In the contemporary media landscape that is not wholly dominated by Western giants, the Israel atrocities in the besieged state of Palestine are more than televised. For the first time in modern history, the ordinary world is seeing the truth of events in Palestine and how the apartheid policies of Israel are causing devastation in Palestine.
Social media platforms are the key players in exposing Israel’s brutal war propaganda to audiences across the globe.
Today, anyone with internet access is witnessing the devastation caused by Israel in Palestine and is well aware of the reality. The young generation that is more linked with social media is watching Israel’s horrific acts in Palestine and the evidence of the indiscriminate killing of the people of Palestine has been watched in real time for over a month now.
January 2024 has seen South Africa take the initiative to bring Israel accountable for its acts in front of the International Court of Justice. For the first time in more than 75 years of Israel’s aggression and illegal occupation of Palestine, The case has been brought to the international court and it has heard the substantial evidence the South African legal team had compiled to support their case against Israel, during a two-day hearing on January 11 and 12. These hearings were momentous because, for the first time in decades-long Israeli aggression, the world is seeing an articulation of Israel’s atrocities without being shielded by a distorted Western media lens.
Although of course Israel and the West especially the United States are fully invested in building the narrative of the public about the war in favor of Israel. In the recent war, alone, the Israeli forces have targeted and killed more than 50 journalists labeling them as “terrorists”. Yet despite all the efforts of Israel and the West to change the narrative in their favor, thanks largely to the changed global information system, they are unable to conceal and hide the truth from the world. The West is unable to convince the global audience to the same extent they did in the past and their weakening grip on public opinion and media narrative is expedited since the beginning of the October bombardment of Palestine.
The changing global information system, social media, and some other alternative media platforms are shaping the global narrative about the Israel-Palestine realities with evidence being provided in real-time. The global audience now sees Israel’s genocidal acts in Palestine daily through Instagram, Twitter, and other such platforms by the journalist community of Palestine. Palestinian support has peaked during this changed information system as there are worldwide protests in solidarity with Palestine proving that the Western-biased media has largely failed to convince the world. People throughout the world are expressing their support for justice and their determination to keep opposing the Western colonial powers that have devastated several countries for the past 500 years.
Social media users are now quickly exposing the Israeli lies repeated by mainstream media and publicly mocking Israel’s frantic attempts to dominate the narrative of its attack on Gaza.
The #WeWontBeSilenced campaign, which was introduced on social media last year on November 29, encourages users to share an image or a photo of themselves with one hand covering their mouth and a relevant statement written on the other hand. It has received hundreds of thousands of impressions on various platforms since its launch, and its popularity will only increase even though social media accounts experience intimidation, restriction, and shadow banning.
Furthermore, Palestinian Journalists have been showcasing a moving picture of human resilience and bravery while covering war crimes across the occupied territory. The influx of journalists in Palestine is playing a key role in exposing the mass murder of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military through their social media platforms. The Meta audience is seeing in real-time the brutal actions of Israel through the lens of not only the professional journalist but also the content-creators turned reporters and ordinary people of Gaza.
Although they have been facing what Amnesty International describes as “war crimes” while navigating through the war-torn Gaza, The West Bank, and beyond, having become a victim of the war. Not only the lives of these journalist are at stake but also their families’ lives. A staggering amount of journalists’ families have died since October 23 in Israeli bombings including the journalist above’s family.
Motaz Azaizah, a 24-year-old photojournalist, Instagram influencer, and chronicler of daily life in Gaza and Israeli aggression, was well-known even before the October conflict began. His entire focus since then has shifted to covering the casualties and destruction in Gaza. He has filmed the tragic deaths of his 15 family members who died in the bombing of the Gaza refugee camp Deir al-Bala.
Indeed, the influx of Palestinian journalists has changed the flow of information around the globe and has caused serious concerns for Western media as well as Tel Aviv. While we mention that social media has encouraged the emergence of journalists in Gaza, there is another aspect to understand as well. These journalists have gained an audience as they speak English to spread their views around the globe. The partial credit for the empowerment of Gazans, especially women, goes to the schooling initiative that the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine started. This has aided Palestine in winning the media war against the West.
The changing media landscape has given momentum to global support for Palestine which has reached its peak during the recent ICJ hearing.
The initiative taken by South Africa, a former oppressed state that has survived apartheid, represents the rise of the Global South in the face of the political and economic hegemony of the North. How the civilians of Palestine are making use of social media right now proves that the power of knowledge and information wins a long battle even if one lacks arms. In the current changing era of media, we cannot expect the world to turn a blind eye to the genocide Israel is committing in plain sight with the support of the West. Even though the armed struggle of Palestine is far from over it has rightfully won the war of information.
The author is an international relations scholar currently enrolled at the National University Of Modern Languages. She is associated with AIESEC, working as a volunteer recruitment manager.