my take on gaza

Hundreds of Palestinians have lost their lives in the past few days. 

Men, women and children have died. Many of those who died were not fighters. They were schoolchildren. They were mothers. They were fathers. They were sisters and brothers and best friends. They were in love. They were loved. They had hopes and dreams. They had lives that were ended by this violence.

Two girls, two sisters, the oldest aged eleven, were killed. No matter what you believe about the politics of this conflict in the middle east, no one with a heart and soul can say that is right.

Israel has always claimed to be on the right side of things. In the United States, we have always heard that Israel is on the right side of the conflict, that Israel can do no wrong. Our country has supported Israel’s claim on the Palestinian homeland, because of guilt, because of a prejudice against Muslims, because of many things that we, as everyday citizens, don’t really understand. Our country has ignored the human rights of hundreds of thousands of people.

Palestinian militants have commited inexcusable atrocities in the name of their home and their right not to be displaced by Israel. But Israeli forces have done unthinkably horrible things in the name of the homeland they claim based on history, a place already home to an entire population of people when the Jewish immigrants poured in.

It’s not about who has been right and wrong in history, though, because there are a thousand ways to decide that. It’s about who is right and wrong today. It’s about the country that has American support, the country that the Western media will show over and over again in a positive light, no matter what. It’s about Israel’s decision to sacrifice the lives of innocent Palestinians who get in the way of what Israel wants.

And yet, our media will never see it that way. Our media will always glorify the Israeli cause. I am not condoning anything that the Palestinians have done that has cost innocent lives in their effort to reclaim their home; I am simply condemning Israeli actions today. Condemning is not a strong enough word, though; I have cried for the lives lost in Gaza these past few days, and for the lives that will be lost on both sides as Israel refuses to step down. 

And still, the headline on Fox News blames the Palestinians for retaliating, rather than addressing Israel’s murder of civilians. Fox News, an American media giant, chooses to focus on the handful of Israelis who have died. As regrettable as those deaths are, and believe me, they sadden me greatly, it angers me that the American media chooses to vilify Palestine rather than focus on the hundreds of lives lost to Israeli attacks and the lack of proper medical care and supplies and even food in Gaza.

It is time to forget the past. It is past time to stop giving Israel a free pass because America believes Israel has been wronged in the past, or because our media and mainstream society is prejudiced against Muslims. It is time to see people as people and not political entities. People are people everywhere, and in Gaza, as I write this, innocent people are dying.

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