An Analysis of the Cyber Aspect of the Palestine Issue

An Analysis of the Cyber Aspect of the Palestine Issue by Syeda Sonia Haider

An Analysis of the Cyber Aspect of the Palestine Issue | Daily Writeups | Opinions

The following article, An Analysis of the Cyber Aspect of the Palestine Issue, is written by Syeda Sonia Haider, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

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2-Cyber Security and its Importance in Contemporary Politics

3-The historical context of the Palestine issue

4-Cyber Warfare and Palestine Issue

5What could be the causes of Palestine-Israel cyber warfare?

  • Demographic Context
    • Control over Territories
    • Settlements and Annexation
  • Religious and Cultural Differences
    • Holy Sites and Religious Significance
    • Cultural Identity and Heritage
  • Historical and Political Context
    • Historical Conflicts and Disputes
    • Political Struggles and Agendas
  • Socio-Economic Factors
    • Social Inequalities
    • Access to Resources and Opportunities
  • Geopolitical Influences and Alliances
    • Regional and Global Alliances
    • Influence of Foreign Policies

6-What are the impacts of the cyber conflict?

  • Social Impacts
    • Psychological Unrest and Social Divisions
    • Humanitarian Crisis and Quality of Life
  • Geopolitical and diplomatic Impacts
    • Diplomatic Strain and Global Relations
    • National Security Measures and Civil Liberties
  • Economic Impacts
    • Financial Losses and Economic Disruptions
    • Impact on the Global Economy
  • Religious Impacts
    • Exacerbation of Religious Tensions
    • International Religious Reactions and Perspectives

7-What are the possible prospects and recommendations?

  • ✓To strengthen international mediation and diplomacy
  • ✓To Promote Bilateral Agreements and Confidence-Building Measures
  • ✓To endorse international cyber norms and agreements
  • ✓To promote cyber dialogue and education
  • ✓To encourage consideration of humanitarian aspects and digital rights
  • ✓To ensure emphasis on transparency and accountability
  • ✓To encourage international cooperation and assistance
  • ✓To integrate with Long-term Conflict Resolution Efforts


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Answer to the Question


The conflict between Israel and Palestine has endured for decades, marked by complex geopolitical, historical, and socio-economic dimensions. Amidst this multi-faceted struggle, the cyber aspect has emerged as a critical dimension, reshaping the dynamics and consequences of the crisis. According to the “United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) report on 15th November 2023, the cyber warfare between Palestine and Israel has caused damage to 41,000 housing units, 279 educational facilities, and 26 hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, exacerbating the already tensed situation to the next level. From cyber surveillance to attacks on critical infrastructure, the digital landscape has become a battlefield, influencing the region’s national security, civil liberties, and the socio-economic fabric of the area, as well as the global economy. Hence, considering the humanitarian aspect and digital rights, promoting digital literacy to mitigate tensions, emphasizing accountability and transparency in the region and fostering constructive dialogue amidst the crisis is inevitable to comprehensively address the Israel-Palestine conflict and pave the way towards regional stability and global peace. This analysis aims to delve into the cyber realm of the Palestine crisis, examining its causes and multi-faceted impacts and proposing strategic suggestions to address the challenges posed by cyber activities within this conflict.

Cyber Security and Its Importance in Contemporary Politics

Debunking the term’s meaning and significance, cybersecurity protects systems, networks, and programs from digital and malicious attacks. The term applies in various contexts, protecting the digital world, from business to mobile computing. Cybersecurity, therefore, has become a pivotal component in contemporary politics and international conflicts, wielding substantial influence in shaping global power dynamics. The interconnectedness of digital systems has recently elevated the significance of cybersecurity, evidenced by the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks targeting political entities. For instance, the 2016 U.S. presidential election interference through hacking, Russian hackers’ Solar Wind cyber espionage campaign in 2020, and India’s hacktivists targeting Canada’s military and Parliament websites with DDOS in September 2023 highlighted the vulnerability of governmental institutions to sophisticated cyber assaults. These instances demonstrate the tangible impact of cyber threats on the political front and the economic landscape. With time, estimated global cybercrime costs will reach $6 trillion annually by 2025. Therefore, to safeguard infrastructure, state secrets, and citizens’ data, nations rely on robust defense mechanisms and cyber security strategies to counter cyber threats, suggesting that governments invest significantly in cybersecurity strategies. Overall, the intersection of cybersecurity and contemporary politics underscores the imperative for nations to fortify their defenses in the digital realm to protect their national interests, democratic process, and sovereignty.

