Google Play's 'Bomb Gaza' Game Is Exactly What It Sounds Like, Ugh
So, here's where art should never have imitated life. Several offensive Israel- and Hamas-related games have been available on the Android Google Play app store — as the war raged on in real life — before Google finally removed them Monday. The games included Bomb Gaza , Whack the Hamas , and Gaza Assault: Code Red. In light of the very real violence going on in Gaza, it's baffling that anyone would want to use it as a basis for a game.
Oh, and it gets worse: Several other Gaza-related apps, which clearly take sides in the conflict and violate Google Play's policies, have slipped under Android's radar — all while a war was happening. Judging by Android's checklist for developers, the creator is responsible for making sure the app meets all policy standards and regulations before publishing, and it will only be removed if — as Bomb Gaza was — it gets flagged for Google's review.
Israel and Hamas may finally be reaching a stage of lasting peace after a 72-hour cease-fire was initiated Tuesday, and Israel began withdrawing its troops from Gaza. The Israeli Defense Forces tweeted, "Mission accomplished: We have destroyed Hamas' tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel. All of Israel is now safer." The latest cease-fire and "mission accomplished" come after nearly a month of deadly attacks that have claimed 1,834 Palestinians and 64 Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians.
And in the middle of the conflict, Google Play was featuring video games that mocked the violence. Like these...
BombGaza, which debuted in Google Play on July 26, was created by development company PLAYFTW, which also features a piano game and a space invaders game in the app store. This particular game, however, isn't so harmless. It allows players to control an aircraft emblazoned with the Israeli flag and drop missiles on Hamas militants, while trying to avoid hitting Palestinian women and children.
Seriously. The cartoonish setting and characters turn a very serious and current war into a caricature.
Gaza Assault: Code Red
According to the game's description on App Annie, "Gaza Assault: Code Red brings you to the forefront of the middle-east conflict, in correlation to ongoing real world events." Like BombGaza, players control Israeli equipment and weapons to launch attacks on Gaza. How anybody can play this game while real attacks are being launched at the same time is well beyond me.
Whack the Hamas
The name should say it all, but then the game says even more. According to the description on App Annie, the game calls Hamas militants "Hamasites" and the premise is similar to Whac-A-Mole, as players are tasked with whacking the "Hamasites" as they pop out of their underground tunnels.
The game's creators posted on Facebook that Google had removed their game, along with the most absurd, feeble justification ever.
First of all: our app contains no speech! How can it contain Hate Speech? it is just a 'Whack-a-mole' with terrorists instead of moles!... Our app doesn't advocate for any type of violence.... It [sic] only for fun and relaxation, for the people who are being killed every day by a terrorist group!
Speaking of Google's "no hate speech" policy, Al-Qassam HAMAS clearly violates it but is still available in the app store. The app includes blatant anti-Israel images and comments include, "I am from Pakistan. I want to say we Pakistanies are fully supporting our muslim brothers in Gaza. Our prayers are for you. Death to israel..."
Gaza Under Attack
Similarly, Gaza Under Attack also sides with Palestine and was created to "show the world the extent of savagery and arrogance of the occupation that does not stop the attacks on the Palestinian people." It is also available for download.
One available app that seems to be championing for peace instead of taking sides is Gaza Hero. The game allows users to turn Israeli troops into food, water, and medicine for Palestinians. The game's official description states:
Curse Israel for genocide doesn't make palestinian better.... This is not just religion problem, this is humanity problem.... Every revenue from this game will be donate to gaza.