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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Editorial: The reality of Israel is more complex than many realize

Tuesday afternoon, Israeli officials deployed soldiers and military checkpoints around its cities in a preventative measure aimed at reducing the number of attacks — mostly stabbings — that have ravaged Israeli civilians in the last few weeks. According to the Red Crescent, 30 Palestinians have been killed and 4,200 wounded in the violence of the last few weeks. In contrast, seven Israelis have been killed and 99 wounded, according to the Red Cross.

Now, having read those numbers, immediately stop yourself before you make a snap judgment. Stop to consider the historical precedents and reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict. This current wave of violence, which may or may not shape up to be a third Intifada, began when rumors spread that Israel was intending on opening up the Temple Mount, a particularly holy site for Muslims in Jerusalem, to non-Jews. Despite this being untrue, Palestinian and Islamic clerics responded by calling for the murder of Jews en masse. Unlike previous waves of terrorism, which have been primarily driven by formally organized groups dedicated to destroying Israel and establishing a Palestinian state, these attacks appear to be the actions of individuals operating independently of any organization.

The random nature of these stabbings has understandably left many Jews — both in Israel and abroad — fearful for the ever-chaotic future of the state. These events have emboldened both Zionists and advocates for Palestinian sovereignty, with both sides ramping up their rhetoric to deafening levels.

Before we make our views known, we’d like to take a paragraph to address several major U.S. media outlets. It’s particularly interesting prominent reporting on these attacks — which have been occurring for several weeks now — didn’t begin in earnest until the Israeli military stepped up its presence yesterday. As always, way to keep it classy.

With that said, the reality of the situation is far more complex than the existing reporting — and certainly social media posts — would have one believe. It is shameful when it comes to discussing this conflict, otherwise intelligent individuals are all too quick to abandon concepts of nuance or depth.

It is undeniable both sides have wronged one another to an upsetting degree: this is an undisputable fact. It is also true this conflict cannot be understood solely within the context of Israel’s history, but rather by the history of the land itself and the Jewish people alike. To reduce it solely to Israel is to do both peoples and those who have died in the conflict a disservice.

As far as we see it, given the historical precedence and discrimination that stretches far beyond the Holocaust, Jews have every right to claim a home in the Middle East; at the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party have done more to discriminate, degrade and undermine Palestinians than any other leaders in the nation’s history.

Conversely, Palestinians have undoubtedly had tremendous and unnecessary wrongs committed against them and have every right to desire that their grievances be redressed. With that said, ditching civil progress in favor of murdering and terrorizing Israel’s Jewish civilian population is deplorable, horrifying and is in no way justifiable, nor should it garner sympathy.

As much as we stand behind our above assertions, even these paragraphs fail to do justice to the profound complexities of the situation but at least we will be the first to acknowledge it. Do not let this tragic conflict, as well as the lives it has taken, be reduced to news sound bites and terse social media posts.

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