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Israel-Hamas war should not punish innocent civilians in Gaza
The world is a tense place right now, to say the least, the Israeli Palestinian conflict is on all of our minds. And I wish I could say that our shared devastation was uniting us. But that’s decidedly not the case. It is especially apparent to me — to me, at least on social media or were — those who say nothing are attacked for their silence. Those who voiced support for Israel are decried as Islamophobic. And those who expressed support for the Palestinians are slammed as anti Israel anti semitic.
So we all know by now that on October 7, Israel experience the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, and anti semitic attacks are at record highs all around the world. In Gaza, as of this recording, over 12,000 people have died, most of them civilians, and around half of them children. Babies are dying in hospitals without fuel or water. So there is understandably so much anger, and so much fear. And when it feels like there’s nothing tangible you can do to help those who are suffering. It’s easy to lash out at someone expressing a view that is different from your own, especially given that social media lends itself to bite sized points as opposed to nuanced perspectives.
The thing is, I would suggest that when it comes down to it, most of us do agree on this one fundamental thing. We do not want civilians, any civilians, and certainly not the elderly, disabled children being killed. We want these horrors to stop. Netanyahu might not want a ceasefire, but I would venture that most thinking feeling human beings do.
So here’s the problem. To my mind. So many of us seem to be conflating each region’s leadership with its citizenry. Netanyahu doesn’t speak for many or even most Israelis. Before the attacks, there were weeks of protests in the streets by those who want him out of power. Israelis are furious with their leadership’s failures to protect them furious at the funding. Yes, the funding that has been siphoned to Hamas in the past. And on the flip side, it is true that Hamas was elected by the Palestinian people. But that was back in 2006. There hasn’t been an election since. And during that time, Hamas was positioning itself as a party of resistance to peace talks with Israel, but also as a largely moderate centrist operation, certainly not as the terrorist faction that it is today.
Punishing the Palestinian people for war crimes committed by a group that was elected 17 years ago. And by the way, Palestinian people don’t even largely believe that they have even the right to peaceful political protests. It just simply doesn’t make sense. Vast numbers of Palestinian people want a peaceful resolution and want Hamas out of power. Let’s add on to that the fact that over half of the citizens of Gaza are children who weren’t even born when Hamas came into power.
This is intolerable. It is intolerable for Israelis to have to live in fear of a terrorist organization that will stop at nothing to exterminate them. It is intolerable for Gazam children to live in what’s called an open air prison and to go to sleep, wondering whether they’ll be alive in the morning, knowing that there is a serious chance that they won’t. So, as we have these incredibly complex conversations about unthinkably devastating events, let’s please remember, it is the power hungry men in charge that are creating this devastation, not the citizens and certainly not the children.
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