10 Most Commonly Misinterpreted Terms Describing Israel-Gaza Conflict

Map of Israel, Gaza, and West Bank. This whole area is so small and so disproportionately debated, that if you print out every article and story on the conflict, you could cover the whole area with about 100 feet high layer of paper. (Image source: weeklyintercept.blogspot.com)

Map of Israel, Gaza, and West Bank. This whole area is so small and so disproportionately debated, that if you print out every article, story, and comment related to the conflict, you could cover the whole area with about 100 feet high layer of paper. So what’s one more?
(Image source: weeklyintercept.blogspot.com)

The latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, now raging for several weeks, has gripped the world’s attention. And as it is often the case in any high-profile conflict, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation whirling around, starting with the terminology that is commonly used in various discussions of the current clash in Gaza, and Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general. Unfortunately, a lot of terms used to describe the conflict are somewhat misunderstood, and don’t necessarily mean what we think they mean. Here are 10 of these terms with their correct definitions.

1) “Hamas”: an imaginary organization which, according to Israeli claims, rules Gaza and allegedly shoots crude homemade rockets into Israel. If this mythical “Hamas” were actually real, then among thousands of photos of violence and devastation caused by Israel in Gaza there would have been at least a couple of pictures of “Hamas” fighters that Israel is supposedly fighting there.

2) “Crude homemade rocket”: Any self-propelled projectile weapon with flight range up to 100 miles and/or warhead containing less than 250 pounds of explosive, and approved by the United Nations for use against any civilian population outside Europe and North America. May contain homemade white phosphorus.

3) “Iron Dome”: a malicious system built by Israel to viciously demolish the homemade rockets that artisans in Gaza have spent countless hours patiently and lovingly assembling.

4) “Pro-Israeli propaganda”: Any internet or print article, or TV report that deviates from reporting the cold hard facts of brutal Israeli massacre of innocent civilians and mentions the existence of so-called “Hamas” as proven fact – especially if those stories in any way insinuate that alleged Hamas’ actions are in any way responsible for provoking Israel.

5) “Freedom fighters”: a courageous organization which is fighting against the established power by any means necessary. This term is often mixed up with “terrorist organization”, defined as a “cowardly organization which is fighting against established power by any means necessary”. I realize this is still confusing, so here are some examples of terrorist organizations: Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS in Iraq, Kurdish resistance in Turkey, Libyan militias which attacked American consulate in Benghazi. And here are the examples of freedom fighters: Kurdish resistance in Iraq, ISIS in Syria, Libyan militias which attacked Muammar Gaddafi. (Hamas isn’t a part of either list because it isn’t real.)

6) “Apartheid”: a dehumanizing system of racial discrimination and segregation that Israel has established to ensure that Palestinian Arabs living in West Bank have incomparably fewer human rights than Palestinian Arabs living in Israel.

7) “Occupation”: Jewish presence anywhere within 500 miles of Palestine.

8) “Disproportionate response”: any retaliatory action by Israel that unfairly exploits Israeli military superiority. In contrast, a “proportionate response” requires Israel to execute and injure exactly the same number of randomly picked Palestinians for each Jew killed or injured by “crude homemade rockets”.

9) “Peaceful Muslims”: Muslims who do not want to kill Jews and other infidels, but wouldn’t mind if someone else would do that for them.

10) “Genocide”: An act of ruthless and systematic annihilation of ethnic group A by group B which over 60 years leads to quadrupling in size of the ethnic group A.

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About List of X

An Ostensibly Funny Commentary* of the Recent News and Events. (* warning! may not actually be funny or a commentary. Also, since I am not quite sure what "ostensibly" means, it might not be "ostensibly" either.) Blogging at listofx.com
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30 Responses to 10 Most Commonly Misinterpreted Terms Describing Israel-Gaza Conflict

  1. Paul says:

    Bwahaha! X you have outdone yourself on this post with the dark humo(u)r. It is very true that terminology, which allows us to communicate clearly is very, very fuzzy in this case. In fact , as you so blatantly point out – the same terms often have opposite meanings for the combatants. I have to say that only a Russian could be so astute – having experienced the same. For us here in Canada, the political “right” or conservatism, strongly identifies with capitalism. In Russia the political “right” or conservatism is communism. So, right here is left there and left here is right there. Ahh, the joys of political terminology – about as fixed as politicians.

