Ideology only furthers violence in Middle East

Over the past month, the Israel-Palestine conflict has made front page headlines on numerous occassions. This clash is one of the most polarizing topics in recent news and many, if not most, have already determined which side they support.

While I have been a staunch supporter of Palestine throughout much of the ordeal, a conversation with WLU professor Gavin Brockett in early December 2012 made me re-evaluate the entire conflict.

Initially, this article intended to condemn Israel for their actions against innocent Palestinian civilians.

While I still denounce their actions, I no longer intend to condemn one side or the other, but rather suggest that this issue is not as straightforward as many people would suggest.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the most dividing debates on the current international stage and the clear disparity of these opinions has been continuously demonstrated on our campus.

Unfortunately, however, the immense division of belief, be it political or religious, is not constructive. To understand the debate surrounding this conflict, there is much context that is imperative to understand.

Since the Second World War the conflict between Israel and Palestine has raged on endlessly. While the conflict has had numerous periods of intense conflict and relative calm, the past five years have demonstrated a period of great tension.

Following the takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007 by the Islamist political group Hamas, there has been a continual back and forth between Palestine and Israel.

These attacks however, have been initiated on numerous occasions by both sides, thereby making it impossible to condemn a single party.

Currently, there is a massive misunderstanding between both the Israelis and Palestinians. While it may be the goal of Hamas to destroy the Israeli state, this is not the objective of all Palestinians.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the motivation behind Hamas’ most recent attacks; it is situations such as this that make the entire conflict even more difficult to understand.

As Brockett noted, bystanders must attempt to understand the mindset of both parties. He states that one must note the constant state of fear that both Israelis and Palestinians live under.

For Israel, the political landscape in surrounding nations is disconcerting. Following the Iraqi attack on Israel in 1991, the nation has been in a constant state of alert.

As such, Israel is continually aware of the potential for attack from every nation, but from Palestine in particular.

This constant state of fear has led to what many would deem paranoia. Both the state and citizens are continually prepared to return fire, a mindsewt that is compounded after every attack.

Likewise, Palestinians are also in a continual state of fear, as Israel has become a trigger-happy nation.

Additionally, the advanced weaponry of the Israeli army has ever-increasing consequences. Hamas’ tendency to locate military depots in civilian areas has led to massive amounts of innocent civilian casualties.

Clearly, the mindset of both parties is one that reinforces itself. Each nation is in a continual state of fear, and senses the need to retaliate immediately.

Unfortunately, these reactions not only promote continued hatred  and a lack of understanding, but cause physical destruction to properties and lives.

The current ideological polarization on campus mirrors this, as both groups appear as unwilling as the nations themselves to attempt to reach a mutual understanding.

The solutions to such problems are far from easy and I, personally, would have no idea where to begin. Indeed, as Brockett stated, “The problem may never be solved.”

Despite this, one thing is clear: the ignorance and loathing these groups display towards one another, be it on campus, or globally is destructive. It is time for the partisanship on this issue to stop.

While many may view politics as a game, this situation is not; innocent civilians continue to die on a daily basis.

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