Delving Deep into the Middle East’s Unfortunate Narrative
This week was really hard, I found myself contemplating whether to translate my thoughts into words or stay silent before I truly understood what to write. As some of you may know, I’ve been active on social media (mostly Instagram), sharing various viewpoints, both my own and those of individuals I greatly respect. It often feels like we’re embroiled in a struggle for truth and perception. Narratives may create more clarity or fuel more hate and confusion. It’s crucial to remember that this battle carries significant real-world consequences for those enduring the hardships on both sides. People like you and me died, were kidnapped, injured or endured very traumatic experiences. Therefore, it’s essential to approach this issue with sensitivity.
Given that this is a newsletter, let’s start by summarizing some key facts from recent events, acknowledging that some details are still emerging. I’ve highlighted any statements that reflect my personal perspective and opinion rather than objective facts.
A Brief Overview of the Conflict:
- On October 7th, 2023, Hamas initiated a large-scale attack on Israel, involving land, sea, and air operations. These attacks included horrifying acts such as the mass execution of 260 civilians at a music festival, multiple instances of sexual assault, the execution of children, the burning of homes, and even the beheading of children and infants. Tragically, elderly individuals were shot at point-blank range. The attack also involved the launch of over 5,000 rockets, with some evading the Iron Dome defense system. Israel suffered over 1,200 fatalities, more than 3,000 injuries, and 150 kidnappings, marking it as the deadliest incursion in the nation’s history. Some have compared it to Israel’s own 9/11 due to its brutal nature, including reports of heinous acts against infants and toddlers. It’s worth noting that none of the Israeli civilian deaths resulted from the usual collateral damage of conflict; these civilians were the deliberate targets. This distinction sets terrorism apart from conventional military warfare.
- In response, Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza, resulting in extensive damage to homes, schools, medical facilities, and government buildings. Ground operations have also been initiated to rescue the hostages. The death toll in Gaza has risen to 1,799, with an additional 7,388 people injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Israel issued several warnings before bombing targets, and it’s possible that some people were able to evacuate. But given the densely populated nature of Gaza, the number of casualties might go higher in the coming days.
What is Hamas?
Hamas holds uncontested “democratically elected” authority in Gaza, with no elections held since 2006. The Palestinian Authority, its main political party, Fatah, the business community, civil society, and family clan leaders cannot effectively challenge Hamas. After each successive conflict with Israel, Hamas has only grown stronger. Notably, Hamas has a sole objective stated in its charter: the extermination of all Jews. Hamas enjoys public support from Hezbollah, Iran, and other terrorist organizations.
- While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is undeniably complex and tragic on both sides, it should not be a contentious issue to condemn the actions of Hamas, a designated terrorist organization that resorts to barbaric acts against civilians, including rape and beheadings. Let’s unite on this basic principle.Some arguments have circulated on the internet, suggesting that Hamas was acting as a resistance movement in self-defense of the Palestinian people. These statements have emerged from various sources, including the BLM movement, certain student groups at prestigious universities including Harvard, Columbia University, the University of Michigan Law School and Northwestern University. , and elements of the so-called ‘woke left.’ It’s essential to clarify this point: Palestinians are primarily victims of the regime, and the majority do not support it. Similarly, most Arab Muslims do not endorse Hamas.Hamas is indeed a terrorist organization that neglects the human rights of its own people, let alone those of others. Its stated objectives, as outlined in its charter, revolve around the destruction of Israel and the genocide of every Jewish person.
As we witness pro-Palestine rallies taking place in cities worldwide, with some individuals expressing disturbing sentiments like “gas the Jews” or “Kill the Jews” during it raises a crucial question. Are these demonstrations more rooted in anti-Semitism than in advocating for the rights of Palestinian civilians?
A Brief Historical Context of the Israel-Palestine Conflict – Ancient Historical Context:
- The land has been inhabited for thousands of years, with various ancient civilizations, including the Canaanites, one of the earliest indigenous peoples.
- Roman Rule: In the 1st century BCE, the Roman Empire conquered the region and renamed it Judea. This era saw the Jewish Revolt against Roman rule.
- Byzantine and Islamic Periods: After the Romans, the region became part of the Byzantine Empire and was later conquered by Islamic Arab forces in the 7th century CE.
- Crusades: During the Middle Ages, the region was the focus of the Crusades, a series of religious wars between Christian and Muslim forces.
- Ottoman Empire: The Ottoman Empire ruled the area from the early 16th century until the end of World War I.
Modern Day Context:
- Late 19th and Early 20th Century: The roots of the conflict can be traced back to the late 19th century when Jewish immigration to Palestine increased due to the rise of Zionism, a political movement advocating for a Jewish homeland.
- British Mandate Period (1917-1947): After World War I, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate to govern Palestine. Tensions between Jews and Arabs escalated during this time.
- 1947-1949: UN Partition and First Arab-Israeli War: The United Nations proposed a plan to partition Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem as an international city. Israel accepted the plan, while Arab states and Palestinian Arab leaders rejected it, leading to the first Arab-Israeli war.
- Post-1949: Refugee Issue and Continuing Conflict: The conflict persisted, with Arab states refusing to recognize Israel’s existence and Palestinian Arab refugees resulting from the 1948 war.
- 1967: Six-Day War: In 1967, Israel fought a brief but decisive war against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, capturing significant territories.
- 1978-1993: Peace Efforts: Various attempts at peace negotiations, including the Camp David Accords in 1978 and the Oslo Accords in 1993, resulted in limited Palestinian self-rule.
- Second Intifada (2000-2005): The failure to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement led to a violent Palestinian uprising.
- Gaza 2005: Israel fully withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
The conflict remained unresolved, with periodic outbreaks of violence, including wars in Gaza in 2008-2009, 2012, 2014, and 2021. The expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and ongoing disputes over borders, refugees, and Jerusalem continued to hinder progress toward a lasting peace.
It’s crucial to consider the historical context when encountering terms like “occupier” or “colonizer” in discussions regarding Israel. The situation is far from black and white, with both Israelis and Palestinians having historical ties to the land. Israel has successfully established a democratic state with a diverse population, including 1.6 million Arabs and non-Jews who hold full Israeli citizenship.
Today, Israel is recognized as one of the most progressive nations globally, with a thriving economy and international partnerships.
To conclude I wish everyone peace and sincerely hope we will find a way to find a dialogue instead of constant blaming and hater.