Document Purpose. The purpose and goal of this document is to illustrate the extremes to which there are polarized and emotional viewpoints regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This document contains inflammatory and upsetting content, so feel free to stop reading if you are easily offended. It’s not intended to take either side of this issue, but to simply point out some of the viewpoints on either side. As an alternative, read our document Hopeful Alliances, Initiatives, and Voices for Peace in Palestine-Israel.
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Conflicting Views. Those with strong opinions on either side of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict maintain that they are the victim and the ‘others’ are barbarians and invaders who attack even when unprovoked. Children are raised at home and in schools to mistrust and hate the ‘other.’ History books and maps used in geography classes favor each group’s viewpoint. This is the context that creates and perpetuates violence and misunderstanding. Many on either side are unwilling to listen to the other. When war and violence breaks out, each side reports the number of innocent lives lost and provides photos of women and children who have been victims.
Denouncing Violence. Regardless of what view you hold, violence and war is intolerable and should be rejected as a means to progress. Those who are truly advocates and ambassadors of peace will denounce violence regardless of who it is being committed by or against.
Graphics, Illustrations, Political Cartoons and Statements. Below are a mix of graphics, illustrations, political cartoons, and statements from both sites. These illustrate the contrasting views on the conflict.
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Summary Opinion. The summary opinion would be as follows:
The Palestinians are a small underfunded oppressed people struggling for their right to land and survival. They are being harassed by Israel, a very powerful and well funded militant society who violates basic human rights by displacing people and bulldozing their homes. Jews are invaders and occupiers of a land that for hundreds of years belonged to the Palestinians. Occasionally the Palestinians fight back.
Resources. These are some commentaries and articles sympathetic with the Palestinian suffering.
- Huffington Post – Ten Things You Need to Know About Gaza by Mehdi Hasan (15 November 2012)
- If Americans Knew – Summary of the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict
- RT – Israel an apartheid state? A majority of Jews say yes (24 October 2012)
- Socialist Worker – Israel Threatens a New Slaughter (15 November 2012)
Quotes. Below are quotes sympathetic with the Palestinian suffering.
- “It’s amazing and inspiring to see people managing somehow to survive as essentially caged animals and subject to constant, random, sadistic punishment only to humiliate them. Israel and the United States keep them alive, basically. They don’t want them to starve to death. But it’s set up so that you can’t have a dignified, decent life. In fact, one of the words you hear most often is ‘dignity.’ They would like to have dignified lives. And the standard Israeli position is they shouldn’t raise their heads. And it’s a pressure cooker that could blow up. People can’t live like that forever… It’s an open-air prison… It’s constant subjugation to an external force, which has no purpose except to humiliate you. Of course, they have pretexts–everybody has pretexts–but they don’t make any sense.” – Noam Chomsky
Facebook Commentary. Below is the commentary from a reader on Facebook.
- “When Rachel Corrie was murdered by Israeli bulldozer as she protested (UNARMED) outside a Palestinian home about to be demolished, Israel blamed Rachel Corrie. When IDF soldiers killed a child, Muhammad Al Durrah, as he cried in his father’s arms, Israel blamed the Palestinians. During Israel’s 2008 Gaza military offensive when they bombed schools, hospitals, churches, killing 1000 Palestinians, including women and children, Israel blamed the Palestinians. When Goldstone issued the Goldstone Report accusing Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Israel blamed Richard Goldstone himself. When South African Justice Richard Goldstone carried out an independent investigation of the Gaza war and issued a report accusing Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, guess who Israel blamed? Richard Goldstone. It’s time to take ownership and stop blaming the victims.”
- “It’s clear who the oppressor is and who is being oppressed. How many Israelis have had their homes occupied by Palestinians? How many Israelis have been forced into refugee camps by Palestinians? How many Israeli children have been killed? How many Israeli churches have been bombed? Have Palestinians blocked access to Israeli hospitals? And how do you justify Jewish-only settlements, unequal allocation of resources, marriage bans, separate roads, military checkpoints, ID cards, separate laws and judicial systems. As much as we all condemn violence, the reality is that you can’t oppress and kill innocent people and expect them to do absolutely nothing. If we’re serious about peace, then we need to be serious about justice. When a woman gets raped, you don’t try to justify WHY the rapist did what he did or what horrible experiences he has gone through himself. Instead you focus on his actions and his transgression. It is never okay for the victims to become the offenders.”
- “Israel is an apartheid state according to United Nations investigators, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch- and according to Israelis themselves.” (source video, source story)
- “Only a coward would try to to deny and justify the atrocities committed by the apartheid state of Israel. What did this 11-month-old dead baby have to do with Hamas? No land is worth anything if it requires you to sacrifice the dignity of human life- including your own. Justice is inevitable.” (source story)
- “The signers [of a request for military aid to Israel] see a troubling and consistent pattern of disregard by the government of Israel for U.S. policies that support a just and lasting peace, particularly unbridled settlement construction in the West Bank. This year has also seen a dramatic rise in settler attacks against Palestinians with seeming impunity, they say.” (source story)
Videos. Below are videos addressing the crisis in Palestine.
Images. Below are a mix of graphics, illustrations, political cartoons sympathetic with the Palestinian suffering.
