Gaza Conflict Erupts Again
November 2012: the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has erupted once more, four years after the last war, December 2008. That war led to wide international criticism of Israel.
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been going on for decades. It is a difficult conflict centred around land, and with religious aspects. The conflict is always just below the surface among Israelis and Palestinians.
This latest offensive from Israel came in answer to a rocket attack from Hamas, a militant Palestinian group, which injured several Israeli soldiers. Israel defends its right to protect itself; a right recognised by most of the international community. However, it has been pointed out that Israeli attacks must distinguish between military and civilian targets, and that their response must be in proportion to the original attack. Unfortunately, it is often the civilians who suffer when the Gaza Strip is bombed, and many children have been killed in the latest attacks. The Palestinians, who have fewer military resources than Israel, have reacted to the Israeli attacks by firing rockets as far as Tel Aviv; the first time they have landed so far north.
A new feature in this latest escalation of the conflict is that leaders from both sides are using social media, such as Twitter, to publicise their points of view.
Here are some useful links:
- Hamas' military leader, Ahmed al-Jaabari, and seven other Palestinians were killed in an Israeli air attack on the Gaza Strip, Wednesday, 14 November 2012.
- The Israeli army say the attacks are in response to the rocket attack from Hamas earlier in the week.
- Between Wednesday and Sunday, Palestinian groups shot 865 rockets towards Israel, according to the Israeli army.
- Rockets have also been fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Militant Palestinian groups have never before managed to shoot rockets so far to the north.
- Israel has carried out 1000 air strikes on Gaza.
- Israel has called up 30 000 reservists and the Israeli cabinet has approved the call up for 75 000 reserve troops.
- At least 52 Palestinians have been killed, about half of them civilians, and 460 are wounded since Israel started what officials are calling Operation Pillar of Defence against the Hamas Regime in Gaza. Three Israelis have been killed and a number wounded.
(Sources: Reuters, AFP, NTB) ((©NTB)
Read about the current conflict and use the sources provided. Then try to do the quiz.
Suggested Further Work
Make a Presentation
On Facebook and Twitter there are several symbols and posters appealing for support in the current conflict. The news media bring heart-rending pictures. Pick the illustrations that have the strongest appeal on your emotions and put them together in a collage. Discuss how these visual impressions affect you. What affects you most – pictures or words?
Israel, the Gaza Strip, Palestinians, Jews, Hamas, casualties, civilians, rockets, escalation, aggressor, defense, attack, air strikes, the international community, soldiers, superior, inferior, seize fire, protect, diplomatic means, army, defeat, missile power
Give a short oral account of the conflict in your own words. Use as many of the listed words as possible.
Examine the media coverage of the conflict. Check for instance English speaking news media such as: Al Jazeera, Presstv (), the Jerusalem Post, CNN, BBC, Norwegian news media. Look at pictures, headlines , text and contents.
- Do you think both sides in the conflict are equally represented?
- Is the information neutral or biased? Explain.
- Is it possible to identify who is seen as the enemy and who is seen as the victim? Explain.
- If you identify “the enemy” and “the victim” in the text, describe the rhetoric used.
- What connotations do the words used about the enemy and the victims carry?
- Is the enemy portrayed as inhuman, savage and mean, while the victims are portrayed as innocent and kind?
- Do you find any stereotypes in the presentation of the conflict?
- How are children represented in the media you have examined? How does this affect us? How does it affect the general opinion do you think?
After studying news coverage and the postings on social media platforms, discuss the following:
- Just as it did four years ago, the Gaza conflict tends to stir strong emotions in the media and public opinion. Other conflicts and wars, like the civil war in Syria, do not reach the headlines to the same extent. What is it about the Gaza conflict that might explain the massive activity on social media platforms and the news coverage? Which elements does this conflict have, that the war in Syria for instance, lacks?
- Can the media coverage and the postings on social media platforms lead to an escalation of the conflict?
- ENGLISH – PROGRAMME SUBJECT IN PROGRAMMES FOR SPECIALIZATION IN GENERAL STUDIES