The young Palestinians protesting against Israeli occupation and are arming themselves with rocks and knives and using their phones to document their activity have been described as the post-Oslo Agreement generation. The third intifada, as it's being called, is being documented online. Visual images are the weapon that Palestinian protestors are using to expose Israeli violations.
There's a Palestinian attempt to invest in these images - whether obtained from phones or from surveillance cameras which Israel has set up to monitor the Palestinians' movements and which now have become a tool to document what is happening. This is what has made Israel confiscate several surveillance cameras.
Palestinians are this time trying to reclaim their image; however this image, whether it's the young man snapping a selfie or dancing or the young woman throwing rocks at Israelis, is no longer dominating the scene like it was at the start of the recent escalation.Diana Moukalled
Israel has also officially requested YouTube and Facebook to remove videos that show Israeli settlers' and soldiers' violations against Palestinians. Popular protests have erupted in the West Bank garnering the attention of many, while social media networks have led to an increase in Palestinian anger thus triggering more protests. Meanwhile the momentum of the Israeli wave of hatred against Palestinians and Arabs has also gained pace as the Israeli society currently witnesses an upsurge in anti-Arab remarks. Some Facebook pages clearly reflect the anti-Arab opinions of many Israeli settlers and right-wing parties.
This time it's a war of photos.
For example, when the Palestinians published photos showing Israelis beating up an injured kid and insulting him, the Israelis responded by showing photos of Palestinian attacks, including stabbing and car ramming.
At first, the photos showed Palestinian men and women smiling as they were being arrested during protests. These smiles reflected defiance and insistence to confront Israel. We've also seen photos of young men snapping a selfie as they're throwing rocks at Israeli forces. Another picture showed a young Palestinian man dancing as Israeli security forces stood near him. Then came the photos and videos showing the Israeli army’s acts against Palestinians. A lot of the footage showed violations against children.
Meanwhile, many Palestinians have, through social media, voiced their desire to alter their image stating that there's a need to actually show the world that they're recent escalations from their side has been a form of voicing their anger.
Palestinians are this time trying to reclaim their image; however this image, whether it's the young man snapping a selfie or dancing or the young woman throwing rocks at Israelis, is no longer dominating the scene like it was at the start of the recent escalation.
Of course, considering history, the Palestinians are the weakest party and are the victim here. The number of Palestinians that have been killed, injured and detained in these recent protests further strengthens this point.
Therefore, Israel is still showing it has the upper hand here. However, it's important to note that this recent Palestinian manifestation of anger is not controlled by any Palestinian party. These protests came as a result of chronic Palestinian desperation and Israel's undermining of all options to compromise amid an increase in settlements and the adoption of additional security measures. What now pressures the Palestinians is the regional and international decline in interest in the Palestinian cause, as this grants Israel a green light to practice its oppression.
This reality must push the Palestinians to reconsider their acts of violence – acts which almost entirely dominate the image of the Palestinian protests.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat.
Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.
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