December 5, 2015

Letter to the Editor: Israeli Palestinian Conflict Reexamined

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Re: “Letter to the Editor: Israeli and Palestinian Leadership,” Opinion, Dec.1

In her letter, “Israeli and Palestinian leadership,” Sarene Shaked makes an important point: that there is “no moral equivalency” between Israel’s leadership and that of the Palestinians. Without question, Israel lives up to a standard met by few nations throughout the world. But true leaders know that. The real question is, what’s next?

For Shaked, it seems the answer is close to nothing. She provides a brief history of the conflict, concluding that the first step in solving it is to “change the education systems in Gaza and Palestinian Authority-controlled Area A of the West Bank.” This is, at best, a major red-herring, out of touch with the actual underlying causes of the conflict. Worse yet, it cements the idea that Israel has no responsibility to change facts on the ground.

In reality, the conflict will not be solved until American pro-Israel voices, like Shaked’s, are comfortable discussing Israel’s shortcomings as well its undeniable strengths. We can’t be satisfied saying that Israel is better than Syria if we are prohibited from mentioning ways in which Israel is worse than, say, the United Kingdom. We can’t be satisfied with an Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that has done nothing to deescalate the conflict. His comments during last year’s election, warning voters that Arabs were coming to the polls “in droves,” should not be excused simply because Netanyahu is better than his counterparts in Hamas, nor should his recent, unsubstantiated claim that it was a Palestinian leader, not Adolf Hitler, who was responsible for the mass extermination of the Jews.

Should Israel continue to build settlements simply because Palestinian terrorists seek to one day level Tel Aviv? Should Israel allow for a disparity in its justice system — where crimes committed against Palestinians are much less less likely to result in prosecutions than are crimes against Israelis — simply because its enemies are rabid anti-Semites? Should Israel allow the status quo in the Palestinian territories to continue simply because it protects its innocent civilians while Hamas uses civilians as shields? Not if it is to be the morally superior entity that Shaked insists that it is.

Leadership means taking on the challenge of an issue that is certainly “not so black and white,” as Shaked writes, rather than hiding behind only those facts that make the status-quo seem acceptable. The Daily Sun has done nothing but enable this cycle, by publishing countless pairs of angry op-eds and angrier responses that never leave their respective ideological corners. Everyone can agree that innocent Palestinians should not have to suffer because of a few extremists in their midst, and that Israel is better than its terrorist foes. Cornellians should be encouraged to think beyond that.

Jess Coleman ’17

8 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: Israeli Palestinian Conflict Reexamined

  1. “Should Israel allow the status quo in the Palestinian territories to continue simply because it protects its innocent civilians while Hamas uses civilians as shields?”

    This is a very carefully worded passage. It is true that Hamas operates next to innocent civilians without regard to what happens to them, as it is true that Israel does all in its power to protect its own civilians.

    However, Israel does not always extend that shield to civilians on the Palestinian side. Israel has used Palestinians as human shields, apparently thousands of times over the last decade (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/israeli-high-court-israeli-soldiers-used-human-shields-1200-times-2006-2011.html; https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09TELAVIV1694_a.html#efmAn8Axu; http://www.cbsnews.com/news/un-report-accuses-israeli-forces-of-using-palestinian-children-as-human-shields-abusing-children-in-custody/), and has not acted with the restraint it could in dealing with Hamas.

    Israel has bombed and shelled UN schools and shelters (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/27/israel-responsible-gaza-strikes-un-schools-ban-ki-moon), and has killed FAR more innocent civilians than Hamas ever has.

    Israel has a sovereign right to defend itself, especially against Hamas, a terrorist organization that has shown time and time again it does not care about innocents. That does not mean Israel must act so carelessly in how it does defend itself, though. If a Hamas fighter has launched a rocket from near a UN school, does Israel have no choice but to bomb the UN school to perhaps eliminate the terror threat? What a ridiculous notion! Yet that has how the Israel military has conducted itself.

