World

Is Hamas Winning The Gaza PR Battle?

Even though the Palestinian casualties outnumber those on the Israeli side, some argue the lopsided death toll serves as a propaganda tool for Hamas.

Is Hamas Winning The Gaza PR Battle?
Getty Images

A glance at the body count would suggest Israel is winning the latest round of fighting in Gaza. But from a PR point of view, you could argue it’s Hamas that has the upper hand. (Via Getty Images

"Israel claims it was firing at Hamas militants at the border. But the dead were four young boys." ‚Äč(Via NBC

"In [a] hospital this morning, we found not militants but two brothers." (Via CBS

"Every funeral is a moment of public mourning and private grief." (Via BBC

You see, for every Palestinian death and every accompanying headline, Hamas benefits politically — at least according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  

NETANYAHU: "Hamas wants to kill civilians on the Israeli side, and the amazing grotesque and gruesome fact is they want to have as many civilians killed on the Palestinian side." (Via ABC

Writing for Bloomberg, Jeffrey Goldberg calls the Palestinian death toll a "propaganda victory" for Hamas: "It is perverse, but true. It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas's behavior, because Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here."

After all, the group's rockets have proven no match for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. And that's why many analysts say Hamas isn't attacking Israel because it thinks it can win militarily — it's attacking to provoke a response that will generate bad PR for Israel. 

Writes a columnist at The Globe And Mail"What Hamas does get is good PR. The visuals are golden: fleeing civilians, injured kids, apartment buildings bombed to rubble."

This as Israel says Hamas is deliberately hiding weaponry in schools, mosques and hospitals — leaving the IDF with no choice but to strike civilian areas. (Via ITN

And as the death toll on the Palestinian side mounts, so has the perception that Israel is the aggressor. (Via Getty Images

Brandwatch, a company that monitors social media trends, might have the best measure of this. A researcher for the group told The New York Times in just over a week, the hashtag #Gazaunderattack was used in 622,000 tweets compared to 36,200 tweets for the hashtag #IsraelUnderFire.