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Middle East/North Africa

The Israel Palestine Conflict Is NOT Complicated

Once again, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has escalated and many lives have been lost. And we all know that there’s a lot of nuance to this topic. But saying that “it’s complicated” is not honest. This is creating a moral grey area where there is none and it perpetuates the conflict.

“Palestinian residents of Gaza Strip woke up on Thursday to mark Eid al-Fitr – one of the holiest occasions in the Islamic calendar – amid relentless aerial bombardment by Israel.

“Heavy bombardment on the Gaza Strip continued early on Thursday as Israeli forces launched a series of air raids on various locations.”

Al Jazeera, 12 May 2021

If you haven’t been engaged in discussions about the Israel Palestine conflict in the last week, you are certainly in the minority. We’ve seen both sides exchanging blows, with forced evictions, bombings, assaults, murder and kidnappings the order of the day in places like the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Tel Aviv and East Jerusalem. We are seeing mankind at its worst. Children are dying, families are being displaced and we’re all watching it unfold with indifference. It’s far too easy to say “it’s really complicated”, then turn away and pretend like it’s not happening. Let the political leaders take care of this…

Then I came across a tweet with an old video of the late Michael Brooks and his perspective on the problem:

There’s no need for me to go into the history of the conflict between Palestine and Israel. We can address the various events that took place over the last 70 years or so and, with regards to land rights, we can even go back centuries… we could explore the origins of Abrahamic religions, The Crusades and, perhaps more importantly, the prevalence of Islamaphobia over the past 20 years. Beyond that, we can discuss the massive role that the United States plays in this conflict… there is plenty to cover. But you’d be better off looking elsewhere, because you simply can’t fit this all into a single article. In this way, yes, the Israel Palestine conflict is complicated. What isn’t complicated, however, is the moral issue here.

There is absolutely no symmetry in this conflict. Far too often do I see people saying “oh, well the Israeli government had to drop bombs on Gaza. They were defending themselves” or a similar argument.

Israel treats the people living in Gaza and West Bank like dirt. Let’s get real. These are open air prisons. People are bombed with phosphorous, are denied access to clean water, sewerage infrastructure and medical supplies. There are trade embargoes, Palestinians are denied access to basic services, and unemployment is rampant. Every key indicator of well-being from malnutrition to life expectancy to infant mortality is significantly lower in comparison to their Israeli counterparts. In fact, Palestinians aren’t even technically citizens. They don’t have freedom of movement and aren’t equally protected by labour laws.

This is an Apartheid state and Israel holds all the power, while Palestinians have none whatsoever. And, yes, Hamas fires rockets as well, but the fact is that their rockets aren’t even nearly as complex as the ones being fired back at them by the Israelis, provided by the United States’ military. Not to mention the fact that Israel has advanced missile defence technology that destroys much of those rockets before they get near their target.

There is a clear power imbalance and, even if it was an even playing field, one crime does not excuse another. The bad actors on the Palestinian side of the Israel Palestine conflict must be condemned equally, sure. But the world can’t stand by as onlookers and do nothing anymore.

Yes, this is a nuanced discussion, but the crimes of the state of Israel are very well documented. They are in the wrong. There’s no equivalency to be drawn here, there are no excuses to be made, there’s no way to justify this. It’s not complicated. Israel needs to be held accountable, and if you condone their actions, you support apartheid.

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