Social media campaign counters Israeli war narrative that 'both sides are suffering'

Social media campaign counters Israeli war narrative that 'both sides are suffering'
While Israel has tried to portray the conflict as equally unbearable to 'both sides', Pro-Palestine activists have drawn attention to the unparalleled human tragedy in Gaza.
3 min read
22 May, 2021
Videos are circulating on Twitter under the hashtag #unmutepalestine [Getty]

A social media campaign launched by pro-Palestinian activists is seeking to counter Israel’s war narrative that presents the situation within Israel as equally unbearable as violence in Gaza, amid growing attempts to silence Palestinian content on social media.

Videos circulating on Twitter under the hashtag #unmutepalestine have sought to show the stark contrast between the recent bloodshed in Gaza, where an 11-day airstrike campaign killed over 200 people, and living conditions inside the Israeli territories neighbouring the enclave. 

Israel has attempted to frame the fighting as upending Israeli and Palestinian lives to the same degree. The Israeli Envoy to US and UN, Gilad Erdan, said during an emergency meeting at the United Nations General Assembly that Israeli citizens were “running to find shelter” from Hamas rockets.

“Hamas seeks to replace the Palestinian Authority and take control of the Palestinian territories. So, after the elections were cancelled, it decided to launch a war of aggression against Israel,” Erdan said.

Meanwhile, the UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply shocked by the continued air and artillery bombardment by the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza.” 

“If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today,” he said.

The videos under the hashtag #unmutepalestine convey the reality of the unparalleled human tragedy which unfolded in the enclave, a 41km (25 miles) long stretch of coast where around 2 million people live in constant fear of violence.

Israeli strikes killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, since the bombardment began on May 10. In Israel, 12 people, including one child, were killed by rockets launched from Gaza. On Friday, Israel and Hamas agreed to implement an Egypt-brokered ceasefire.

The campaign #unmutepalestine has also rallied demands that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram stop blocking Palestinian content and supporting the Israeli narrative.

Egyptian activist and journalist Shaima al-Hadidi told Anadolu Agency that she launched the hashtag because "there is unfairness and a double standard against contents supporting Palestine, especially restrictions on Arabic content.”  

In a report issued on Friday, the Arab Centre for the Development of Social Media documented more than 500 cases of censorship of Palestinian political speech and narrative online.

Since May 6th, when the Israeli supreme court announced its decision to forcibly displace Palestinians living in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, Palestinian content and accounts were removed or restricted on social media platforms, the report found.