US Urges Israeli Restraint After Hamas Attacks: Some Ask What if Israel Had Said the Same Post-9/11?
Written by: Sam Orlando STAUNTON, VIRGINIA - In the fast-paced age of digital communications, where every individual or organization can instantly broadcast messages globally through platforms like X (formerly known as Twitter), consistent messaging during emergencies is crucial, yet increasingly challenging.
Earlier today, amidst the chaotic backdrop of a massive attack on Israel by Hamas, the United States Office for Palestinian Affairs found itself entangled in a communication controversy. Initially, the office sent out a well-intended but perhaps inaptly phrased message, urging Israelis to “refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks.” The initial tweet read: “We unequivocally condemn the attack of Hamas terrorists and the loss of life that has incurred. We urge all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing.”
While the intent might have been to advocate for peace, the message was met with confusion and criticism. Etan Fischberger, echoing the sentiment of many online, posed a challenging question on X: “Why is @JoeBiden administration telling Israel not to respond to the horrific evil being perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists?”
It brought to mind an unsettling hypothetical: how would the U.S. have reacted if, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Israel had called for American restraint? Such a call would likely have been met with outrage and disbelief. Today's tweet, in essence, posed a similar scenario, questioning the appropriateness of one nation telling the other to stand down in what that nation may consider an existential threat.
Recognizing the potential miscommunication, the Office for Palestinian Affairs swiftly deleted the message. In its place, they posted a more neutral statement, indicating they were “monitoring” the evolving situation, reminding U.S. citizens in the area to stay vigilant.
However, the inconsistency did not end there. Later in the day, the account shared a statement from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which took a decidedly different tone: “We unequivocally condemn the appalling attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israel. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks.”
In the midst of the social media commotion, the on-ground situation in Israel remained dire. Over 300 Israelis have tragically lost their lives, with at least 1,500 injured, and these numbers are expected to rise. Disturbing videos have surfaced showing Hamas terrorists parading female hostages through the streets. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of war, promising that Hamas would face severe repercussions. Meanwhile, reports indicate that Gaza has suffered significant casualties as well, with over 300 Palestinians killed and upwards of 1,700 injured.
The events of the day underscore the delicate nature of digital diplomacy, especially during crises. As platforms like X democratize the dissemination of information, they also heighten the need for governments and officials to communicate with clarity, consistency, and sensitivity. Today's incident serves as a stark reminder that in the digital age, where tweets can travel faster than official communiqués, crafting the right message — especially in situations akin to reactions post-9/11 — is more essential than ever.