The Historical Context of the Palestine Issue

Analyzing the background of the conflict, the Palestine issue is a deep-rooted, complex, and longstanding conflict with a history of territorial disputes, religious differences, and geopolitical factors. The region has a history dating back thousands of years and is home to various ancient civilizations, including the Canaanites, Hebrews, and later, the Jews. Since the 20th century, it has become the object of conflicting claims of Jewish and Arab national movements. Palestine has been under the Ottoman rule for centuries. Meanwhile, a nationalist movement among European Jews known as Zionism emerged, seeking to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine due to historical and religious ties. After World War I, with the Ottoman Empire’s fall, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate over Palestine. Therefore, in the Balfour Declaration (1917), Britain expressed its support for the establishment of a “National home for the Jewish peoplein Palestine, leading to a direct conflict in the region. In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, leading to a series of Arab-Israel Wars. Several conflicts, including the Suez Crisis (1956), the Six-Day War (1967), and the Yom Kippur War (1973), shaped the region. Israel gained control over the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. This resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, creating a Palestinian refugee crisis and direct human rights violations. Issues such as settlements, access to resources, security, and the status of Jerusalem remain unresolved, making it a multi-faceted conflict with significant implications for the Middle East and the broader international community today.

Cyber Warfare and Palestine Issue

Moving ahead, the Palestine-Israel conflict has been intertwined with the digital realm of cyber warfare, furthering its havoc and destruction socially, geopolitically and economically. Israel has become a global leader in technological innovations and sophisticated cyber capabilities. Palestine, in contrast, faces challenges in terms of technological infrastructure and digital resources. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have dedicated units focused on cybersecurity, employing advanced technologies to conduct cyber operations when deemed necessary for national security. However, some Palestinian hacker groups, such as the “Gaza Hackers Team,” have also been engaged in cyber activities, targeting Israeli systems and creating occasional breaches to disrupt Israeli surveillance networks and propagate their messages to the world. While Palestinian capabilities may not match Israel’s technological prowess, these activities showcase efforts to utilize cyberspace as a platform for resistance and influence. Both sides, therefore, continue to develop their cyber capabilities, but the vast disparity in resources and infrastructure between Israel and Palestine is evident. Despite Israel’s well-established technological sector and cybersecurity expertise in contrast with Palestine’s more limited access to resources, both sides have demonstrated a willingness to engage in cyber activities within the broader context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, hence exacerbating the already tense environment between them.

What could be the causes of Palestine-Israel cyber warfare?

As every conflict has some direct and indirect reasons, the cybersecurity crisis between Palestine and Israel also has severe political, religious and historical causes. Decades-long, traditional warfare has transformed into a digital arena where people support and protect their ancient causes through modern technology. Whether it be the Balfour Declaration (1917) or the emergence of Zionism, the root causes of these series of events are discussed hereunder.

  • Demographic context

Control over Territories

One of the primary causes of conflict between Palestine and Israel is the control and ownership of territories, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, as these territories are strategically and economically important for both Palestinians and Israelis. Both sides, therefore, claim rights to these areas, leading to disputes and tensions.

Settlements and Annexation

Next, Israel’s establishment of settlements in the occupied territories and plans for annexation have been contentious issues. This unilateral action is seen as a violation of international law by Palestinians and has led to significant friction, making it an essential factor in creating a rift between them.

  • Religious and Cultural Differences

Holy Sites and Religious Significance

Further, the region holds significant religious sites for Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, including the Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. These places, therefore, are equally important for these three major religions of the world. Disputes over access and control of these sites have always fuelled religious tensions, creating far-reaching effects in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. This religious importance, therefore, makes it a significant cause for major religions to have possession of these places.