  2. I refuse to discuss Israel’s “shortcomings” until my government and my president acknowledges that Israel is our greatest ally, the only true democracy in the middle east, and a perpetual victim of terrorism.

    Until then, I will not do anything that my be perceived as a slight to Israel because I have a president, a United Nations, and a good chunk of the population that believes Israel to be an apartheid state, favors divestment with Israeli universities, and signs petitions that claim Israel has no right to exist

    So unless our “leaders” reaffirm America’s allegiance to Israel and set an example for the nut cases that are found primarily in liberal universities in California (though I have not forgotten the list of professors that signed similar statements about Israel’s “war crimes” 2-3 years ago), I will continue to adamantly defend Israel with NO equivocation.

  3. “…ways in which Israel is worse than, say, the United Kingdom.”

    ++

    The thoughtlessness of this comment tells us much about its author.

    Last I had heard jolly ol’ England was an island. An island not surrounded by 300,000,000 Muslims who have tens of thousands of rockets aimed at her city centers.

    Other than that the author’s sentence is very well thought out and should be used to illustrate Israel’s shortcomings. {Sarc/off}

  4. “…because Netanyahu is better than his counterparts in Hamas, nor should his recent, unsubstantiated claim that it was a Palestinian leader, not Adolf Hitler, who was responsible for the mass extermination of the Jews.”

    ++

    I believe what Netanyahu was trying to convey is the fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during the 1930s and 1940s was a good friend and ally of Hitler.

    Other than that comparing Netanyahu with Hamas’ leadership is like comparing Boko Haram, Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS and Hamas to the Amish.

  5. While Muslim jihdaists kill thousands of Buddhists in southern Thailand we condemn Israel with half-truths and insinuations.

    While different sects of Muslim jihadists kill one another in Syria and Iraq (400,000 and counting) we condemn Israel with half-truths and insinuations.

    While Muslim jihadists – the same ones who destroyed Sudan – attack Southern Sudan we condemn Israel with half-truths and insinuations.

    While Muslim jihadists ethnically cleanse the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Coptics, Hindus of Pakistan and Bangladesh, the LGTB community throughout Muslim countries, we condemn Israel with half-truths and insinuations.

    While Boko Haram kill, gang-rape and kidnap Christians in Nigeria we condemn Israel with half-truths and insinuations.

    We are not interested in justice, honesty or integrity. We are interested in furthering the blood libel against the Jews of Israel.

  6. While Muslim jihadists kill people in San Bernadino we…

    While Muslim jihadists kill Chinese in NW China…

    While Muslim jihadists stab Londoners on the streets of London and in their subways too we…

    WHile Muslim Jihadists kill innocents in Paris, not once, not twice, but time and time again we…

    While Muslim jihadists attack hotels in Mumbai, Kenya and Tunisia we…

    While Muslim jihadists blow up shopping Malls in Kenya and village markets in Nigeria, and throw acid in the face of little school girls we…

    While Muslim jihadists fly planes into buildings, blow up Russian planes and crash planes originating from Alexandria we…

    We are hypocrites, we are shallow and we are probably products of a PC liberal upbringing unable to see the difference between good and evil, black and white and night from day. We are what Orwell wrote about…

  7. I am so pleased to read enlightened comments by current students. I remember with great dismay the anti-Israel rhetoric I read regularly while a student in the ’80s.

  8. Two recent opinions about Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems like written by people who never have been there and know about it only from media or sources from Israeli side. Israel and Palestine are not neighbors – it is one country with different laws for Israelis and for Palestine. It is apartheid state. I can testify about this because I was teaching Spring 2015 semester in Palestinian State University in Tulkarm. During semester I experienced loss of electricity because Israelis turned off electricity for the whole city for as long as they pleased. I experienced chemical factory working on the other side of the Separation wall only when wind was from the sea, so that pollution would be blown towards Palestinian side etc. This fall situation became much more serious – Israeli armed forces set up training camp in the territory of the university campus and are harassing and attacking students regularly. Here are just the latest news : http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=769368

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