Over 700 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the last fortnight and people on the news and on Social Media sites are roaring at you to take a side.
The social media awareness about this conflict has been at an all time high and I felt like my knowledge on this subject wasn’t as complete as I wanted it to be – so I fixed that.
Here’s the information I’ve come across in my attempt to make sense of this situation. I’ve found it useful regardless of the complexity of the decades-long conflict and thought others might find it useful as well.
Death Toll (numbers OBVIOUSLY subject to change)
Palestine: Death Toll: 7,590 since 2000
Israel: Death Toll: 1,134 since 2000
Palestine: Palestine declared independence in 1988 and received an Observer status in the UN in 2012 but Palestinians were pushed out of their homes decades ago.
Israel: Israel was formed in 1948 after the Zionist Movement and WWII and UN intervention. Israel has had decades of fighting with its neighbors.
Palestine: Palestine has Hamas – a pseudo militant, maybe terrorist group.
Hamas is known as a terrorist group by the US, Japan, and various European countries, but other countries, such as Russia, China, and Syria, claim it’s simply a militant group
Palestine has a government, and some of the members of its parliament belong to Hamas, but Hamas is not the government of Palestine.
Israel: Has Mossad – the national intelligence agency of Israel.
Why people are fundamentally unhappy
Israel: Israelis are mad because for years Palestinian supporters (like Iran and Pakistan and basically most Muslim countries) have denied Israel’s right to exist.
Former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claimed that the Holocaust didn’t even happen. Weirdo.
Palestine: Palestinians are mad because their people are dying, and Israelis are happy that people in Palestine and its territories, such as Gaza, are dying. Happy.
A Prominent Israeli said that the mothers of all Palestinians must be killed and Israelis have been photographed and filmed cheering as bombs fell on Gaza.
Palestine: Palestinian refugees want to return to their home safely. There are approximately 7 million of them.
Israel fears that if they let all of the Palestinian refugees back there will be more Palestinians than Israelis and that one-day Palestine will rise and dominate the country through numbers.
Israel: Israelis believe that they have finally returned to their home – the Promised Land, their birthright. They’re not giving it back.
Palestine: Hamas (see above) has been, largely unsuccessfully, launching rockets and missiles at Israel. For the first time ever, Hamas recently used a drone. Palestinians get a minor bomb from Israel as a warning for an incoming larger bomb.
Palestine has territories known as the West Bank and the Gaza strip. The Gaza strip is surrounded on all sides (by either soldiers or water), and its occupants have nowhere to go in terms of evacuation before bombings.
Israel: The Israeli Government retaliates against Hamas with much more successful bombs. They also recently started a ground invasion of Gaza.
Israelis have an app to warn its citizens when bombs are coming in the area.
The Israeli government claims that it always gives warnings (however short) to the people living in the West Bank and various Palestinian territories. They claim it’s not their fault if Hamas uses civilians as shields. They still bomb into heavily civilian populated areas; people in these areas have nowhere to go.
Secretary of State John Kerry is currently in Israel to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister, the Palestinian Prime Minister, and the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon to try and figure something out. While peace talks have never found a long-term solution for this long term problem such a great meeting of minds is bound to lend fruition. Hopefully.
What I can tell now is that this is a crazy controversial situation. Birthright versus Birthright – that’s complicated. As an American sitting in my room watching TV and eating candy I really can’t fully understand the complexity of this situation – and my mom says I can’t go to Palestine or Israel (good call mom).
All I know is that people are dying, more on one side than the other, but people are still dying.
But really, how does me choosing a side on this help anyone anyway?