Cultural Identity and Heritage

Likewise, Palestinians and Israelis have deep cultural ties to the land, contributing to a sense of belonging and identity. Competing narratives and historical interpretations from both sides exacerbate the conflict, making it an identity crisis. However, Palestinians’ claim of living there with their fathers and forefathers for centuries seems more logical, yet not enough to compel Israel to stop that forced migration and human rights violations against them. Therefore, cultural identity is also a cause for a constant conflict between Palestine and Israel, both supporting their respective cultures and societies technologically.

  • Historical and Political Context

Historical Conflicts and Disputes

Adding more to it, decades of historical conflicts, wars, and failed peace processes between Palestine and Israel and a lack of mutual trust between the two parties have contributed to entrenched animosities to the cyber front, making it a seemingly never-ending conflict in history. Israel’s unjust occupation of Palestinian land has created a negative impact not just on the Palestinian people but on the world, too. However, the forced occupation continues a longstanding historical conflict.

Political Struggles and Agendas

Similarly, competing political aspirations, including statehood for Palestine and security concerns for Israel, have resulted in opposing political agendas that exacerbate the hacktivists of one side to manipulate the others. Moreover, gaining territorial control by one has been considered the ultimate loss by the other, making the conflict non-compromising by either side. Hence, the political struggle to gain territorial control over the land has found its new way- cyber warfare.

  • Socio-Economic Factors

Social Inequalities

Next, Palestinians have long been facing social disparities, including poverty, the right to live peacefully on their land, limited access to essential services, and survival challenges, which has fueled grievances against Israel’s policies, making the Palestinians think of Israel as an apartheid regime and switching to the digital front to create resistance and counter the brutal atrocities against them.

Access to Resources and Opportunities

Moreover, unequal access to resources, such as water, education, employment, and land, on their land has exacerbated cyber-attacks, especially in areas such as the West Bank and Gaza, where the Palestinians feel marginalized and deserted. This control over the resources has been a central issue in this longstanding conflict, eventually impacting the marginalized communities’ livelihoods and exacerbating the cyber-attacks on them.

  • Geopolitical Influences and Alliances

Regional and Global Alliances

Furthermore, Israel, most of the time, being a strategic ally of America, has more regional and global allies than the Palestinians. America’s financial and strategic support to Israel influences the dynamics of the conflict and extends cyber activities, such as gathering information and conducting propaganda. Its use of cyber capabilities to disrupt communication networks, spread misinformation, and target critical infrastructure in Gaza has always leveraged Israel, making Palestinians more vulnerable and exerting control through counter cyber-attacks against Israel.

Influence of Foreign Policies

Lastly, external actors’ foreign policies and interventions have exacerbated the conflict dynamics. For instance, international support for peace initiatives or arms sales to either side has affected the balance of power and perpetuated conflict. Moreover, conflicts involving nation-states like Iran or Israel have significantly escalated cyber threats and security concerns. For instance, the historical tensions between Israel and Palestine have witnessed cyber incidents, such as the Stuxnet attack, allegedly involving state-sponsored cyber activities to damage the nuclear program of Iran in 2010. In this way, global actors intensify the already disturbed balance of power between the oppressed and the oppressor.

What are the impacts of the cyber conflict?

Stepping ahead, the longstanding conflict between Palestinians and Israel for the land of Palestine has several social, political, economic, and religious effects, creating tension on the regional and international front and disturbing global peace at large. Here are the impacts the world has observed due to conflict.

  • Social Impacts

Psychological Unrest and Social Divisions

First, continuous cyber-attacks instil fear and anxiety among civilians and impact the mental health, education, and survival of individuals. Moreover, propaganda and misinformation spread through cyber means and electronic media supporting one-sided points of view can deepen societal divides, fostering hatred and distrust among different social groups, ultimately leading to polarization within societies affected by the conflict. Therefore, an insensitive and indifferent society would result from the cyber propaganda, disturbing the world’s social structure.

Humanitarian Crisis and Quality of Life

Second, disruption of critical infrastructure, such as power grids and healthcare systems, can lead to a severe humanitarian crisis, affecting the quality of life for civilians. For example, interruptions in access to medical services and essential utilities, such as drinking water, food, and hospitals, can significantly impact vulnerable populations, such as women and children, creating severe issues, such as poverty and forced migration.