The following illustration (originally from 2009) was submitted by one of our readers who feels a strong empathy for the Palestinian suffering. In sharing this graphic, they presumably want to convey that the Jews are not suffering as much as the Palestinians. The basis for this viewpoint is that Israel has more advanced weapons and better military funding, so they are able to cause greater damage. There are reports of missiles landing in Israel without detonating, so the depiction is not without precedent.
Press Coverage. The cover story from the Washington Post was shared on Facebook with the following caption, “Israel killing people. Somebody at the Washington Post made a bold decision last night to go with an important story from Gaza as the front page this morning.”
Media Bias. The commentary below was posted on Facebook in defense of Palestine. It conveys the general sentiment and viewpoint about the Palestinian struggle.
“My European friends, don’t listen to misleading media, Palestinians are NOT terrorists, Israel is bombing Gaza and is killing civilians, children and women; they take Palestinians lands, they destroy their houses and build Israeli settlements on them, they prevent children from going to schools, they keep detaining children; this is an everyday life.. We didn’t forget the attacks in 2008, 3000+ Palestinians (including 635 children) were killed, we didn’t forget the 271 Palestinians killed after the 2008 attacks till now, we didn’t forget the siege and the settlements..In the recent attacks, 8 Palestinians, including a 9-year-old child, were killed; and 85, including 17 women and 12 child, were injured. Palestinians and Hamas are only trying to get back their country, if struggling to get your rights and kicking oppressors out of your country are considered terrorism, then yes, I support terrorism in this tyrannical discriminatory world..!”
Land Claims. One of the key concerns and frustrations stems from a relatively recent influx of Jewish people to Israel, and population expansion in the region. In recent history, the land we currently think of as Israel was known as Palestine. Since 1946, Palestine has dwindled and Israel has expanded as shown in the map below. This dwindling has happened through displacement, war, and force. As a result, those being dwindled feel oppressed.
Racial Bias. Below is a commentary about the intensional efforts made by the government of Israel to bring Jews into the land, while at the same time limiting the freedom of those who aren’t Jews.
Violence as Reaction. Below is a commentary about the suffering endured by the Palestinians which is part of the equation sometimes left out in reports of Palestinian violence against Israel.
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Below are quotes and graphics from those who are sympathetic with the Israeli suffering.
Summary Opinion. Below is a summary opinion of those sympathetic with Israel.
The Jews are a minority being attacked as they have for ages and they are simply trying to defend themselves in their homeland.
- Jewish Virtual Library – Human Rights in Israel and the Territories. This document provides responses to claims of human rights violations.
- Video Presentation – Overall explanation of the conflict.
- “This government has exhibited superhuman restraint: 2,500 rockets (from Gaza) since 2009. Last month, 800 rockets. In the last week, 300 rockets. What government in the world wouldn’t have responded with war a long time ago?” — Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the US
- “The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.” Benjamin Netanyahu
- “We stand with Israel and Netanyahu’s strength that he wisely uses to protect his country. May he have the wisdom of Solomon as Israel’s leadership moves forward. You can keep track of the developments by following @IDFSpokesperson on Twitter.” ~ Sarah Palin (Although Sarah Palin is not considered an authoritative source of wisdom by some, this opinion represents the sentiments of many pro-Israel right-wing evangelical Christians.)
Facebook Comments. Below are selected comments from Facebook.
- Apartheid Claims. “Israeli Arabs have full civil rights in Israel so the “apartheid” title is really ridiculous – particularly if one understands the history of apartheid racial codes in South Africa. No doubt that Palestinians have been made to suffer the weight of the hostilities against Israel by their leaders and the many Arab countries that have waged war on Israel. Unfortunately, where Israel welcomed the Jews almost totally ethnically cleansed from the Arab world, Arab states held Palestinians in segregated camps, never made serious efforts to rehabilitate them, and generally treated them as a permanent underclass. Just look at the status of Palestinians in Lebanon or any other Arab country. As for the claim that Israel was a part of “Palestine”, that is only true if one considers The Ottoman and British empires “Palestine”. Jews and Arabs lived in both empires, including on the Eastern Mediterranean and around Jerusalem. Some of those areas became Arab/Islamic states (Lebanon was intended as a majority Christian state until most of the Christians were driven out). One area became a majority Jewish state. Unfortunately, neither Jordan nor Egypt ever allowed a “Palestine” to exist on Jordan’s West Bank or Egypt east of Sinai. So, “Palestine” as an independent Arab political unit has really only happened because Israel allowed the formation of the PA and gave it limited political control in some of the area it captured from Jordan and Egypt.”
- Hamas. “Let’s remember who Israel and the Palestinians are dealing with in Gaza … “Aside from assassinating Fatah officials, Hamas also killed innocent Palestinians, with the intention of deterring the large clans from confronting the organization. Thus it was that 10 days ago, after an hours-long gun battle that ended with Hamas overpowering the Bakr clan from the Shati refugee camp – known as a large, well-armed and dangerous family that supports Fatah – the Hamas military wing removed all the family members from their compound and lined them up against a wall. Militants selected a 14-year-old girl, two women aged 19 and 75, and two elderly men, and shot them to death in cold blood to send a message to all the armed clans of Gaza.” [source]
Images. Below are images expressing views about the conflict.
U.S. Department of State – Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
November 14, 2012 [source]
We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence. There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately. We support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties.
Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self determination.
Transcription: Hamas MP Fathi Hammad: We Used Women and Children as Human Shields. Fathi Hammad: [The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: “We desire death like you desire life.”