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Perspective on Israel: Maintaining loyalty in a futile conflict

Posted By Becca Goldstein On October 21, 2009 @ 4:44 am In Editorials and Opinions | Comments Disabled

Here at South, there are two very distinct groups of students concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On one side, there is a large Jewish population, most of whom support Israel. Nearly everyone in this group spends at least one summer in Israel and has a strong sense of Israeli pride.

On the other hand, there is a group, mostly those who claim to be anti-war, who support the Palestinians in their struggle for their own country.

I like to think of myself as someone who is anti-war. I’d love for discrepancies to be settled through diplomatic talks between the leaders of clashing countries.

But I have one exception, and that is Israel. When it comes to Israel, I believe in self-defense; if a country is being attacked, it is foolish to expect no retaliation.

That’s why I supported Israel during the war last winter. Rockets had been hitting Sderot, a city in the central part of the country, since 2000, and there were casualties.

In December of 2008, Israel decided that they had had enough of the attacks and began firing back at Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

I’ll be the first to admit that their retribution was harsh; mortars hit everything from weapon depots to mosques to private homes, and an estimated 1,292 Gazanians lost their lives.

In Israel’s defense, they were trying to stop the attacks against Sderot and the smuggling of arms into the Gaza Strip, which were often stored in homes and other public facilities.

Last year, the division between students’ opinions was represented most accurately on Facebook.

Students on both sides expressed their opinions by constantly updating their statuses, alerting others to the numbers of rockets launched or civilians killed.

I chose not to participate in these statistical bombardments for two reasons.

The first was that I didn’t feel adequately well-versed on the matter to pick one side to support so unequivocally.
And though I did, and almost always will, support Israel, I did not want to concretely place myself in a category because I felt it would affect me in unexpected ways.

I didn’t want to lose friends over the matter, especially when I did not feel comfortable defending Israel unreservedly.

The second reason was that in my opinion, if I joined the status-battle, I would not just be showing my support of Israel, but of the war itself’€something I did not want to do.

From the first rockets fired, I knew that the war would not amount to any gains for either side. And after the ceasefire was signed, there was considerably less talk about the conflict as a whole.

I was relieved because although I supported neither side exclusively, my personal bias made me worry about how Israel was perceived. As it turned out, people’s opinion of Israel changed little.

Now, however, the conflict, in part, has resurfaced.

I’m worried once again about the world’s perception of Israel because of the United Nations’ accusations that Israel committed crimes of war against Palestine.

While I don’t doubt that Israel committed war crimes, it is unfair to pretend that the country was alone in doing so.

There are few wars where war crimes come from one side exclusively.

While this doesn’t justify Israel’s actions, it does highlight a fact of war: when there are belligerent nations that truly believe in their war, both sides will commit war crimes.

I can only hope that our school isn’t divided again.

While I support Israel, I stand by my belief that the war was futile and that perpetuating the conflict will cause more problems than it will solve.

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/perspective-on-israel-maintaining-loyalty-in-a-futile-conflict/

URLs in this post:

[1] A failing human: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/12/19/a-failing-human/

[2] Gaza kindles rallies on opposing sides: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/02/11/gaza-kindles-rallies-on-opposing-sides/

[3] Israeli Timeline: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/12/19/israeli-timeline/

[4] Handling the Gaza Strip, a student’s perspective: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/handling-the-gaza-strip-a-students-perspective/

[5] Supporting Israel for its global importance: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/supporting-israel-for-its-global-importance/

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