  • Geopolitical and Diplomatic Impacts

Diplomatic Strain and Global Relations

Third, the cyber aspects of the conflict can strain diplomatic relations between nations supporting either Palestine or Israel. For instance, diplomatic tensions between Israel and countries critical of its policies towards Palestine, such as some Arab nations or European countries, might intensify due to cyber conflicts. As in the recent direct military conflict between Israel and Palestine since October 2023, some governments, such as Norway, Ireland, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Morocco, Malaysia, and Maldives, with many more, have started to turn critical of Israel’s actions against Palestine, impacting international politics and global alliances. Therefore, global relations and alliances have been affected in this way.

National Security Measures and Civil Liberties

Fourth, governments might intensify surveillance and security measures to counter cyber threats, potentially impacting civil liberties. For example, Israel involved in the conflict may implement stricter cybersecurity laws affecting privacy rights and freedom of expression for its people. Moreover, the extensive cyber surveillance and potential cyber-attacks by Israel can infringe upon the civil liberties and human rights of Palestinians, including the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and the right to access information without interference. Attacks on Palestinian infrastructure, including hacking into networks, disrupting services, and targeting critical systems. These attacks, therefore, destabilize essential services, affecting the daily lives and security of Palestinians.

  • Economic Impacts

Financial Losses and Economic Disruptions

Fifth, cyber conflicts have severe economic effects on society. Attacks targeting economic infrastructures, government-own buildings, banks, schools and hospitals result in significant financial losses, leading to cost-cutting and reduced workforce size. Long-term cyber conflicts, therefore, deter foreign investors from entering the region or existing investors from expanding their operations due to concerns about the stability and security of the business community. Disruptions in financial systems, trade or businesses due to cyber-attacks lead to substantial economic downturns, decreasing productivity and creating chaos.

Global Economy Downturn

Sixth, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has the potential to disrupt the global economy, paving the way for a recession if more countries, such as Iran, Jordan and Lebanon, get involved in it. In that scenario, according to a Bloomberg Economics estimate, “oil prices could soar to $150 a barrel and global growth drop to 1.7% — a recession that takes about $1 trillion off world output.” Therefore, the conflict in the Middle East can directly affect the world economy, as the region is a crucial energy supplier and a key shipping passageway.

  • Religious Impacts

Exacerbation of Religious Tensions

Seventh, cyber conflicts can deepen religious tensions in regions with spiritual significance, such as the Middle East. For instance, cyber-attacks affecting religious sites or sentiments could escalate religious tensions worldwide. Moreover, attacks targeting religious sites and spreading propaganda regarding religious beliefs impact religious sentiments. For example, cyber-attacks affecting access to or damaging holy sites in Jerusalem provoke strong reactions among Palestinians and escalate the conflict further.

International Religious Reactions and Perspectives

Eighth, the conflict’s religious dimensions might garner responses and reactions from religious communities worldwide, influencing global religious perspectives and relationships. For instance, Israel’s attempts to attack Al-Aqsa Mosque intrigues the sentiments of the Muslim World. Moreover, in such situations, leaders might take stances that affect their followers’ perceptions of the conflict, exacerbating the global and regional chaos and disturbing international peace and harmony.

What are the possible prospects and recommendations?

However, resolving the complex issues between Palestine and Israel requires a multi-faceted approach focused on diplomacy, mutual understanding, and respect for the rights of ordinary people. Following are some of the recommendations, including regional and global actors, to resolve the humanitarian crisis between Palestine and Israel. 

  • To strengthen international mediation and diplomacy

To begin with, encourage both parties to engage in diplomatic talks mediated by international organizations or neutral third-party entities to establish cyber norms, rules of engagement, and confidence-building measures. Therefore, addressing core issues, such as settlements, security, refugees, and Jerusalem’s status, are critical steps toward achieving lasting peace and stability in the region.

  • To promote bilateral agreements and confidence-building measures

Next, facilitate direct discussions between Israel and Palestine to establish bilateral agreements focusing on cyber incidents, define red lines, and institute confidence-building measures to prevent unjust escalations. Therefore, a sustainable solution entails sincere dialogue and negotiations leading to a comprehensive, fair, and viable solution acceptable not only for Israel but also for the Palestinian government and people.

