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“We are accused of…”: Israelis feel unfairly isolated because of the war in Gaza

“We are accused of…”: Israelis feel unfairly isolated because of the war in Gaza

A series of diplomatic setbacks, strong condemnation of a recent strike in Gaza and intense protests on Western campuses have left Israelis feeling that their country is unfairly isolated.

Israelis expected unwavering support from their allies and the international community following the October 7 Hamas attack.

But as Israel’s retaliation against Hamas in Gaza escalates, Israel appears to have lost the sympathy it initially received after the unprecedented attack.

This loss of support intensified after last week’s Israeli attack on a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah, which killed at least 45 people, according to Gaza officials. The army denied targeting the camp.

This strike sparked condemnations from Istanbul to Beijing and from Washington to Paris.

On the social media platform Instagram, more than 47 million posts with the hashtag “All eyes on Rafah” have been recorded since the strike.

But Israelis remain rebellious despite growing isolation.

“I don’t think Israel should care what the world has to say… I support our army 100%,” Netanel Aronson, a 24-year-old Israeli-American, told AFP.

“I pray for them every day that they will be safe and come home.”

“A tragedy for everyone”

At least 36,379 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in Gaza during Israeli bombings and ground offensives since October 7, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled territory.

Israel’s campaign of retaliation came after the Hamas attack resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

The militants also took 252 people hostage, 121 of whom are still detained in Gaza, 37 of whom the military said died.

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“It’s a tragedy for everyone,” said Nathalie, who declined to give her last name, also referring to the plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“Since everyone is connected, we can see what’s going on. We feel hated,” said the 50-year-old.

“We feel like we are being accused of being colonialists and imperialists. But we consider ourselves refugees,” she added, echoing the sentiment of many Jews who arrived during the creation of Israel in 1948.

Palestinians call the creation of Israel the Nakba – or “catastrophe” – when an estimated 760,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes by the war for Israel’s creation.

Over the past month, Israel has faced a series of diplomatic setbacks.

As the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to end its ongoing Rafah offensive, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor requested arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the defense minister Yoav Gallant, as well as against three senior Hamas leaders.

Ireland, Norway and Spain also recognized a Palestinian state in a coordinated decision on Tuesday, while Slovenia’s parliament is due to vote on such a proposal next week.

The world “against Israel”

Political analyst Dahlia Scheindlin said Israelis were aware the war was damaging their global reputation.

“(Israelis) think the world is against Israel. They think that many institutions and countries are anti-Semitic and that there are double standards,” Scheindlin said.

She lamented the “devastating” impact of the war on Gaza residents, but said Israelis saw the ongoing military campaign as an “existential struggle” for their people.

Scheindlin said Israelis were demoralized by setbacks in international courts after Israel was accused of committing some of the worst crimes in Gaza.

Such crimes, “according to the Israelis, were only committed against them,” she added.

“So it’s very difficult for them to accept that. They fear isolation. »

The Israelis are also countering the “All Eyes on Rafah” social media campaign with their own that says: “If your eyes are on Rafah, then help us find the hostages.”

In a survey conducted by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center, before the May 26 attack on a displaced persons camp in Rafah, 40 percent of Israelis believed the country would “definitely” achieve its war goals in Gaza .

Only four percent of the Jewish majority thought Israel’s military response in the Palestinian territory had gone “too far.”

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    “It affects us… as Christians,” said the Jerusalem-based hairdresser, who hoped that “peace, love and respect” would return soon.

    (This article has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)

    Shankhyaneel Sarkar

    Shankhyaneel Sarkar is a senior sub-editor at News18. He covers international affairs

    Location: Jerusalem, undefined

    first publication: June 1, 2024, 6:54 p.m. IST