Israeli-Palestinian conflict and global research inequalities

by MMC
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In an era characterized by unprecedented connectivity and rapid dissemination of information, global interest in key geopolitical issues has never been more pronounced. Among these issues, the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine continues to capture the world’s attention. Our analysis of research data from various countries highlights the multifaceted dimensions of this enduring conflict and the varying levels of global interest it generates.

Historical context and global responses

To understand the dynamics of this enduring conflict, we must delve into its historical foundations and the international response it has provoked. In 1988, the Palestinian Declaration of Independence marked a pivotal moment in the trajectory of the conflict, proclaiming the creation of the State of Palestine. This declaration was later recognized by several countries, paving the way for future diplomatic efforts. Over the following years, a series of diplomatic initiatives sought to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Notably, the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995, negotiated between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, aimed to establish the Palestinian National Authority as an autonomous interim administration in certain areas of the West Bank and the Gaza strip. Despite these efforts, the resolution of the conflict remains uncertain and the situation remains complex.

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Various global interests in the conflict

Search data between October 4 and 11, 2023 (ended at 11:04 p.m.) highlights disparities in global interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unsurprisingly, it is Israel that attracts the greatest interest within its borders, with a staggering 89% of searches reflecting the direct impact of the conflict on the lives of Israeli citizens. Additionally, Brazil, a country geographically distant from the conflict, has a remarkable 96% engagement, reflecting its cultural ties and a large Jewish community.

Exhibit 1: The link

Source: Google Trends, 2023; Information analysis, 2023

Global focus on “war” and regional interest

Although attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict varies, the concept of “war” receives considerable attention globally, particularly in the United States, where it attracts 24% of searches. This highlights the historic role of the United States as a major player in international conflicts. The Middle East region is notably showing greater interest in Israel and Palestine, which corresponds to its geographic proximity and regional concerns. The United Arab Emirates, for example, has a substantial 30% interest in Palestine, emphasizing regional ties and commitment to the Palestinian cause. Our previous analysis revealed a strong correlation: the more countries’ residents (as shown in Exhibit 2) searched for information about Israel, the more they also showed interest in Palestine. Specifically, a 1% increase in interest in Israel corresponded to a 94% increase in interest in Palestine. When our analyst examined the inclusion of the theme of war alongside these two countries, it became evident that people in these countries demonstrated significant interest in both Israel and the concept of war. Notably, a 1% increase in their interest in Israel was associated with a 95% increase in their interest in the war. Similarly, a 1% increase in interest in Palestine was correlated with an 88% increase in interest in the war.

Chart 2: Global search interest between October 4 and October 11, 2023

Source: Google Trends, 2023; Information analysis, 2023

Difference of interest: Israel versus Palestine

The data reveals a significant gap in global interest between Israel and Palestine, reflecting broader media coverage and international relations priorities. This imbalance can be seen through the prism of global media coverage, raising questions about potential bias in global discussions around the conflict.

Global actors in the conflict

Understanding the dynamics of global interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also requires examining the countries that actively support the parties involved. Currently, 84 countries express support for Israel, including major players like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and a consortium of European nations. On the other hand, several countries, with Iran at the forefront, have rallied behind Hamas, the fundamentalist Islamic group that controls the Gaza Strip. This support takes the form of substantial financial and military aid. Additionally, countries such as Qatar, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, and the Arab League have shown varying degrees of support for Hamas, further complicating the resolution of the conflict.

Global reactions to the conflict

The ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel has sparked global reactions, with protests and demonstrations breaking out in various countries, including Bahrain, Morocco, Turkey, Yemen, Tunisia and Kuwait. These widespread protests defending Palestinian solidarity underscore deep-seated concerns about the volatile situation in the region. Overall, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to captivate the global stage, shaped by myriad factors including regional dynamics, historical ties, and media coverage. Understanding the complexities of this ongoing conflict is essential to foster informed, balanced and constructive dialogue, thereby contributing to the pursuit of peace and stability in the region.

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