Israel-Palestine conflict: a tale of victims and villains

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons | Gaza city lays in ruins following bombardment from Israel

Eliyahu Gasson | Opinions Editor

I am no fan of the current Israeli government. I despise Benjamin Netanyahu and think of him first and foremost as a criminal. Itamar Ben Gvir, the kingmaker of the last election and minister of national security is most certainly a fascist who would quite literally kill to see a third temple built in Jerusalem.

The way Israel is going about the invasion of the Gaza Strip is barbaric. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 24,285 people have been killed in the strip since the start of the war on Oct. 7 when the Islamic Resistance Movement, abbreviated in Arabic as Hamas, invaded southern Israel.

Footage from both sides of the conflict shows cities leveled by explosions and neighborhoods reduced to rocks. Palestinian civilians have been forced to flee south toward Egypt where they must live in makeshift tents with little to no food, water or fuel to help them cope with the cold and rainy winter months. Neither the invading nation nor their neighbors in Egypt seem too keen on substantially aiding them anytime soon.

There are good reasons to loathe Israel right now. There is merit to the claim that Zionism put into practice often involves exclusion, nationalism and, on the far-right, fascism. These are typically required for ethno-states to survive.

But we need to be honest about the opposition to Israel in this conflict. Hamas is arguably a more vile force than the Likud, the ruling party in the Israeli parliament, could ever hope to be.

Hamas is an extremist terror organization. They seemed to have no issue kidnapping, raping and killing civilians during their Oct. 7 raid. They have been indiscriminately lobbing missiles at Israeli cities since 2002. They do not care about liberating Palestinians, they care about expelling Jews from the region. They’ve made their goal clear in their charter, the introduction of which reads, “Our battle with the Jews is long and dangerous, requiring all dedicated efforts.”

I am hesitant to call Israel’s actions in the region a genocide. I do not think that Israel is intent on destroying Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims in whole or in part. The actions of the Israeli Defense Forces have been devastating to Palestinians, of whom more have been killed and injured than Hamas could have ever dreamed of doing to their rivals in Israel.

A good way to suss out a state’s intentions is to observe their actions. Based on this, one may deduce that Israel is a bloodthirsty colonial state hell bent on destroying the Palestinians once and for all. I can understand this conclusion, though I think it is wrong.

The way this war is being fought is objectively atrocious. The IDF, in their mission to wipe Hamas off the face of the Earth, has given themselves no option but to attack the insurgents in the hospitals, schools and apartment complexes in which they operate. Hamas launches rockets off of hospital roofs. They use schools as armories. Hamas has no scruples about wrapping Palestinian civilians into a war they know they cannot win.

Hamas started a war knowing what would happen to the land they were elected to govern. There is no doubt in my mind that they were hoping and praying that Israel would kill Gazans by the truckload.

They knew the already poor conditions in the Gaza Strip would deteriorate further and they are okay with that. It’s what they want. They make as much clear in article eight of their charter.

“Allah is its goal. The Messenger is its leader. The Quran is its constitution. Jihad is its methodology, and death for the sake of Allah is its most coveted desire.”

And now there is another terrorist organization joining the fight on the side of Palestine. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who get their name from the Houthi tribe, have started attacking civilian vessels in the Red Sea.

The Houthis, who only control coastal territories in Yemen along the Red Sea, seem even less concerned about the well-being of their civilians than Hamas does about theirs. The Houthis are a terrorist organization that has reintroduced slavery into Yemen. According to a 2019 report by Ashraq al-Awsat, more than 1,800 Yemeni civilians work as servants and slaves for Houthi leaders.

And the Houthis have no love for the Jews either. Of course they don’t like Zionists, but Jews as a group are not looked upon favorably as is made clear in their motto featured prominently on their seal.

“God is the Greatest. Death to America. Death to Israel. A Curse Upon the Jews. Victory to Islam.”

There are no good guys in this conflict. Both sides will do all they can to justify their atrocities. Israel will claim that the terrorists will use humanitarian supplies instead of giving it to civilians. Hamas will claim that the murder and rape of Israeli civilians is resistence to oppression. The Houthis will claim that attacking and stealing cargo vessels is a legitimate way of helping the Palestinians.

There are no heroes in this conflict, only victims and villains.