You are here

Israel faces media battle over war on Gaza, prompts speculation of shifting public opinion — analysts

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Nov 17,2023 - Last updated at Nov 17,2023

Political analysts said that Israel has ‘without a doubt’ lost the information and media battle concerning its ongoing war on Gaza (Photo courtesy of unsplash)

AMMAN — Political analysts recently interviewed by The Jordan Times said that Israel has “without a doubt” lost the information and media battle concerning its ongoing war on Gaza. 

Former media affairs minister Samih Maaytah said that this is mainly due to the war crimes carried out by Israel against civilians in Gaza as well as its targeting of schools and hospitals. 

“When the vast majority of those killed in Gaza are women and children, who have nothing to do with any type of military confrontation, you are bound to lose the media war,” he noted. 

Maaytah added that Israel’s first “downfall” when it comes to public opinion on the war, was the air strike on Al Ahli Arab (Baptist) Hospital at the Centre of Gaza City, which killed at least 500 people. 

Public pressure however failed to deter Israel from carrying out similar attacks against other hospitals in Gaza, claiming the existence of Hamas tunnels under them.

Maaytah said that the public is not concerned with such “military details”; the photos of killed, starved, injured and displaced civilians, including children, with no where to go and no access to food and medicine have a stronger impact on people than baseless narratives do. 


Impact of public opinion on position of western leaders


Maaytah views that Israel’s concern with its public image is unlikely to impact the course of its military operations. 

He said that Israel still enjoys “strong” political support from Europe and the US, which gives it both “cover” and “motive” to continue undeterred its aggression on Gaza. 

“Israel has a 75-year-record of turning its back on public opinion and international law when it comes to Palestinians,” added Maaytah. 

Public pressure on western governments and politicians has so far only resulted in calls for humanitarian pauses and corridors to deliver aid for civilians, he noted. 

However, the strong pro-Israeli position of western states remains unchanged with no serious calls for a “ceasefire” or an end to the war, he added. 

Former media affairs minister and secretary-general of Al Mithaq Al Watani (the National Charter Party), Mohammad Al Momani, had a slightly different view. 

He agreed that public opinion across the world is evidence that Israel has lost the media battle, costing it its image in the west due to the human suffering it is inflicting on civilians in both the West Bank and Gaza. 

But he believes that public pressure resulting from this could put western governments in a difficult position, which might translate into Israel losing the international support it enjoys.


Jordanian efforts against ‘Israeli propaganda’ 


Momani also noted that Jordan has played a significant role in providing a “more balanced narrative” on the war, backed by facts and articles of the international law and international humanitarian law. 

In a remote interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson earlier this month, Her Majesty Queen Rania denounced the “catastrophic humanitarian situation” in Gaza, urging a collective call for a ceasefire.

She also responded to Israeli claims that civilians in Gaza are being used as human shields, noting that Israel has a responsibility to avoid civilian deaths under international law. 

“Before firing any bullet, before dropping any bomb, it is the responsibility of the nation to weigh the risk to civilian life. And if that risk is disproportionate to the military target, then it is deemed unlawful,” Her Majesty said.

“In a place like Jabaliya, which is one of the most crowded corners of Gaza — and Gaza being one of the most densely populated spots on Earth — civilian death is not incidental, it is not accidental. It is a foregone conclusion,” she added. 

Israeli air strikes had targeted Gaza’s largest refugee camp Jabalia twice, leaving hundreds killed and wounded.  

Queen Rania also pushed back against Israel’s claims that it is doing its best to protect civilians in Gaza, according to a statement from Her Majesty’s office.

“When 1.1 million people are asked to leave their homes or risk death, that is not protection of civilians. That is forced displacement,” she said. “UN agencies and other agencies have said that there is no safe place in Gaza. And even the areas that they have asked people to seek refuge in — those so-called ‘safe zones’ — they have been attacked as well.”

40 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.