Reality vs. Propaganda: Changing the Discourse on Gaza


The events of the last two days have shocked the world and have reignited the discussion about Palestine and the historic injustices committed against the Palestinian people. It goes without saying that the strength and resilience of the Palestinian people in the face of such brutal oppression is what inspires people around the world and gives us hope that one day we shall see a free Palestine. 

With that being said, AMP has prepared some points that we feel are important to be addressed when discussing the situation in Palestine today. Be it addressing Israel’s assault on Gaza or the acts of Palestinian armed groups, it’s important to understand how to best address these topics publicly so as to build public awareness and support for the Palestinian cause and people. 

1. Addressing Calm. Restoring calm, quiet, and stability:

Those are phrases commonly used by officials of governments and the United Nations when referring to an end to extraordinary acts of violence by oppressed peoples. In fact, Israel uses these terms in reference to Palestinian resistance from Gaza or the West Bank quite regularly. The idea is that the status quo ante or the established order before any Palestinian response to Israeli oppression is the norm that should be maintained and returned to. In the case of the Palestinians, the norm is living under a system of colonial rule that violently disrupts and ends their lives. Israel and government officials around the world are totally satisfied maintaining this order of “calm” and “stability” so long as they are the ones punching down at and maintaining absolute power over the Palestinians. As soon as Palestinians reverse these dynamics and begin to violently shake off the yoke of settler-colonial rule, the rhetoric of “calm,” quiet, and “stability” are mobilized to justify even more violence by Israel and its allies. The events of the past two days are a case in point that calm and stability can only be established when justice prevails.

2. Why are Palestinians doing this? 

First of all, this was not an attack, it was a response. Expecting a besieged, occupied, brutalized, and colonized people to remain docile in the face of nearly a century of brutal oppression and colonial subjugation is inhumane and unjust. It was inevitable that Gaza, after more than 16 years under an air, sea, and land blockade with little food or potable water, medicine, or electricity, completely cut off from the world–with Arab regimes normalizing their oppression by cutting deals with the Israelis–is now rising up to end this violent system once and for all. Since 2008, the Gaza Strip has endured a half dozen major military assaults with Israel using asymmetrical warfare and weapons of mass destruction such as white phosphorous. The world did not act to end Palestinian suffering but has only prolonged it by allowing Israel to continue this brutal siege. The onus rests with the Israel apartheid regime to end the brutal siege on Gaza, or else the Palestinians will find themselves compelled to end it themselves as we’ve seen in the past 48 hours. We can’t lie to ourselves. We have to be honest. To ignore the fact that Israel has already killed 424 Palestinians, 47 of them children, this year, is to ignore the daily suffering that Israel inflicts upon Palestinians. 

3. The United States’ response and complicity

One of the first steps Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, took on October 7th was to call President Joseph Biden. The purpose behind this call was simple: to notify the Americans that the war crimes Israel was preparing to commit in Gaza needed American cover and approval. The green light by Biden was given and this morning we awoke to images of the bodies of Palestinian children maimed and burnt. Israel’s immediate response was not to strike Hamas positions, but to strike and completely destroy apartment buildings in Gaza, a UN school hosting displaced people, Mosque, bank, and to cut off electricity to 2 million people. Israel is now engaged in a full-fledged genocidal rampage and its main objective is the complete and irreversible destruction of Gaza. As of noon on October 8th, nearly 72 children have been killed and more than 240 others injured. 

The United States, instead of taking this opportunity to change the regional dynamics, has selected to add fuel to the fire by increasing military support to Israel and by engaging in a “joint force posture” and positioning American warships in defense of Israel. Increasing the supply of sophisticated weaponry to Israel is only going to exacerbate the violence and increase the casualty rate. The Biden administration has essentially rewarded this far-right government with gifts instead of holding it accountable for imposing a siege and blockade against Gaza in the first place. 

The Palestinian people proved that despite the billions of dollars of weaponry and technology the United States supplies Israel, all of that can be dismantled in a matter of minutes. The fence/wall that the Israelis had built to keep Gazans caged was removed with a few strokes of a bulldozer. This is further proof that increased militarization and spending will only exacerbate Israeli violence.

