adherence to the principles of international law and international humanitarian law, emphasizing the paramount significance of safeguarding civilian lives.
With the escalation and continuation of the intense Israeli aggression and the spread of horrific pictures and videos of the bombing of Palestinian civilians, including children, women, and the elderly, in parallel with the Western American narrative that tirelessly supports Israel, we can confirm that the level of change in global public opinion will lean strongly in favor of the Palestinians, and this has already begun to work, especially with the increasing economic boycott of facilities supporting Israel, whether in the Arab or Western countries themselves, as well as the rise in indicators of protest marches in various Arab and European capitals against the Israeli aggression, as well as in America, Latin America, and Asia.
It can be said that global public opinion has changed its perspective in a flexible manner and has now become aware of the reality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and who is the owner of the right and who is violating or stealing this right, in addition to changing the perspective and visions of many people about Islam, which has enabled Palestinian civilians to express strongly the extent of its power. Their firm belief, and perhaps this is what confirms former US President Barack Obama’s statements that “Global support for Israel has begun to erode,” and every talk has an accident.
In this context, we recommend the following
The necessity for Arab countries to develop a plan to counter Western media discourse and present a counter-narrative that reflects the true Palestinian issue and the historical rights of the Palestinians.
In light of the above religious and national controls, the Arab and Islamic nation must unite to support the Palestinian people in recovering their stolen land, defending their looted wealth, protecting their honor, rejecting their displacement and liquidating their cause, until this treacherous, brutal occupying entity is removed from this land.
Supporting regional and international political and diplomatic positions that attempted to do justice to the Palestinian cause and strengthen peoples’ faith in their religious and historical rights in Palestine and its sanctities.
Arab countries must utilize economic pressure tools with Western countries, especially the United States, such as boycotting or withdrawing Arab investments.
All Arab countries should suspend any normalization agreements with Israel until the situation in Palestine stabilizes!
Co-authored by Ramez El-Shishy