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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Endless Bloodshed

I write this in part to the ongoing bloodshed between Israel and Hamas. I don't condone the killing of 4 teenagers (3 Israelis and 1 Palestinian), as I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families. One important note to put out there: 2 of the teens (1 of the Israelis and the sole Palestinian) were US Citizens, which in my mind makes it even more infuriating. A group of extremists from Gaza kidnapped the 3 Israelis and brutally murdered them, and the response by Israeli settlers in the West Bank was just as vile, where they abducted a Palestinian boy and lit him on fire upon arriving in a forest outside Jerusalem. It was only a matter of time before the Palestinian teenager would die from his burns, which covered 90% of his body.

Even though I understand the motivation of +Benjamin Netanyahu and the +Israel Defense Forces to end the terror caused by Hamas, collective punishment of the people of Gaza is not the way to do it. The fact is that the people of Gaza have nowhere to hide and most are not even affiliated with Hamas, or other extremist networks, such as the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade. Even so, Hamas must abandon the practice of using Gazans as human shields. So in this case, both sides are to blame. But most of the blame, in my eyes, falls on Israel. Here's why: for too long Israel has retained its illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, only pulling out of Gaza in 2005. Moreover, Israel continues to build settlements in areas Palestinians hope to use for a state. I understand that demographics will need to shape how final borders will look, but for there to be a final determination of such factors, there needs to be a permanent freeze on settlement construction. Not to mention, it violates the laws of war, which I believe I made clear in a previous post. In no way does Israel have the right to demand recognition and simultaneously demand the right to deny recognition to the Palestinians and to settle their land.

A number of Israeli policies are perpetuating this endless cycle of violence. So until the extreme zionists and ultra-orthdox lose their grip on Israeli society, this cycle will continue. The same goes for Wahabists and Salafis in the Palestinian territories, mostly the Wahabis. Once their grip loosens, as well as those who express extreme Arab nationalism, can moderates from the Palestinian side be able to move the process forward, as well as on the Israeli side.

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