It's all noise.
Actually, it’s not. But that’s what it’s become: all noise.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict on college campuses all across America has become a back-and-forth argument about the same topics.
How many more times are we going to base our discussion on one-line headlines? How simple are we going to make a conflict that is intrinsically so complicated? Are students going to continue walking down their college walks or opening up their school newspapers, hearing two sides debating with — screaming at — each other?
The conflict that we see today is a consequence of events that took place 100 years ago and every year since. Israel and the Palestinian territories have been shaped by these years, so the conflict is not going to be resolved tomorrow.
The fighting between Israel and Hamas this summer showcased this complexity. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a fight between two sides. There were always others involved. Egypt. Lebanon. Syria. Qatar. The United States.
This summer’s surge of fighting — called by some an unnecessary attack and by others Operation Protective Edge — showed the world that Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the citizens of Gaza are all separate “players” in this conflict. Israel’s most populated cities were under constant rocket attack. Three Israeli teens were captured and brutally killed . Even though Israel’s Iron Dome did an outstanding job of protecting its citizens, no country should take hundreds of rockets raining down on its people.
Yet, the story is obviously not so simple. How does a country deal with responding to rocket fire when the rockets are being thrown from densely populated areas? This summer, countless rockets were found in U.N.-run schools and hospitals in Gaza — which the U.N. condemned .
Israel’s ground invasion brought to light an even scarier realization: Hamas had been building tunnels that were meant to transport terrorists under the Gaza border and into Israel with the concrete that was given to Gaza as aid. They were built with the goal of causing terror in Israeli lives and killing Israeli citizens.
As I write this, however, I cannot help feeling an overwhelming amount of grief for the lives lost this summer. I witnessed an Israeli mother crying at her son’s funeral at a military cemetery in Jerusalem. Every Palestinian life lost troubled and saddened me. No one should live under a government that uses its citizens as human shields. Hamas is a terrorist organization.
Who is fighting whom? A democratic country versus a terrorist organization. Is “number of deaths” the only way to measure justice? Or should we instead look at how well a government protects its people? Let’s ask, why did the Hamas leadership tell the citizens of Gaza to ignore the pamphlets, phone calls and text messages sent by the Israel Defense Forces to Palestinian civilians before attacking rocket-launching sites ?
For those of you stuck in the middle of this dialogue, I urge you to do your own research.
Don’t take anything I say, or what anyone else says, as fact. Don’t simply believe hateful words with heavy connotations plastered on a wall. Don’t get carried away by social media campaigns meant to delegitimize a democratic country. The dialogue surrounding Israel and Palestine on our campus — and many other campuses — is broken.
The question I would like to pose is one that assumes Penn to be a place that promotes nuanced, intelligent discussion. We have the opportunity here at Penn to speak to one another as individuals using our different backgrounds to better understand the world.
Are we here to discuss whether a democratic country that was founded in 1948 has the right to defend itself? No.
Or, I ask, are we here to use the past as a base for how to approach a solution? We are here to try and understand the bigger picture of the Middle East and see how it affects the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and America’s role in finding a solution. Yes, I want to talk about how to zoom out and move forward. I want to change this broken dialogue because I am tired of living in the past, dissecting facts, relying on numbers and making noise.
Daniela Jinich is a College junior from La Jolla, Calif., studying chemistry. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.Comments powered by Disqus
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