TRYING TO GET A CLEAR PICTURE OF A
CONFLICT THAT MAY BE IRRESOLVABLE
Some whacky, rightwing conspiracy websites have reported that many of the images showing civilian deaths in Gaza — both still and video — are actually recycled from the Syrian civil war. Whacky, rightwing conspiracy websites can be wildly off base and hysterical in tone, but they’re not always wrong.
More mainstream sources have also raised questions about the authenticity of visuals purporting to show Gaza carnage, including the BBC and the leftish, Tel Aviv-based, Haaretz, which is often critical of its government and the Israeli Defense Force. Also, the techno-hip online journal, Motherboard, recently discussed how militant groups are using miniature, high-resolution video cams to produce footage for distribution on social media, offering a highly personal perspective that puts viewers in the place of their fighters — very much like a video game.
There’s no doubt that people in Gaza are suffering and dying under the IDF onslaught. But digital technology is raising the confusion that has always surrounded the long-running Middle East Conflict to new levels.
There’s a graphic panel headlined “Loss of Land” circulating on Facebook. Released by the Arab news service Al Arabiya, it purports to illustrate the steady absorption of Palestine into Israel between 1917 and 2012.
While the graphic acknowledges that there was no Jewish state in 1917, it gives the impression that there was a “Palestine” — in the sense of a distinct nation populated by a recognized “Palestinian” people.
This is false.