by Ma. Dominique Gerochi | October 18, 2023
There is a stark contrast between being at war and being the cause of war.
War is defined as a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations. For Palestine, it was never war. Between the unprovoked attacks from Israel and the prejudice from the world, how could they declare war?
Yet, their retaliation is seen as an act of war. It is only Israel who can afford to launch violent attacks towards Palestine; and for years, Palestine has endured the onslaught. Last Oct. 8, Israel officially declared war against Hamas.
The discord between Palestine and Israel is one of the most significant and consequential invasions in the 21st century. The tensions between this nation-state and state have plagued their citizens and surrounding countries for years, and the chance of resolve grows slimmer every day. The conflict between geopolitics and ethnic-based history has been bloody and tiring. Yet, this “fight” has barely been a fight between Israel and Palestine anyway. This conflict is between Hamas and Israel.
Hamas, officially the Islamic Resistance Movement, is a Sunni Islamist political and military organization—the de facto government of Palestine in the Gaza Strip. As such, it should not be seen as representing the entire Palestine. However, the organization’s retaliation still resulted in Israel targeting Palestine lands and people in violent attacks in an attempt to remove Palestinians from their homes.
The constant abuse of human rights experienced by Palestinians has been occurring for years already. Recent progressions of the struggle, where Israel launched attacks on Gaza, have resulted in genocide. Palestinians have been stripped of their civil rights to life.
With the treatment of Israel towards Palestine, retaliation becomes inevitable. Violence seems to be their only answer—a harsh and heartbreaking reality. Yet, we want and wish that war would not have been the response to the Hamas attack, as the citizens of Palestine are suffering under collective punishment. Despite this, diplomacy looms overhead as an avenue to stop the battle between Hamas and Israel.
Being born into either side of the war has suddenly become a crime. People are brought into the world with a target on their backs. There is no justification for why men, women, and children who have nothing to do with the wars and terrorist acts are under fire and accused of such. It is cruel for these government and terrorist leaders to think people’s lives are just chess pieces in a board game of their hate and prejudice against each other.
For the very same people who must be protecting their own—their people—they are failing miserably. While people in Israel worry for their soldiers at war, Palestinian fathers are pulling their dead children out of the ruins of their homes.
Where is the humanity in depriving Palestinians of running water, access to electricity, food, and medicine? Every day, Palestinian men, women, and children lose someone important to them and will never have time to grieve.
So why does the world continue to label the oppressed as villains?
Over the years, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Authority have consistently collaborated and made efforts to propose peace agreements like the Oslo Accords and Intifadas. But when negotiations and agreements were not honored, the friction grew.
Yet, it should be through continuous work toward diplomatic efforts that the course of the war should be changed. War is harsh. It is bloody, and lives are constantly lost as a consequence. Finding policies and avenues to use as ammunition for a diplomatic case argument needs to be implemented to address the disagreement between these countries. It is with this knowledge that governments and different international organizations drive for diplomacy to keep the bloodshed at a minimum.
This is why, as difficult as diplomacy is, it should be lobbied as the primary solution for situations like these.
Diplomacy is not simple. An agreement cannot be concluded in a matter of hours. It takes the effort of extremely dedicated and intelligent people to compromise to satisfy both countries. But the harsh reality is that the conflict does not only involve these two sides.
The reality is that neither side would give up what they believe they have a claim over. Unless, like what Israel wants, displacement is successful. Israel would then be the sole resident of the land and leave Palestinians without a home.
It leaves us to question: Why is it necessary for a “side” to lose before everything can be well? It goes to say both the Israelis and Palestinian lives are an unfortunate loss. So beg the question, how much more should be spent?
Is the image of children bloodied and being pulled out of rubble not enough for people to stop the oppression? Is waking up being bombed supposed to be the norm? They live a cruel life—one where they are born dead simply because they are Palestinian.
Palestine has had to endure. Hamas has been aggravated. And when suddenly Palestinians retaliated, it was all over the news.
(This article is made possible with the help of Ruth Ann Dean, a Silliman University School of Public Affairs and Governance student.)