Bullet Points:

  • When Palestinians resist oppression, they’re punished.  The message is that Palestinians must accept Israeli settler-colonial rule as the normative state of affairs. Nothing about the last 48 hours is unprovoked. 
  • When Palestinians rejected the zionist settler-colonial project, they were ethnically cleansed from 1947-1949, creating a refugee crisis leading to an overwhelming refugee population in Gaza in 1949. 
  • In 1967, Israel imposed a military occupation in Gaza, subjecting its population to military rule. 
  • During the first Intifada from 1987-1993, Palestinians employed more than 100 traditional nonviolent methods in accordance with international law.
  • Israel responded by calling for the “breaking of bones” of demonstrators as a method of control and violence. 
  • As a result of the first intifada, Israel imposed a permit regime and completed the building of a fence separating Gaza from the rest of Palestine, further limiting Palestinian freedom of movement
  • As a result of the second intifada from 2000-2003, the movement of Palestinians was restricted even further, including the shutting down of the Gaza Airport. 
  • Despite the Israeli unilateral disengagement from the Strip in 2005 – including the withdrawal of its soldiers and settlers -- Israel retains full control of all movement of people and goods to and from Gaza by sea, air, and land.
  • Israel continued to militarily occupy Gaza by way of “effective control.”
  • Israel began to tighten its control from 2005-2007
  • In 2007, a brutal military siege and blockade was imposed, completely isolating Gaza from the rest of the world by closing the perimeter of Gaza and sealing off Gaza trade with the West Bank and the outside world. 
  • Throughout this time, Palestinians in Gaza have been demanding justice and an end to the occupation.  Israel, rather than ending the occupation, intensified its brutality on the besieged Gaza Strip. 
  • As a result of the siege & blockade, Gaza has been regarded as the “largest open-air prison.” 
  • All of this is maintained with US tax money, which is $3.8 billion each year
  • Israel launched 6 major operations since 2007
      • 111 Palestinians killed
      • 400 Palestinians wounded
      • 80 Palestinians detained for questioning
      • 21 Palestinian homes destroyed and 88 heavily damaged
      • 750 Palestinians were made homeless
      • 90 dunams (22 acres) of land bulldozed
      • Purpose was a trial run to gauge Palestinian resistance in anticipation of ousting Hamas.
      • Operation lasted from February 28 – March 3
      • Israel began preparing for a bigger operation
    • OPERATION CAST LEAD (2008-2009)
      • Operation lasted from December 27 – January 18
      • Approximately 1,400 Palestinians killed
      • More than 5,000 Palestinians wounded
      • 3,540 housing units were completely destroyed
      • 2,870 housing units sustained severe damage
      • More than 20,000 people were made homeless
      • $10 million in damage to Gaza’s electricity infrastructure
      • 268 private businesses were destroyed, 432 damaged, at an estimated cost of more than $139 million
      • 324 factories and workshops were damaged
      • 20,000 meters of water pipes, 4 water reservoirs, 11 wells, and sewage networks and pumping stations were damaged
      • 107 UNRWA installations were damaged
      • 18 schools were destroyed and 262 others were damaged
      • Israel destroyed the only operative flower mill in Gaza
      • 25,000 – 31,000 chickens were killed
      • Israeli forces used white phosphorus in attacks on at least two hospitals (Al-Quds Hospital and Al-Wafa Hospital), as well as the central UN compound in Gaza City. Numerous civilian casualties were caused by white phosphorus.
      • Human Rights Watch accused Israel of “wanton destruction” and Amnesty International called the operation the “22 days of death and destruction.”
      • Operation lasted from November 14 – November 21
      • 167 Palestinians killed
      • 100s wounded 
      • At least 2,131 Palestinians were killed
      • 142 Palestinian families lost three or more members
      • 11,100 Palestinians were wounded
      • UN estimates that 1000 of the injured children will suffer a lifelong disability.
      • 1,8000 housing units were totally destroyed or severely damaged
      • 108,000 Palestinians were made homeless
      • 485,000 people were displaced
      • Israel bombed Gaza’s only power plant, knocking it out of commission indefinitely
      • Amnesty International condemned the attack as an act of “collective punishment.”
      • 450,000 people were unable to access municipal water systems.
      • 22 schools were destroyed and 118 damaged
      • 419 businesses and workshops were damaged, and 128 totally destroyed
      • The poultry sector suffered $10 million in losses, as 2 million chickens were killed and severe damage was done to farms and agricultural structures.
      • Israel attacked UN schools sheltering civilians, killing approximately 43 people.
      • Israel attacked hospitals and medical facilities, damaging at least 24 of them.
      • Israeli forces wounded Palestinians at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem
      • Israeli aggression expanded into Gaza
      • 250 Palestinians were killed, 129 of whom were civilians
      • 44 Palestinians, including 15 children were killed in 3 days