One of the most striking issues we’re seeing in world news today is the gruesome updates about the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Rockets and missiles have been fired from both ends, resulting in a growing number of casualties.
The origins are deep-rooted and go back thousands of years, but recent tensions have brought this conflict to global attention. Living on the other side of the world makes it easy to be detached from the war, but as the heat intensifies, it’s essential to stay informed about what’s truly going on behind the scenes.
Many headlines in recent articles about the conflict demonize the Hamas terrorist organization as the ringleader of the tension and portray Israel as a country with the right to defend itself. However, there’s a lot more to the conflict that the mainstream media is failing to sensationalize.
Origins of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict
Israel and Palestine tensions date back to the 20th century. A European group known as Zionists, an extremist minority of the Jewish population, were determined to create a Jewish homeland. They decided to colonize Palestine.
The Zionist movement looked to create a wholly Jewish state and immigration to Palestine skyrocketed. The indigenous population eventually realized the possession of its land was in jeopardy and began to retaliate.
In 1947, the United Nations decided to intervene, devising a partition plan. Due to Zionist pressure, the UN suggested awarding 55 percent of Palestine to the Jewish colonists despite the fact that Jews only accounted for about 30% of the total population.
Then came the first bloody war of 1947-1949. After Zionist forces had committed 16 massacres, including the massacre at Deir Yassin which took the lives of over 100 men, women and children, Arab armies decided to fight back.
By 1949, Israel had conquered 78 percent of Palestine. Over 500 towns and villages had been destroyed and a new map was drawn up in which a new Hebrew name was given to every city and river.
The remaining 22 percent was conquered by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War. Essentially, Zionism is a fundamentally racist movement that seeks to colonize the Palestinian land until it is Jewish territory.
Today, the deep-rooted Israeli Palestinian conflict persists.
The tensions between Israel and Palestine have been stirring up to a climax. Palestinians are living with minimal control over their lives, specifically in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Gaza Strip was seized by Hamas in June of 2007 and has since become known as a terriorist organization by Western and nonwestern countries.
The conflict between the two countries has existed for years, but recently, Israel has increasingly exerted military power in its endeavor to continue colonizing Palestine. Over 10,000 Palestinian citizens, children included, are being held in Israeli prisons without legitimate trials. Worse are the conditions that they are thrown into — torture and physical abuse are common.
Even the borders between the countries that are internal to Palestine are being controlled by Israeli forces. Palestinian men, women and children are strip searched and beaten. Women in labor are prevented from receiving the hospitality needed to keep them alive during childbirth, and food and medicine are often blocked from entering Gaza.
What most people living outside of Palestine rarely understand is that the Palestinians are essentially living in an Israeli prison. The Israeli border guards prevent Palestinians from leaving Gaza or the West Bank without permission. Then, if they are allowed out, they aren’t allowed back to return to their homes and families without permission from an Israeli guard. This permission is frequently denied and families are being torn apart.
On June 12, three Israeli teenagers were abducted in the West Bank, sparking a huge controversy upon the discovery of their deceased bodies. Israel blamed Hamas for the abductions and within days arrested more than 300 Palestinians.
However, recent evidence has shown that the Israeli government may have had something to do with, or at least known more information about the instance than it led on. There are recordings of a distress call in which kidnappers order the imprisoned boys to put their heads down. However, it is clear in the recordings that these instructions were given in Hebrew.
Apparently, this audio was held under a gag order by the Israeli government. It had this evidence before the attack on Gaza, but chose to keep it from the public. Further evidence shows that Israel had knowledge of who the alleged perpetrators were and may even know where the bodies were being kept. Many skeptics assert that this was withheld by the Israeli government in order to use the kidnapping as an excuse to invade the Gaza Strip and open fire.
Following the event of the kidnappings of the Israeli boys, on July 2, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was kidnapped and burned to death in an alleged revenge attack by extremist Jews. The conflict has since turned to the constant exchange of rockets, missiles and airstrikes.
This violent exchange between Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has now killed over 600 Palestinians, including almost 100 children, and has left more than 1,300 injured. Additionally, around 500 homes have been destroyed and 100,000 people have been displaced.
Government vs People
The golden question: Is the Israeli government really invading the Gaza strip and using military force solely to defend itself from rocket launches, or are there ulterior motives?
Here’s something you may not know about Gaza — it is rich in natural gas on the coastline. There’s an estimated 1 trillion cubic feet of gas belonging to the Palestinian people. This could simply provide more incentive for the Israeli government to invade.
Further, to put the actions of Israel into perspective, it is also a fact that Israel has violated more UN resolutions than any other country, including Iraq under the rule of Hussein. The bombing of heavily residential areas is a war crime, and sadly enough, the United States is funding it. Israel receives over $3 billion in foreign aid annually from the US. In comparison to that $3 billion, the US is prospected to give $47 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza.
Although this conflict is indeed outside of the United States, as a US citizen, what do you want your tax money to be going toward? The US media is quick to defend what Israel is doing and portray them as worthy victims while Palestinian victims aren’t typically given the same amount of support.
Something has to give. The people of Palestine, specifically of the Gaza Strip, need reassurance that they will be allowed peace from violence and oppression, and given back control over their lives. The people of Israel need guaranteed security from rocket attacks and terrorism as well. The long-term solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict isn’t black and white yet. The public needs to be informed of all aspects of the current war in order to develop educated, unbiased opinions on what is necessary to bring justice.