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Palestinians' plight exposes West hypocrisy

By JAN YUMUL in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2022-04-25 07:21

Israeli army forces and Palestinian protesters clash near the West Bank city of Nablus, April 13, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Double standards across media, politics highlight 'unbalanced' order, experts say

With the latest skirmishes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, analysts say the international community's response to the plight of the Palestinians, when compared to their response to the Ukraine conflict, exposes Western hypocrisy.

Experts see these double standards in the Western-dominated mainstream media's influence on storytelling, policy adoption, and even in the censorship of social media content, when it comes to the Palestinian cause.

Hayder Oruc, a Turkey-based independent analyst on Middle East and Israel-Palestine affairs, said "if the world does not end this hypocrisy immediately", a fair world for all in the near future will not be possible. "The first step … begins with acceptance of a free and independent Palestine state," he said.

As of Wednesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recorded a total of 5,121 civilian casualties in Ukraine-2,224 killed and 2,897 injured. In the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the United Nations earlier said around 2.1 million people need humanitarian assistance, including 933,994 children.

"As a Palestinian living my whole life under occupation… we are against any killing or targeting civilians anywhere," said Mohammad Abualrob, an assistant professor and chairperson of the Department of Media at Birzeit University in the West Bank.

"But at the same time, we are refusing the double standards that the international community (is) using (toward us when) dealing with the Palestinian cause compared to other conflicts in the world."

Dina Yulianti Sulaeman, director of the Indonesia Center for Middle East Studies, said the Ukraine crisis reveals double standards in the foreign policy of Western countries, especially the United States. "For more than 70 years, the rights of the Palestinian people were not enforced, while the US continued to supply military aid to Israel," Sulaeman said.

Sulaeman said defenders of Palestine, especially in Western countries, experience bullying. For instance, forums for the defense of Palestine are disbanded, and several academics were fired just for voicing their defense of Palestine.

Oruc sees the Palestinian cause and Ukrainian suffering as "two same cases, two different reactions".

He said even under a "world order" that supposedly grants all nations the right to existence and to struggle to be free, the "oppressors "of Palestinians and Ukrainians "do not hesitate to break the international system".

But while Ukrainians are characterized "as heroes, the Palestinian groups are labeled as terrorists" by the West, Oruc said.

Some netizens have reported the suspension or censorship of their social media accounts due to support for the Palestinian cause. Palestinian American supermodel Bella Hadid claimed that Instagram blocked some of her posts related to Palestine.

'Not enough information'

Abualrob hopes that stories from Palestine can focus more on the human aspect rather than merely reporting the clashes.

"This is one of the obstacles …that people around the world are not getting enough information from the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We wish to see a balanced coverage in the international media," Abualrob said.

Oruc believes the most negative aspect of the "unbalanced situation "is the lack of support for Palestinians despite being "under occupation for a long time".

In March, Michael Lynk, the UN's special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, called on the international community to accept and adopt a recent report, which analyzed Israel's 55-year occupation of the Palestinian Territory, and said: "Apartheid is being practiced by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory".

On March 31, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously voted on a resolution on ensuring accountability and achieving justice in Palestine, with 37 in favor. "Adopting (the resolution) is an essential step to upholding the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people, deterring further violations and holding Israel accountable for its violations," Sulaeman said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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