In a world with countless ongoing conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian struggle maintains an unparalleled grip on the public’s attention. It is outshining even larger and more destructive confrontations. While 999 out of every 1,000 people on Earth live far from the theater of this conflict, it has an enduring fascination that transcends borders.
A stark contrast is observed when comparing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to other crises that went largely unnoticed. Take, for example, the war that ravaged Ethiopia between 2020 and 2022. This conflict resulted in countless atrocities and hundreds of thousands of casualties. It was marked by brutal acts such as murder and rape against innocent civilians. Along with the deliberate starvation of vulnerable populations.
Astonishingly, the death toll in Ethiopia’s war far surpassed the cumulative toll of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1948. It is combined with all Arab-Israeli wars since the founding of the state of Israel. Yet, this Ethiopian war failed to elicit the same fervent international reactions that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict routinely does.
What sets the Israeli-Palestinian conflict apart? There are several factors at play. The wide dispersion of diaspora communities with deep ties to the region. It plays a role in the global reach of the conflict. However, equally significant are the ideological dimensions that outsiders have associated with the conflict, adding fuel to the international attention it receives.
When an explosion rocks Gaza or Tel Aviv, the world takes notice, while similar incidents in Syria, Colombia, Congo, or Myanmar may not garner the same attention. This selective global awareness is in part a result of the vast diaspora communities connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it’s also influenced by the ideological lenses through which the conflict is viewed.
The current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no exception, sending shockwaves across all six inhabited continents. High-ranking European Union officials have struggled to find a unified voice to represent their member states.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen faced criticism for her remarks during a trip to Israel following the tragic events of October 7, which some felt offered implicit support to the Netanyahu government’s actions that may have breached international law. Furthermore, her stance was seen as showing more empathy toward Israeli victims than Palestinians.
EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, appeared to address this issue when he emphasized that the right to self-defense. Like any other right, has its limits, as defined by international law and humanitarian law. He stressed that condemning one tragedy should not prevent the condemnation of another. Highlighting the importance of expressing sympathy for all victims, regardless of their origin.
In a world filled with conflicts, the Israeli-Palestinian issue remains an anomaly. Its prominence in the global spotlight is influenced by a multitude of factors, from the dispersion of diaspora communities to the complex ideological lens through which it is perceived. As the conflict continues to make headlines, it serves as a stark reminder of the intricate web of global politics and the power of narratives in shaping international reactions to crises.