Names marked with an asterisk* have been modified to guard identities.
When Russia launched a full-scale conflict on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Amer Aroggi, a 30-year-old journalist based mostly within the Gaza Strip, felt compelled to report on the European battle.
Having lived via the Israeli occupation, he felt he might relate to the plight of the Ukrainians.
The transfer was seamless, particularly as a result of his older brother had lived in Ukraine for a few years. Aroggi rapidly secured a brand new function for himself as a correspondent for a outstanding information channel.
Lower than two years later, conflict broke out once more in his homeland with the most recent escalation of the Israel-Palestine battle.
To some observers, there have been parallels between Russia and Israel and Ukraine and the Palestinians.
However in a swift and unequivocal response to the outbreak of the conflict in Gaza, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy threw his assist behind Israel, like a lot of the Ukrainian inhabitants, and nearly all Western leaders.
“I noticed a double normal. … The world helped the Ukrainians, and nobody helped us. Nobody even helped me evacuate my mom and sister out of Gaza,” Aroggi advised Al Jazeera.
Ukrainians had been the “victims of large propaganda” through the first levels of the conflict, which is why they usually supported Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, in line with Aroggi.
He stated he wish to go away however is unable to as a result of he has a Palestinian passport.
He spends his days glued to the TV, fearing for his household in Gaza.
“My mom asks me, ‘Are you OK? Is there a Russian bombing?’ I say to her, ‘Are you OK? Is there an Israeli bombing?’”
The newest escalation of the Israel-Palestine battle started on October 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing 1,139 individuals and triggering a violent response.
At this level within the conflict, not less than 24,762 Palestinians had been reported killed by Israeli forces in Gaza. Whereas Israel has stated it goals to wipe out Hamas, which governs the besieged enclave, the toll on civilians and its conduct have been closely criticised.
Ukrainian first woman Olena Zelenska stated on October 7 that Ukrainians perceive and “share the ache” of the Israeli individuals as billboards throughout Kyiv lit up the capital with Israeli flags.
Zelenskyy talks by cellphone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 8, 2023 [Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters]
Hashem*, a medical skilled from Gaza who relocated to Ukraine 9 years in the past, remained resolute in his allegiance to his adopted dwelling when Russia invaded Ukraine.
But the Ukrainian response to Israel’s offensive in Gaza left him grappling with conflicting feelings within the preliminary months of the conflict, notably since “Ukraine suffers from occupation like Palestine”, he stated.
The prevailing narrative within the nationwide media favours Israel and influences public sentiment, he stated.
Hashem additionally suffered personally. He stated he obtained threats and discriminatory messages stuffed with hate from people who realized he was from Gaza however residing in Ukraine. Even so, he plans to remain in Ukraine.
A shift in opinion?
Now greater than three months into the Center East conflict, Hashem and Aroggi stated they’ve witnessed some adjustments in public opinion.
The fixed stream of photographs of dying and destruction in Gaza has had an affect, main some Ukrainians to start out brazenly criticising their authorities’s place.
In November, greater than 300 Ukrainian students, activists and artists expressed their solidarity with Palestinians in an open letter.
The letter emphasised the suitable of Palestinians to self-determination and resistance in opposition to Israel’s occupation, drawing parallels to Ukrainians resisting the Russian invasion.
Hashem stated some Ukrainians got here to view the “Israeli narrative” as each “false and unfair” and he “started to really feel ethical assist” for himself and the Palestinian individuals.
Mounting stress from pro-Palestinian segments of society ultimately pressured a gradual shift within the Ukrainian authorities’s place, he believes.
He pointed to Ukraine’s backing of a UN decision on November 12, urging the Worldwide Court docket of Justice (ICJ) to offer an opinion on the authorized penalties of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Nevertheless, Ukraine selected to abstain from voting on a current decision advocating for a humanitarian ceasefire in war-torn Gaza.
Yuliia Kishchuk, a researcher who signed the open letter, advised Al Jazeera that Israel enjoys vital assist from Ukrainian political liberals who view Israel as a democratic and progressive nation.
“Israel is portrayed in Ukrainian media as this very democratic state that’s defending itself in opposition to the autocracy of different Center Japanese international locations,” she stated, including that crucially “there isn’t any Palestine on this narrative.”
Kishchuk stated the extent of data about Palestine, its historical past and the continued Israeli occupation has begun to extend.
Main Ukrainian opinion makers and intellectuals specialising within the Center East have gained traction within the media, offering context about Ukraine’s historic assist of Palestine. Kyiv had beforehand constantly backed UN resolutions denouncing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
In the meantime, photographs depicting the “horrors” of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza have created a way of empathy amongst Ukrainians who now are unable to disregard the parallels with their very own experiences of conflict, she stated.
Kishchuk has additionally been buoyed by a change of tone amongst authorities officers in current months.
In December, in one thing of a shift, Zelenskyy stated Ukraine recognises the independence of each the Israeli and Palestinian individuals.