  • To endorse international cyber norms and agreements

Moreover, international agreements and norms discourage states from engaging in cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure or entities in conflict zones, including Palestine. Such agreements aim to prevent destabilizing cyber activities that could exacerbate tensions or cause harm to civilian populations. Therefore, to advocate adherence to international cyber norms and agreements, such as the Tallinn Manual or the UN Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) reports, establishing a common understanding of acceptable behaviour in cyberspace is crucial to limit cyber warfare in this crisis.

  • To promote cyber dialogue and education

Similarly, fostering dialogues and educational initiatives between global experts, regional policymakers, and civil society representatives is essential to enhance mutual understanding, cooperation, and collaboration on cybersecurity issues. Therefore, investment in strengthening cybersecurity infrastructure and resilience through technological advancements, training programs, and information-sharing mechanisms to balance the region’s power would mitigate cyber threats and attacks from either side.

  • To encourage humanitarian considerations and digital rights

Likewise, emphasizing the importance of respecting humanitarian considerations and digital rights for civilians and ensuring that cyber activities do not impact essential services, infrastructure, or individual freedoms is inevitable to mitigate the escalation in the region. Prioritizing humanitarian aid to people, especially those severely affected by the war, and ensuring access to essential services like healthcare, education, water, and food is ital. Therefore, resolving the crisis requires addressing this humanitarian situation by providing aid, improving living conditions, and safeguarding ordinary people’s and refugees’ rights.

  • To ensure transparency and accountability

Besides this, encouraging transparency in cyber activities and holding those responsible for cyber incidents accountable through international legal mechanisms and agreements promote responsible international behaviour in resolving cyber warfare. Moreover, holding those accountable for their activities in putting the lives of innocent civilians at stake by international law and human rights standards is essential. As a result, this accountability will ensure adherence to legal frameworks that protect civilians, prevent violations, and promote respect for human rights, fostering an environment conducive to peace negotiations.

  • To encourage international cooperation and assistance

Verily, promoting international cooperation and support from international organizations generally and cybersecurity organizations specifically and encouraging the sharing of expertise, best practices, and technical assistance to improve cyber defences and incident response capabilities to protect civilians and their rights in the war-torn region, such as West Bank and Gaza, is an essential step to mitigate the crisis. Similarly, international cooperation can stimulate economic growth by investing in Palestinian businesses, supporting entrepreneurship, creating job opportunities, and reducing poverty and dependency on aid. Consequently, support for the rule of law, judicial reforms, and law enforcement further strengthens the legal framework, ensuring accountability, protecting human rights, and fostering a sense of security among the population.

  • To integrate with long-term conflict resolution efforts

Last but not least, recognize that cyber warfare is a symptom of underlying political, social, and territorial disputes. Efforts to resolve the broader conflict between Israel and Palestine can contribute to reducing tensions in cyberspace as well. These efforts focus on building trust, addressing the grievances of the marginalized ones and establishing the necessary frameworks for mutual respect for all, ultimately mitigating the root causes of the conflict and paving the way for sustainable peace.


The multi-faceted Palestine-Israel issue is one of the most neglected conflicts by the global powers. The problem has now acquired a new dimension- cyberspace. Despite the vast disparity in resources and infrastructure between Israel and Palestine, both sides have demonstrated a willingness to engage in a series of cyber activities, resulting in a more severe crisis affecting the vulnerability of the Palestinians more than the Israelis, as evident in every confrontation between Israel and Palestine. Due to the new dimension of an already intensified crisis, the security and peace of this region, international alliances, and global peace are at stake. Therefore, it is crucial to approach this conflict with a comprehensive understanding of the geopolitical context, historical grievances, and the unique challenges inherent in the Israel-Palestine conflict to effectively mitigate cyber warfare while promoting stability and peace in the region. Therefore, by providing humanitarian aid, supporting economic development, strengthening governance structures, and advocating for peace, international cooperation and assistance can significantly reduce the Palestinian crisis, foster stability, and lay the groundwork for the war-torn homeless people’s peaceful and prosperous future.

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