Israel – Palestine Conflict – My Thoughts

My international experience and language study has taught me that to really understand an issue, you must have lived there and speak the language. International news in every country is skewed through the lends of that language and culture. This distortion has become magnitudes worse over the past few decades as news has become entertainment and openly allied to political parties whereas there was at least a veneer of impartiality before.

I’m going to break my own rule and just put down my thoughts. Unlike most of the internet this post has no agenda, it is for my own benefit to look back on in the future as well as for my own descendants should they care what their ancestor thought about this.

I would first say that I remain severely disappointed in the fact that ancient animosities persist to our modern times where we’re much more educated than before. Unfortunately with the easy access to information through the internet people are overwhelmed and need to lean into whatever corner of the internet aligns with their current beliefs. The internet was supposed to open people to new ideas, but instead it simply hardens what they already believe.

I decided to write this post after reading an article in today’s New York Times entitled “How Counterprotesters at U.C.L.A. Provoked Violence Unchecked for Hours.” I was pretty sure it would take a side and I was right. The article calls the protesting students “Pro-Palestinian,” but does not use the word “Pro-Jewish” for the attackers. Pro-Palestinian is used numerous times, as is “counterprotestor” with only one line referencing that the counterprotestors may be pro-Israel.

“The videos show many of the counterprotestors were wearing pro-Israel slogans on their clothing.”

This is like referring to Michigan supporters at an Ohio State football game as “the other team, many of which were seen wearing a yellow M.” I had suspected the New York Times was partial to Israel but I was still very surprised to see it so blatantly in an article.

This made me wonder which institutions support the Palestinians? On the Jewish side there are numerous examples: the US Govt, Hollywood, much of American media and so on. I can only think of two that give any support to Palestine: college students and Bernie Sanders. I assume this is simply due to the usual suspect, money. Israel has it and Palestine does not.

Students call out injustice and Israel certainly has been unjust to Palestine. Gaza is an outdoor prison. But then again, what choice does Israel have when every neighbor wants it to disappear? Bernie is right in that the media should focus less on student protests and perhaps broadcast images of all the dead and starving people in Gaza. This is a complex issue that has been around since religion was invented.

Just like anywhere else in the world, people pick a side, and while the reasons vary it is usually due to historical and cultural aspects. Here in the USA is no different but it isn’t much different than picking a sports team. You support your side and never try to comprehend the view from the other side. It isn’t more complex than that.

As for me, without having first hand experience I look for first hand experiences of others on both sides to form an opinion. Here are the things I’ve paid attention to on both sides.

Israel lives in a tough neighborhood with every neighborhood wanting it washed into the sea. Furthermore, given the genocide in WWII (as well as anti-Semitism throughout history in Europe) they are right to be ever vigilant and aggressive. However, in this they have turned into the oppressors themselves with their treatment of Gaza. Hard to deal with a group that calls for your extinction. I blame Arafat for squandering a once in a generation chance at peace during the Camp David Accords but admit I do not know his point of view very well.

As for Netanyahu, it stinks to high heaven that he is a criminal and so a big part of his response is to keep him from facing the consequences. Nothing like a good war to drum up patriotic support where people will momentarily ignore the corruption and give him a blank check. The response is “over the top” as Biden put it and Israel is turning the world against it. Israel has a right to exist, but it does not have the right to kill 30,000 people that they’ve kept in the outdoor prison called Gaza. It does not have the right to starve an entire population, especially women and children whose only crime is being from the same tribe as Hamas. The group that experienced genocide now practices it on others.

Again, I’m very disappointed that humans have not evolved much in the past 2000 years. In this modern era where education is abundant, we’re still stuck to ancient religion and tribes. We have the internet, air travel, and it has never been easier for groups to mix. But we stick to our own for the most part, manipulated by elites who magnify divisions and stir hatred for personal gain.

In trying to understand further, I think about an old classmate in Japan from Lebanon who is a Maronite Christian. She is part of the wealthy class and it seemed to me she didn’t like Israel very much. She explained that “they believe they are the chosen people,” and so are the ones doing the discriminating. That certainly seemed to be the case seeing ultra-orthodox Jews being violent in taking over Palestinian homes. Israel points to the fact that Muslim countries do not want them to exist, but the same is also true in that Israel does not want Palestine to exist. They consistently used those Ultra-Orthodox “settlers” to push Palestinians out and now Netanyahu sees a chance to take over a large portion of the land called Gaza.

One would think that neighboring Muslim countries would help out the Palestinians based on shared religion. It is obvious they don’t want to do so. Apparently, when you let the Palestinians in they will cause trouble and create problems for any government. Therefore, we see many huge walls, with kill zones between them between Gaza and Egypt.

Another thought is trying to understand what the American viewpoint is outside of the universities. How do Christians, the third religion in the same family feel about the conflict? Being a former Catholic I was never taught much other than Muslims and Jews are both wrong. I remember after 9-11 the sentiment was strongly against Muslims. But now with the rise of Christian Nationalism and seeing marches of white men carrying torches and repeating “Jews, will not replace us,” as well as the massacres that occurred in American Jewish temples, it shows that anti-Semitism has always been there and is getting stronger.

I didn’t give this much thought before, because any criticism of Israel always brought accusations of being “anti-semitic.” It was like the boy who cried wolf. Now I’m trying to understand those undercurrents and if they’ve always been there here in the USA as some say?

When I learned the word “pogrom” I realized that Jews have been persecuted everywhere throughout history, but I did not know why. I Googled the question and found a priest who gently said the answer may be usury. The Jews stuck to themselves, were excellent merchants, grew wealthy and lent money at exorbitant rates to those outside the faith and very small rates to other Jews. This created hate and anger. I just asked AI and their wealth seems to be the main reason with others as side notes.

I do not have a tidy way to wrap up this post so will end with this. Israel needs to wrap this up as the continuation is turning the world against it. Trump has said this and so has Biden. As an American, if Israel is going to ignore the will of the United States then, how about the United States stop giving it money? The USA cannot do so because it is true there are very powerful Jewish influences that put tremendous amounts of pressure on our leadership. The Palestinians have no influence except for a smaller portion of citizens, the students and Bernie Sanders. Money is the engine that drives America and Israel uses that leverage. Israel must continue to do this however, because their entire existence is precarious. However, as Americans we do not have to be OK with our tax dollars going towards an outright genocide, thus I applaud the students for speaking there mind, where others cannot for fear of that Israeli influence here. Any criticism of Israel and expect to lose your job, especially if you’re a politician.

And so here we are. I’m grasping for a nice, neat solution to propose where there is none. I’m grasping for a side to be on but find massive fault with both sides. However, Israel has the might and is practicing genocide. This has put a tremendous stain on them that will last for generations and just may backfire incredibly over those generations. As for Palestine, perhaps they shouldn’t have elected Hamas (if that election was even fair), and perhaps they should stop calling for Israel’s destruction? Hard for them to do when living in an outdoor prison. But then what is Israel to do? How do you improve relations with those that hate you? But from what I see in the news, the hate is mutual.

Again, grasping at points to try and place blame more so on one than the other. It is not possible, but Israel must end this war and do something ‘good’ when it comes to Palestinians for all the world to see. Otherwise, I think they’re greatly hurting themselves and do not realize it. A good first step would be to get rid of Netanyahu.

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/