    Great post – very dark and very funny at least to a non-Israeli, non-Palestinian.

    Like

    • List of X says:

      Thank you! But I’m sure you realize that doublespeak is not exclusively a Russian tradition – and “doublespeak”, obviously isn’t a Russian word. It’s basically how 90% of politicians speak, and I’m sure it’s the case in Canada, too.

      Like

      • Paul says:

        Oh absolutely. Because of the recent (30 years) change of political systems in Russia, I suspect the sensitivity to such double-speak would be heightened.

        Like

        • List of X says:

          You would think so. But now Russian media covers the events in Ukraine as Putin tells it to, and something like 85% of Russia thinks Ukraine has been overrun with fascists.

          Like

  2. Ankur Mithal says:

    Learning never ends. Thank you X for clearing up misconceptions. I hope there are no misinterpretations about misconception.

    Like

  3. aqilaqamar says:

    Reblogged this on Iconography ♠ Incomplete and commented:
    List of X uses satire but gets some essential points across. There may one or two points I would tweek but other than that it is a very good analysis of the terms used and abused 🙂

    Like

  4. aqilaqamar says:

    I am actually happy that you appropriated this list with dark humour. Red, dark and postulating a sense of wider understanding. I really liked how you debunked that the entirety of ISIS is not being challenged rather like ISIS here good and ISIS here bad but never documented in mainstream papers. Also I always question the credential of “terrorist” groups because some of them have too much luxurious methods, payment methods included, to be so out of radar. I mean none of them are documented until they do something very heinous and I am like how are they able to do without manpower, funds and the usual fare of stuff? Apparently, people have no problem brainwashing people into fake splinter terrorist cells but can’t even do stuff until a so-called actual terror attack happens. And terror is a word that has gained popularity after mid-90s something like DJ and RJ. Yet, it is horrendous how no one is really taking severe steps or intense ones to alleviate the problems in Palestine-Israel “conflict”. It is wrong term to even use “conflict” because “conflict” suggests this equanimity of power even that does not clearly exist. Of course, the Palestine people are powerful because of their Blessed spirits but in regards to a military force or even human rights that are basic you can see that Israel is a portion of land that has so much opulence and Palestine is so poor compared to them. This also begs the question why would a rich nation bully one that is denied basic rights.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      It might have something to do with the fact that palestinians have sworn to destroy Israel and kill every Isaeli. And really: “a portion of land that has so much opulence”? – it is the exact same ground. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Israelis are innocent – far from it – but they are not swearing to kill every Palestinian.

      Like

      • Jim Wheeler says:

        I’m with Paul on this one. That Hammas sets the destruction of the nation of Israel as non-negotiable says everything about this conflict. The Arabs have some proper complaints, but taking this stand dooms any political solution, so it’s hard for me to sympathize with them. I find little humor in satirizing the mess however. Too bloody, too many dead women and children.

        Like

        • List of X says:

          Jim, you may be right about propriety of satirizing this mess, but as long as people keep referring to self-defense as “genocide” and to terrorism as “fighting for freedom”, this mess isn’t going to get any better.

          Like

      • aqilaqamar says:

        You have ghetto and uptown on the same ground in many cities. Also the Palestinians don’t really have the exposure or coverage to make threats like that nor carry them out. You don’t have to swear to kill anyone out loud; you can do it gradually bit by bit by doing all sorts of things that ethically screams murder. When First Nations was destroyed no one went screaming around all the time that they intended to carry out the genocide. They just did the crimes. Israel has all the resources and military aids and arms to carry out the destruction it is doing. It has refused to treat people of Ghaza as humans and put them in very abject living conditions. You should not treat your fellow humans as sub-humans, ever.

