”We Palestinians don’t talk about fear, we talk about death. Our rockets scare them; their rockets kill us. We have no bomb shelters, we have no sirens, we have nowhere we can take or children and keep them safe. They are scared. We are dying.” – Mohammed al-Khoudry, a Palestinian farmer (The Guardian)
Attending a prep school has allowed me to learn in more than one way. I recognize and am appreciative of the knowledge I’ve gained in the classroom, but it does not compare to how much I have grown by simply listening to the students and teachers around me speaking about the issues in our world. I go to a liberal school where free thinking and diversity are core values and, usually, I am among the majority of my peers. This has yielded to hearing, throughout the years, a few radically conservative thoughts, but for the most part, moderate to liberal (for our country) stances on current issues. This is why I am surprised – no outraged - that more people are not standing in solidarity with Palestine. How can so many people support gay marriage, immigrant rights, even be pro-choice, but not see the conflict in Israel for what it really is?
First of all, let’s set something straight. What is happening in Palestine and Israel right now is not a two-sided issue with a lot of complicated pieces to it. The most popular opinion I hear from students my age is the generic diplomatic one, “both sides are doing wrong, and they should just put their differences aside to come together and be peaceful.” The sides doing wrong are Hamas, a Palestinian political party, and Israel. Yet Israel is not only killing members of Hamas. Israel is bombing innocent children, men, and women. They are blockading medicine from going into Gaza, they are not providing any safe shelter for people. The refugee camps where they have herded people have little food, water, and electricity.
140 Palestinians have been killed since the air strikes began eight days ago. 140 is terrifying, but it gets even more terrifying when we see how many Israelis have been killed by fire from Gaza since the beginning of the year (the supposed reason Israel is attacking Gaza): 1. We can also compare 140 to the number of Israelis who have been killed in the most recent conflict: 5. A two-sided conflict occurs when there are equal losses on both sides, but what has happened in Gaza in the past week follows the trend of the past 60 years since 1948, when Palestinians were first forced into Gaza and the West Bank, having their land, lives, and human rights taken away. A cease-fire will not solve the issue in Gaza and Israel, it may temporarily stop the genocide of Palestinians, but human rights will continue to be violated until the Palestinian people can return to their land, have access to clean water, electricity, food, and medicine.
I do not condone Hamas or any other radical acts of terror on Israeli individuals or the state but the bombing in Gaza is no longer an attack against the Israeli resistance movement. This is a war against innocent people: men and women who have had their homes destroyed, mothers and fathers who have watched their children die, and three generations of people who have been robbed, displaced, and are living in refugee camps with some of the worst conditions in the world. This is a war against humanity.
by Luna Olavarria Gallegos
(photo credit: http://www.aljazeera.com/)