John Chekal | Staff Writer
Over the weekend, Hamas invaded Israeli territory on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, and Israel responded by declaring war.
The Associated Press reports that more than 2,200 have died on both sides.
Much has been written in defense and support of both Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces actions.
I do not write this to support violence, but to mourn the violence. We should be constantly thinking of the tragedies that have led to this moment.
Instead of supporting war like we support sports teams, we should remember the tragedies and the humanity of the people involved.
Following the Holocaust, Israel was founded on Zionist principles. Zionism is an ideology based upon building a Jewish Nation State. As Israel was built on historically Arab land, nearby Arab nations fueled ethnic conflict, leading to multiple wars. Israel became heavily militarized in response to these threats.
Israel has also restricted the rights of Palestinian people and annexed Palestinian land, inspiring pro-Palestinian terrorists, most notably Hamas.
The winding road of cause and effect is a tragic spiral of violence. Pinning blame on one side over another becomes a futile exercise.
You can condemn the Holocaust and antisemitism without advocating for the creation of a religious ethnostate. You can condemn the eviction of Arabs without advocating for later wars. You can condemn the restriction of Palestinian rights without advocating for terrorism against Israel. You can condemn Hamas’s invasion over the weekend without advocating for Israel’s response. You can condemn Israel’s response without advocating for Hamas’s invasion.
However, in the end, the only thing that should matter is the useless deaths of innocent people.
Commentators often say this is a struggle between the Jews and the Arabs, or between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Hamas has invaded and killed Israeli citizens, and the Israeli government has killed Palestinians. Hamas has killed, but that does not mean Palestinians are, as a people, culpable. The Netanyahu administration has killed, but that does not mean Israelis, and it certainly does not mean Jews, as a people, are culpable.
There are governments and institutions committing great evils, and that is what should be condemned. We must remember the victims are people.
These atrocities are ordered by government leaders, while the consequences are bared by the most vulnerable. Prime Minister Netanyahu orders violence and oppression, but it is the civilians on the margin of society that suffer for it. The orphans, the poor and the most commonly forgotten among society are the first to be killed.
And worse yet, the structure of the conflict makes it so there is no easy solution.
The Netanyahu administration is built from a far-right political coalition, and to respond to their voters they have no incentive to build peace or overcome the ethnic conflict. Hamas is also supported in their violence, being funded by anti-Israeli nations like Iran. It appears that this conflict has no end in sight and will see rising tensions and more atrocities to come.
A peaceful solution seems far off. Although no side can fairly be blamed for this conflict, there is still a responsibility to build peace.
Absolution of guilt does not mean a lack of responsibility, and in this case one side has a greater responsibility. Hamas is a poorly funded group of militants. The Israeli Defense Force is one of the most well-trained militaries in the world. The Gaza Strip is a densely populated and impoverished territory.
What the Israeli government is currently threatening with a blockade is not war, it’s akin to genocide. There is not a symmetrical conflict, but instead a much stronger power invading a destitute area threatening brutal violence with the support of most of the western world. Israel shouldn’t be blamed for this violence, but they should be held responsible for building a long-term sustainable peace.
War is not a series of battles that are won or lost. Instead, every day of war is a loss for humanity. There is no amount of violence that justifies the murder of children or taking innocent civilians as hostages. We should, with a mind to the humanity of every victim, call for a system that will build a long-term peace and protect the inherent dignity of life.
This will not be easy, and there is no clear solution, but we should not support war when innocent people are being thrown into the violence.