It's been saddening recently to see my Facebook feed become increasingly populated by misinformed posts about the Gaza situation. Saddened for many reasons including the fact that many of these are intelligent people. Why it saddens me is because whilst I accept people are entitled to their opinion, so much of what I've seen is off the back of error riddled details and in some cases downright manipulated facts and images. Too many of these intelligent people are simply trotting out someone else's manipulative propaganda. Propaganda from those supposedly on the side of Gaza who are quite comfortable with the idea of dead Gazans because of the propaganda value they provide.
As Golda Meir once said "Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more that they hate us"
What's particularly saddened me, is that's it's all over my Facebook feed and the reality is I cannot really debate them. It's an exercise in futility for too many. Theirs isn't a question but a statement, one that I suspect there's no moving them from. I suspect that if I leave well alone, it will move on, but if I were to put something opposing to that, I would draw all sorts of additionally misinformed hellfire. It's a hallmark of the left v right in politics. Those on the conservative/libertarian right think you're entitled to an opinion whilst those on the left think counter opinion should be vociferously shut down.
The one that prompted me to post this morning was the infamous one in which Israel is "compared" (and I mean that very loosely) with South Africa and Nazi Germany and labelled as a third apartheid state.
I've come to the conclusion there going to be lots of this trotting out of dross and you, dear readers are also going to come across it from friends who will peddle it like it was a fact they have personal knowledge of.
My suggestion is to gently press back. When you hear it - ask questions.
When you hear the apartheid state myth - ask them to elaborate and explain. They probably can't (which will tell you so much). Ask them too to explain why this apartheid state has Arabs in its Parliament, and Arab Drs in its hospitals and Arabs in its infrastructure. Ask if Arabs are allowed to own property in Israel. Then ask them, how many Israelis and Jews are permitted the same rights in Gaza.
When you hear the idea the number of civilians killed in air strikes, ask them to explain how people came to be in those houses when they received a phone call from Israel beforehand telling them to evacuate followed up by the "hard knock" device to show a bomb was coming. If they try and tell you that warning isn't long enough, ask why the people in the town of Sderot managed to find shelter in the 10 seconds they get when another missile comes in from Gaza. If they tell you that most missiles fall harmlessly ask them how that makes it alright, when the intention was far different. If you want ask them that if you hung out of your back bedroom windows shooting at all the neighbouring houses, would it make it okay if you failed to hit anyone? Ask them too if they know how many of the missiles from Gaza fell inside its own territory. Ask them too about the missile that took out one of the Israeli power lines that provided Gaza with electricity.
If they complain about the occupation of Gaza by Israel, ask them what occupation? If Israel had already been occupying Gaza with its forces why did they have to launch a ground operation from outside Gaza? Ask them if they knew that in the past Israel had once occupied Gaza and pulled out in an effort to develop peace and was met in return by nothing but a barrage of mortars and missiles.
If they complain about the blockade and that Israel doesn't let goods in, ask them to explain that. Ask them what they know about the dual use restrictions because this is what Israel is blocking. Dual use restrictions are those things that could have a military as well as a civilian use and these include buildi building materials. They're not banned, the truck driver just has to have a permit by the proper authorities that states what the material will be used for and where it's going. Also ask them what it is about Gaza that even the Egyptians feel compelled to keep their border with Gaza closed too.
These are just a few.
I'm not saying the situation between Israel and Gaza isn't terrible and the loss of life isn't a tragedy beyond belief. My point is that it isn't as straightforward as many people believe, a situation exacerbated by biased viewpoints from the left dominated BBC and it's print version the Guardian. Both these outlets have a habit of leaving key details out, that serve only to misinform. There are other facts and details that too many leave out which draw fair minded people to draw simplistic conclusions at best and at worst open to simply repeating the deliberate lies of those who want to keep people misinformed because it creates the very results I've just mentioned.
Form your opinion yes and be entitled to it. Just don't do the dirty work of liars for them, nor let your friends. You won't solve this by jumping on their bandwagon because they have something much darker in mind than a simple peace agreement. Take a look for yourself,