Think carefully before posting about Israel and Palestine

CHECK YOUR SOURCES. It is crucial to self-educate about the war in Israel and Gaza before posting or reposting information on social media.
CHECK YOUR SOURCES. It is crucial to self-educate about the war in Israel and Gaza before posting or reposting information on social media.
Eliana Mann

Images of fiery explosions and ash-covered debris flood Instagram and Facebook feeds. The faces of innocent Israelis and Palestinians are the first thing to appear upon opening any social media app. The conflict wracking the Middle East has become a global conversation, and everyone seems to have an opinion. However, it is crucial to be educated to the fullest extent before projecting this opinion on the internet.

First, it’s important to understand what the situation in Israel and Gaza is all about. While this tension has been prevalent for ages, it escalated on Oct. 7, when Hamas launched a terrorist attack against Israel, killing over 1,400 individuals and taking around 200 hostages across the border from Israel to Gaza. Hamas is a militant group that has had control of the Gaza Strip since 2007. Their primary goal is to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic state using violent tactics. Hamas and many other Palestinians have long desired an independent Palestinian state, and this remains the main focus of the conflict.

Over the past few days, Israel fought back against Hamas with their own military, and the deaths in Gaza have hit approximately 2,700. On Oct. 13, in advance of this retaliation, the Israeli government ordered a million Palestinians to evacuate the area, but this proved nearly impossible. Israel also ordered a complete siege of Gaza, cutting off supplies of food, water, and electricity to the densely populated strip of over two million people, and causing serious humanitarian concerns.

While the situation continues to evolve, one thing remains clear: Israel and Gaza have a complex relationship that can be difficult to understand. To be fully educated on the conflict, reading both historical and current information from a variety of sources is necessary. Many news websites have small yet notable amounts of bias in them, which is why consulting varied sources is important to seeing the full picture. Additionally, misinformation often leads people in the wrong direction and can cause them to have misconceptions about this conflict, so be thoughtful to check the credibility of sources before diving into them. Take some serious time to invest in self-education, because only then is it appropriate to form and share opinions about such a heavy topic.

To be fully educated on the conflict, reading both historical and current information from a variety of sources is necessary.

Sensitivity is an important part of this conversation, too. Thousands of lives are at stake in both Israel and Gaza, and this is something to be taken extremely seriously. The victims are not at fault because of the actions of their governments. They are simply people who have been caught in the crossfire of this violent disagreement for much of their lives. Additionally, religion and nationality are vital pieces of the conflict and we all must remember that these identity markers can be deeply personal and difficult to discuss.

However, discussing what is going on in the Middle East is essential. Speaking out about the conflict on social media is an effective way to do this, it just must be done thoughtfully. Before reposting something on Instagram stories or re-tweeting someone’s opinion, do some investigating. Who created the post and what are their political and/or religious affiliations? What do they stand for and what message are they trying to convey? Does that message align with your personal beliefs?

Additionally, after reflecting on these questions, be considerate not to post graphic or triggering images online. This should always be the norm, as amplifying the suffering of innocent victims is not appropriate. It is one thing to speak in support of these victims, but it is quite another to use pictures of demolished homes and crying children to grab social media users’ attention. Remember the sensitivity of this age-old conflict, and how it affects those involved.

If something posted on social media creates feelings of hurt or discomfort, reach out to the person who posted it and try to have a face-to-face conversation. There are many different opinions at play here, but a peaceful conversation is always a better choice than acting on emotion and attacking someone online.

Social media is generally a fantastic tool for reaching a wide audience when there is something important to talk about, like the violence in Israel and Gaza, but it must be used carefully. The first step before posting is always to consult a variety of detailed sources for information about the situation. Then, voice an opinion without being offensive or insensitive to any of the parties involved. Speak up and be a force for change, but also practice respect and care with a difficult topic like the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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    Nicholas ScottOct 26, 2023 at 11:39 am

    Well written and balanced article. If only the leaders involved in such disputes could be so calm and thoughtful.