Violence won’t free Palestine

To make sense of the war that our government is supporting, we may point fingers at the seemingly obvious “bad guy.” When Israel attacks Gaza, they’re not just killing Hamas. Every day that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) missiles strike Gaza, innocent people are being killed. 

Many Palestinians, who don’t agree with the tactics of Hamas, say peace can’t be reached until their homeland is restored or a new homeland is established. By supporting the Israeli military, America indirectly supports the death and destruction of Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Violence only resets the cycle of this relentless war. 

Bloomberg reported that “President Joe Biden is considering a supplemental request of approximately $100 billion that would include defense assistance for Israel,” among other foreign conflicts. The American government’s response to this war is to supply the IDF with more firepower while surviving Palestinians plead for a ceasefire. 

Biden supports the war, but there is clearly no intention to support a period of peace, let alone a new society that can sustain its populations peacefully. On Oct. 18, the United Nations Security Council failed to adopt a resolution that would have called for “humanitarian pauses to allow full, safe and unhindered access for United Nations agencies and their partners,” according to a U.N. press release. The United States vetoed the resolution and later expressed disappointment that the draft did not mention Israel’s right to self-defense.

When reflecting on U.S. involvement in this war, it’s best to understand why this conflict began. Looking back to its creation, the State of Israel was founded on the unstable basis of colonization. 

During World War I, the British formed an alliance with Palestinians who helped them defeat the Ottoman Empire, which comprised much of the Middle East. After the war, the League of Nations issued a mandate giving Britain administrative control over the region, and included provisions for establishing a Jewish national homeland in Palestine.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews seeking refuge migrated from Eastern Europe to Palestine, as British leaders appointed themselves the power of dividing the land into new territories. 

The Jewish population in Palestine continued to grow, as Jews fled anti-semitism during and post-World War II. In 1947 after the end of World War II, the U.N. called for a Partition of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state.

The partition was followed by violence between the two groups almost immediately, as the Jewish population considered the Partition of Palestine to be a legal establishment for the State of Israel, which Arabs rejected. Throughout the years, multiple ‘peace processes’ to form a two-state solution were attempted but ultimately failed. 

The situation seems to have a domino effect – hostility between Arabs and Jews intensifying with each interaction. Palestinian homes were invaded, and families who had lived there for generations became refugees. The Jewish settlers already were refugees, having escaped violence elsewhere. How could a united, multicultural nation possibly develop peacefully with no social infrastructure?

In 1987, the terrorist organization Hamas was formed following decades of violence and oppression by the IDF. Dedicated to destroying the State of Israel, Hamas went on to take legislative victories in Gaza and the West Bank in 2006, and has been in control of the Gaza Strip since conquering it in 2007. 

However, Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. 2023 polls have shown that 70% of Palestinians in Gaza support proposals of Hamas turning over power to Palestinian Authority (PA), including armed units. 

Recently, the Israeli government, Hamas and other Islamic militant organizations have been accused of war crimes and violating international law. On Oct. 7, Hamas sent air strikes and gunmen that killed over 1,400 people in Israel.

In Gaza, hospitals and morgues have been overflowing, and on Oct. 17, another airstrike targeted civilian hospitals. Al-Ma’amadani hospital was not only full of patients but also families seeking shelter, and hundreds were killed. Israel is blaming the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas, who both say that Israel is responsible for the airstrike. Responsibility hasn’t been determined for the hospital explosions, with both sides pointing a finger at one another.

On Oct. 27, Gaza saw a complete disruption to its cellphone and internet service due to increased bombing by Israel. The Gaza strip was engulfed in darkness for much of the next two days, with no way of contacting emergency medical sevices throughout the attacks.

It seems impossible for the IDF to defeat Hamas without killing civilians through the war tactics it uses. Families in Gaza are unable to control if Hamas attacks, but their lives are still at risk. As attacks in Gaza continue, activists around the world are protesting.

Jewish Voice for Peace’s Ellen Brotsky told CBS Bay Area that “we can’t allow our grief about the death of Israelis to become used as a weapon to murder Palestinians because that is not Jewish values,” while protesting in San Francisco. “At the root cause of the violence in the Middle East is Israel’s apartheid state and continuing occupation of the Palestinian people.” 

The brutality of Hamas has threatened innocent Isrealites since they began committing acts of terrorism, and ordinary Palestinians are stuck in the middle, as Hamas continues to rule Gaza.

The Palestinian people of Gaza have been living under Hamas’ fascism, and now their city is being destroyed. Recovering from these things is impossible with the never-ending use of force.

In a better world, our leaders would prioritize liberating Palestinians from Hamas, and supporting them in the aftermath of war. 

Cease fire, support an established statehood for Palestinians in their homeland, and free Palestine. 

If you have an opinion on this column, write to us at [email protected]

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