A Hypocritical Conflict

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has never been at a standstill. When there aren’t direct acts of violence coming from both parties, political tension is still high, between the two and in the international community.

After the recent cease-fire and the strikes in Gaza, the death toll for Palestinians were said to be 166 and six for Israelis. The majority of these deaths from both sides were civilians. Among them was the 11-month-old son of BBC Arabic reporter Jihad Misharawi. The picture of the journalist holding the body of his now-dead son was plastered across the front pages of newspapers. The upsetting truth is that this baby represents the many young children in both Israel and Palestine that have lost their lives in a fight that they had nothing to do with.

The world is compassionate towards those who met their fate during the Holocaust. It amazes me that a country that was founded as a direct result of a state-sponsored genocide would go on to commit similar injustices on a group of people on the basis of their nationality. People were evicted from their homes shortly after Israel was declared a nation and have not been permitted to return, and the land that has been allocated to them continues to be downsized with increasing Israeli expansion. And we, as an international community, fail to address the hypocrisy. The fact that the value of a human life is subject to that person’s ethnicity and religious affiliations changes is abominable.

Palestine, according to UN legislation, should have been granted statehood in 2008. Israel was supposed to have stopped expansion into West Bank. Both the Israeli military forces and Hamas were to stop endangering civilians. None of the above has happened. So-called negotiations between the two have proven ineffective, as both sides continue to come up short and fail to realize that some of their “goals” are unrealistic.

Palestinian authorities need to come to terms with the fact that Israel isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Whether they like it or not, Israel was granted statehood, and the sooner they accept that, the sooner they can move forward and channel their efforts into legitimate negotiations with Israel.

The same applies for the Israelis; the Palestinians aren’t going to leave their homeland anytime soon, and expansion into the territories that have been reserved for the Palestinians (under the same piece of legislation that created Israel) is unethical, as is instating checkpoints, which infringe on both transportation and the ability of emergency response vehicles to get to where they need to be in a timely manner. Israeli officials need to come to terms with the fact that nationhood for Palestine is necessary for both parties to start effectively working toward peaceful relations and dramatically reduce the civilian death toll from both sides. Civilians have never been and will never be the source of conflict; it is unjust and immoral to bring those who aren’t in the military into the crossfire. The killing of an innocent bystander isn’t going to bring about any sympathy toward your cause.

The strikes in Gaza are going to be a repeated occurrence if the political leaders of both nations don’t wake up and see that being unrealistic about the situation isn’t going to fly.

Nashra Anwer is a first-year political science major. She can be reached at nanwer@uci.edu