        Like

        • Paul says:

          Even when their democratically (read “representational”) elected government swears they will kill you? My guess is that if it were you personally who was receiving death threats, backed up by munitions fire, you’d be a bit upset and less than cordial as well.

          Like

        • List of X says:

          Are you trying to say that people who live in poor area should be allowed to launch rockets into the rich neighborhoods? And what is your definition of “refusing to treat people as humans”? Is it warning them to get out from the area of future airstrikes so that they won’t get hurt? Or is it declaring ceasefires so that Israel could deliver humanitarian aid? Or is it providing medical help to Palestinian patients? I feel like I need to include another definition 🙂

          Like

          • aqilaqamar says:

            We cannot say that Hamas does everything with the archaic philosphy of want to kill Jewish people. If it was as reduceable as that then it would be easier to stop them. Nobody wants to question why a bunch of low-grade, low-armed people will suddenly get violent and persist the violence. If Hamas is really defined in that way nobody really questions that. Warning to get out of an area that is their home and life is hardly palatable. If I suspected something going on in your house and just told to evacuate and then bomb it away you will be homeless and devastated. Your whole life was there. And then I just leave you and go about business. That’s not fair or right.
            Exactly List what is your views on this conflict. Your stuff either was being sarcastic or just plain anger at people. I didn’t get your stand.

            Like

            • List of X says:

              My post was being sarcastic, and I had hoped that things like “rockets approved by UN for use against civilian populations” would make it very obvious.
              My views on the conflict are even simpler: as long as Hamas and other terrorist groups keep attacking Israel, there won’t be peace.
              And as for low-grade, low-armed people, Hamas isn’t exactly fighting with sticks and slingshots. I suggest that you google the Katyusha and Fajr-5 rockets that Hamas uses. Sure, these are not nuclear bombs, but by no definition these are low-grade weapons. Trust me, you would not like these flying into your house – and, by the way, there won’t be even a minimal courtesy of a warning, either.
              Nobody wants to question why Hamas suddenly got violent, because they’ve never been a peaceful organization.

              Like

      • List of X says:

        Yes, “a portion of land that has so much opulence” kind of sounds like there was some vast underground deposit of opulence ore that Israeli were just lucky to find. 🙂

        Like

    • List of X says:

      You can actually tell that a group is a “terrorist organization” by their tactics. If the group attacks mostly civilians, going for the maximum shock impact, rather than attacking the armed forces of the opponent in combat, that’s makes them terrorists. So a group can easily be both “freedom fighters” and “terrorists” at the same time, which I think describes Hamas well enough.
      And no, it’s not wrong to call this “conflict”. Hamas IS actually actively trying to kill Jews, with rockets, suicide bombings, tunnel attacks and so on. Just because they’ve killed fewer Jews than they had hoped (but they have killed hundreds), doesn’t make this “not a conflict”. Or, if Hamas is not in conflict with Israel, why are they keep attacking Israel with rockets?

      Like

  5. I got a crude homemade rocket–IN MY PANTS!

    Ohhh! I’m here all week. Tip your blogger.

    Wading in the political waters this morning, I see. Get ready for some search term blow-back. Some will misinterpret the humo(u)r as straightforward commentary.

    Like

  6. aFrankAngle says:

    Nothing like a good glossary to a news event.

    Like

  7. wait… I thought hamas was that dip that you put of pita chips???

    Like

  8. El Guapo says:

    If nothing else, the conflict has advanced the science of Rhetoric to new heights.

    Like

  9. draliman says:

    I thought Boko Haram were quite good. Oh wait, am I getting “Boko Haram” mixed up with “Procul Harum”? I’m so shocked by my mistake I’m turning a “Whiter Shade of Pale” hahaha 🙂

    How about “ceasefire – period during which there is supposed to be a cessation of violence, but actually there isn’t”.

    Like

    • List of X says:

      Great, now I have this song by Boko Haram playing in my head. 🙂
      I almost included “ceasefire” as “the game played by Israel and Hamas, the purpose of which it to get the opponent to break the ceasefire first”.

      Like

  10. failure says:

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

    Like

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