The Eternal Israel-Palestine Stand Off Continues
It's a never-ending cycle of violence and blame. It must stop somewhere.
I'm getting old. Well, 47 years old. To some, that may not seem old. But, there are days when, to me, it feels darn old.
For as long as I can remember, the Israeli-Palestinian issue has simmered, every once in a while exploding into an orgy of violence before it settles down again. Although the players may have changed over the past 70 years, for the most part, absolutely nothing else seems to actually change in the dispute. It just keeps going and going, a never ending cycle of tense peace and explosive war. Over and over and over....and then over again.
Why does it have to be this way? It makes no sense to keep going.
Online, the absolute most intense, most polarized arguments I see are pretty much anything to do with Israel-Palestine. It has people across the world going at each other with venomous spite. This is a conflict that gets more attention than probably any other on the planet.
And the same talking points have dominated for as long as I can remember. The current analysis breaks down into "But Hamas!", "But settlements!", "Apartheid State!", "Genocide!", "Right to defend ourselves!", "From the River to the Sea!", etc. etc. Each side ignores the concerns of the other, despite how blatant the concerns are. The concerns of both sides need to be heard and addressed. But, there seems to be little interest in doing this.
Heck, Gal Gadot, known as a Jewish-Israeli actress who played Wonder Woman, took a moderate approach and got ripped apart online for it. I mean, we need MORE people to say stuff like this, and not less:
Social media becomes a flaming pit of hatred and polarized outrage every time the situation with Israel-Palestine heats up.
At some point, someone, somewhere has to take control of this situation and say, "We are sick of this! We want off of this roller coaster!" Unfortunately, that person hasn't shown up to take charge yet. Although moderate voices most definitely exist, they don't seem to be able to get into power in the region to make real change. Why? Why is the region dominated by such extreme views, and even at times outright extremists? Why can't this issue be resolved once and for all? Why are there those who want to keep the cycle going? Who the heck wants to live like that?
As I write this, Israel and Gaza are in another tit-for-tat battle. I don't know if I should be happy or appalled that this essay will still be relevant next year, and the year after that. I can just keep pulling it up every time there is a flare up, and it will still apply. I don't have to rewrite anything, because it will be exactly the same.
Israel will do something stupid like attack the Al Asqa mosque while Muslims worship inside. Or they will evict a Palestinian family from their home. Or they will kill a kid. Then Hamas will do something stupid, like fire rockets indiscriminately into Israel, claiming self defense. How that can be considered self defense I'm not sure. All it does is force Israel to react. Israel obviously can't allow missiles to be shot into it. So, they take action. Palestinians die. Then the world looks at Israel and sees a terrible entity that kills children. Sigh. Israel can't win. And Palestinians end up dying. So, basically, no one actually wins. Hamas rockets aren't defence...they are suicide!
Both sides in the conflict have gotten very good at propaganda over the years. Well, maybe very good is the wrong way to phrase it. They rely heavily on their propaganda which never actually changes. Same script every single time. So predictable. Israel blames Hamas and shows pictures of Hamas fighters firing from dense urban areas. They show Israelis huddled in bomb shelters. Then, Hamas fills social media with pictures of dead children (often pictures that can't be verified). Both sides accuse the other of lying. Both insist that they are the victims. Both call on the international community for support. Both dehumanize the other side. Both will only acknowledge the suffering they are experiencing and won't discuss the suffering of those who are on the the other side. It's so predictable that it's almost comical. You would think at some point someone would change up the script. But, I guess both sides know what works. They know what will get attention for their cause. They know what buttons need to be pushed to get an emotional reaction from people. They know what their supporters want to see.
Additionally, this is all a distraction. While these flare ups occur, they really suck people in. News is dominated by the conflict. So much energy is put out online into fighting against each other over when, exactly, this conflict started and how. They fight over whether Israel should even exist. They fight over what borders Israel should adhere to. They fight over whether or not Israel is being genocidal. They fight over the role Hamas plays in all of this. They fight over...everything. Everything that can be fought about when it comes to Israel and Palestine, people will fight about.
Meanwhile, a war is raging in Yemen and has been called the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet. While people scream about how Israel kills children, kids in Yemen are displaced and either dying or at risk of death from famine. The conditions for millions in the country is far more dire than those faced by anyone in Palestine. Yet, there is not even close to the level of outrage caused by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, there are people deeply invested in the Palestinian cause who most likely don't even know there is a war in Yemen. Funny that.
Here is the deal. Israel exists. This may make people angry. They might want it gone. But it exists and it isn't going anywhere. Likewise, Palestinians exist. They aren't going anywhere. They deserve a state. They deserve peace, security and freedom. This is a conflict that has gone on WAY longer than it should and needs to be resolved. Extreme polarization is just going to keep it going. As long as there are voices on both sides who have no interest in listening to what the other is saying, there will be no end. Time to stop the bickering. Time to stop the tit-for-tat. Time to make peace.