In just a single week, two governments took long overdue steps to label all branches of terrorist groups as part of the same poisonous tree. It was not without reason.
On November 19, 2021, the United Kingdom announced that it would add the political wing of Hamas onto the list of terrorist groups, joining the military branch which already had the designation. On November 24th, the government of Australia announced that it was adding all branches of Hezbollah to its terrorist list. They joined many countries in recognizing that the entirety of these organizations mobilized forces of hatred and terror, and facilitated the actual attacks of its military wings.
The propaganda arms of the two groups – al Aqsa and al Manar – are no longer fringe sources of extremism. They have been growing in popularity and are now at parity with more mainstream Muslim Arab media.
Al Manar is the media arm of Hezbollah in Lebanon. It routinely puts out the statements of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah demonizing the United States and Israel. The group defines itself as the official Islamic resistance of Lebanon to combat the atrocities and invasions of western powers.
Al Aqsa is the media arm of Hamas. It also defines itself as the official Islamic resistance of the Palestinian people against western and Jewish forces, advocating violence in its various programming.
|Date||al Arabia & Al Jazeera||al Manar & Al Aqsa|
As the table above shows, the preference for the programming of mainstream media like al Arabia from Dubai and al Jazeera from Qatar has dropped dramatically, even though those media outlets also demonize the west. The Gazans have become drawn to more radical calls for terrorism.
While the Gazans preference for violence against Israelis surpasses West Bankers, the trend lines for watching terrorist television is much the same in the Palestinian Authority-ruled areas.
|Date||al arabia & al jazeera||al manar & al aqsa|
The spike in West Bankers watching Hamas media has a lot to do with Palestinians dislike of PA President Mahmoud Abbas from the rival Fatah party, his cancelling elections earlier this year and Hamas’s missile attacks against Israel in May, a war crime celebrated by West Bankers as a defense for Jerusalem. But the overall trends are much the same as in Gaza: Palestinians are now watching terrorist television at the same rates as mainstream Arabic media.
The United Nations long ago realized that terrorist propaganda fuels violence, but it primarily focused attention on ISIS and al Qaeda and their usage of social media. Hopefully the recent actions of Australia and the UK in labelling the political and media arms of Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations will help reduce the vile calls to violence.