The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is forcing russian propaganda to change the focus of its PSYOP. Comparing the events in Ukraine and Gaza has become a new trend in russian information attacks, which of course is in favor of the kremlin. The newest narrative in recent stories by russian and pro-russian media insists that “bloody scenarios written in Ukraine at the behest of Washington have been implemented in the Middle East, where thousands of Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army.” At the same time, in the mirror of russian narratives, Israel is compared to Ukraine, the Gaza Strip to the Ukrainian Donbas, and the Arab minority in Israel to the russian-speaking population in Ukraine.
What unites the russian aggression against Ukraine and the Hamas terrorist attack, and how are they fundamentally different?
First, the two events share the declared goals of Hamas militants in Israel and russia in Ukraine. Putin wants to wipe Ukraine off the map, and Hamas, with the support of Iran, wants to destroy the land of Israel. Accordingly, the two events are linked by the unprecedented cruelty of the attackers – both the aggressor country and the terrorist movement use the tactics of “scorched earth” and the use of civilians as human shields. The massacre in Bucha, the shelling of residential buildings, the bombing of a maternity hospital and a drama theater in Mariupol where local residents were hiding are just some of the most high-profile crimes of the russian army against civilians. Hamas militants are not much different – deliberate murders of Israeli civilians, taking civilians hostage, collective bullying, shooting residents of kibbutzim and massive rocket attacks on residential apartment buildings in Tel Aviv.
Secondly, russian propaganda’s attempts to compare Palestinians with russian-speaking residents of Ukrainian regions as the main cause of the war in Palestine and Ukraine are doomed to failure. After all, the Hebrew language in the Jewish state, which consists of immigrants from all over the world, has become an undeniable factor that has shaped Israeli identity, united and rallied the nation in its long struggle for existence. By the way, both russian-speaking immigrants and Palestinian workers and the Arab minority in Israel speak Hebrew exclusively in everyday life, and there have never been any contradictions in this regard (Arabic-speaking children learn Hebrew from the fourth grade). This state strategy allowed Israel to create a country that is ethnonational in its ideology and multicultural in its essence. Therefore, the strategy of dominance of the state language in Ukraine pursues the same goal of creating a unified Ukrainian nation without violating the cultural identity of minorities living on its territory.
Thirdly, in military terms, the main difference is that Ukraine is at war with a nuclear power, while Israel is at war with terrorist militants. Unlike Ukraine, Israel is able to quickly clear its territory of poorly armed terrorists, while Ukraine is facing a powerful enemy with nuclear weapons, which it cannot overcome without Western assistance. Also, Israel’s being in a permanent war with Palestinian militants, surrounded by aggressive Arab countries, has reoriented the entire complex of military measures to defeat larger enemies. In Israel, there are virtually no people who have not fought, and a significant number of young people have served and participated in one conflict or another. This is different from the situation in Ukraine, which has not chosen this path since its independence, voluntarily lost its nuclear weapons, and has only recently created a capable army. In addition, even Israel’s numerous victories in military conflicts in the Middle East did not ensure the country’s final destruction of the enemy and the achievement of a stable peace. That is why, along with the importance of victory, Ukraine’s membership in NATO is so important for it, as it can stop russian attempts to conquer Ukraine in the future.
Finally, unlike the collective West, whose military is not directly involved in the wars in Ukraine and Israel, russia definitely influences events in Israel and the Palestinian authority. The kremlin has its own military in the region, maintains close ties with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and other Iranian-affiliated groups that are trained in Syria under the supervision of russian instructors. This gives the russians the opportunity not only to influence Iran and Syria, but also to communicate with Hamas and other groups on the field level.
So, of course, recent Israeli history resonates with Ukrainian events, but not in the way russian propaganda tries to interpret them.