This conflict seems to be never-ending.
I have many issues with the Zionist factions that seem to control the state of Israel ( ranging from occupation of Palestinian lands, mistreatment of immigrants, specifically African immigrants, and their “alliance” with the US). But, at the end of the day, I, along with the rest of the world, will eventually like to see peace in the region.
The latest violence has been undeniably detrimental to any prospects for peace. While Israel maintains that it is merely “defending itself from rockets from Gaza” with its airstrikes, the death toll does not hide the fact that this is a military offensive that will further escalate tension. It’s awful that Israeli children and citizens have to deal with constant threat from rockets, but it’s even worse that those in Gaza have to deal with seemingly indiscriminate bombings that have killed more civilians than Israeli targets. The latest ground incursions into Gaza by Israeli forces further proved that this is an unmatched fight.
There will always be distrust among Palestinians and Israelis since they know, that at the end of the day, each party’s goal is their own self-determination and preservation.
This conflict always brings me back to the film Munich in which there are several conversations that show how nuanced the situation really is. Also, these conversations show that ultimately, foreign intervention cannot force these people to live peacefully, but if there will be peace, both sides have to be willing to come to the table, concede some things, and recognize and respect each other’s humanity.
A few quotes from the movie that I think are important are:
"We had to take it, because no one would ever give it to us." -Avner’s mother when talking about building the state of Israel
While Israelis do deserve a state of their own, this quote accurately evokes the nature of how the state of Israel came to be. Upon reading both the Case for Israel and the Question of Palestine, as well as other literatures on the formation of Israel and destruction of Palestine, it is clear that Israel feels entitled to this land. While the entitlement can be considered warranted due to the Hebrews historic and religious ties to the land, the same can be said for Palestinians who also are tied to the land. I support self-determination 100%, but not if it comes at the expense of another people’s livelihoods.
"We kill for our future. We kill for peace."- Ephraim
This view can apply to both sides. I don’t believe that the more violent members of Hamas who seek to take back what they believe is theirs at all costs and the Israeli state honestly believe that the attacks and offensives will ultimately lead to peace for everyone, but I believe they believe that peace will come for their own people with the destruction of the Other.
“Eventually the Arab states will rise against Israel. They don’t like Palestine but they hate the Jews more…the rest of the will see what Israel does to us…We can wait forever…The world will see how they made us into animals. They’ll start to ask questions about the conditions in our cages…My father didn’t gas any Jews..It will take 100 years but we’ll win…How long did it take the Germans to make German?…Don’t know what it is not to have a home? That’s why you european reds don’t get it. You say it’s nothing but you have a home to come back to…we want to be nations.Home is everything.”
This quote is beautiful. Again, it applies to both sides. Home is everything. There is a reason why the Palestinians are fighting to the death, because they want the home that they once had. The Jews, also want to keep their home and that is understandable. But, at the end of the day, if a people cannot create their own home without turning others into “animals” with terrible “cage conditions” then the world should not support their struggle. Everyone deserves peace, everyone deserves a chance to live, and everyone deserves a home.
Now you might wonder why I, a Liberian-American care or what stake I have in this. Well, I consider myself a citizen of this world. I have been fortunate enough to not grow up to the sound of bombs or fear of rockets launched at me, but I have experienced the effects of the struggle for a “home.” In the US, I have seen what it is like for minorities who constantly try but fail to become apart of the white supremacist system. In Liberia, I understand the effects of this struggle when I learned about the Americo-Liberians who returned to Africa (Liberia) to create a home after the end of slavery, just to oppress the indigenous people already living there. This oppression ultimately led to the civil war in the country that they are still struggling to bounce back from. I experienced the affects of the struggle for home when I lived in Italy, and met many immigrants who just wanted to be apart of the Italian society and the Italians who did not except them. In addition, I care because there are human lives involved. Besides the discussions about territory, people on both sides of the “borders” and even within borders of Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank cannot move freely on the land they consider their home. People are dying in this situation.
I’m not saying that I have all or even any answers to this conflict, and quite frankly I don’t believe that it is my place (or anyone in the West for that matter). But, when people on both sides start ignoring each other’s humanity (for example, gathering and cheering when Israeli airstrikes his Gaza sites, or even indiscriminately launching rockets to cause fear), I and the rest of the world cannot sit silent and blindly continue to support a side.