Opinion: Yes, Palestine deserves to be free. So does Israel

When it comes to politics, the Middle East is a messy place. That doesn’t mean that Hamas terrorists should get a free pass.

Sliced up by mandate rule and arbitrary borders, few places in the world reflect the damage of colonial empires to the same magnitude as the Middle East. Rule by global empires, often in competition with each other, led to broken promises and ethnic conflict. While this issue certainly is divisive, the damage caused by colonialism isn’t up for debate. 

That said, we’re now 75-years in the future. It’s time to move on. While that history may have been made in the past, new history is made in the present. And recent history is hardly reassuring. 

Both the Israelis and the Palestinians deserve freedom. It’s what they do with that freedom that determines what happens next. 

When Israel won its independence, the Israelis set out to not only create a Jewish state but a global place of refuge for Jewish people or those persecuted in the world. In order to ensure that a tragedy such as the holocaust would not happen again, that refuge was formed despite an overwhelming attack by nearly all of its neighbors. 

Israel fought off an onslaught from Arab neighbors for the first few decades of its existence. In 1948, 1967, and again in 1973, Israel was under attack from all sides by countries that opposed the freedom and democracy Israel brought to the Middle East. 

Israel today has a high level of freedom for both Jewish people and Muslims. A thriving LGBTQ+ community, the only one of its kind in the Middle East, has made Tel Aviv known as the “Gayest City in the World.” Israel continues to make advances at the forefront of technology, medicine, and agriculture. And what do the Palestinians do? Shoot rockets. 

The terror operations of Hamas, underwritten by the Palestinean Authority, led to a massive loss of life in the early years of the conflict with Israel. Tactics such as suicide bombing and knife and gun attacks in broad daylight enacted a heavy toll. In response, Israel issued a policy that soldiers, on duty or off, carry firearms at all times. This is not out of hate but necessity and has ended many attacks before they really started.

Sure, that may be a drastic assessment of the situation, but ultimately, the scenario boils down to the original United Nations plan proposed in 1947. The plan offered a generous amount of land to the Palestinians; in return, the Palestineans rejected it. 

Palestine believed as they do to this day, that their state can only exist if Israel does not. 

I will say again – Palestine has a right to exist. But so does Israel. Of all of the states in the middle east, only one has a truly functional democracy. Only one is Jewish. And only one is targeted. 

The people of Palestine are oppressed. But not by who you think. Hamas, the violent terror group that controls the Gaza strip, does indeed oppress their people. Israel controlled Gaza until 2005, during which the Israeli government made reconstruction, infrastructure, and public good investments. Due to international protest, Palestinean requests for freedom, and other factors, the Israelis gave the occupied Gaza strip back to the Palestineans. However, when the territory was ceded to Hamas, the hospitals became rocket bases, the schools became armories, and, unfortunately, the Gaza strip became tactically significant again.

It is important to note that the Israeli military doctrine doesn’t target civilian life. The Dahiya Doctrine, or Israel’s textbook for asymmetrical warfare, calls for strikes on military and infrastructure targets, similar to the American Shock and Awe Doctrine. But occasionally, people end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

With guerrilla fighters integrated with the civilian population, the line between a military target and a civilian one begins to blur. Airstrikes against military and infrastructure targets do have collateral damage. Additionally, many civilian centers are used to launch rockets, making them military targets. Add that to international media funded by their enemies in Saudi Arabia, and there’s no shortage of misinformation about Israeli motives spread internationally. 

Speaking of Saudi Arabia, there are many other places the Palestinians can go. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, but many other Arab and Muslim nations exist. The only reason for certain Palestinean groups to oppose both Israel and a two-state solution is hatred for the concepts of freedom, democracy, and western religion. 

Human rights and engagement violations notwithstanding, the Palestinians also can’t run a country. Despite being subsidized by the Israeli government, even in 2022, many of the Palestinean lands in Gaza and the West Bank lack running water, basic sanitation, and electricity. And no, it’s not because of bombing, the west, or Israel. It’s because of corruption and extremism. 

The Palestinean Authority doesn’t even truly control Gaza. Hamas, a known terror organization, does. The vast majority of foreign aid sent to Gaza is used for terrorist purposes, launching an endless barrage of rockets into the skies of Israel. Most of these are intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, which lowers (but does not eliminate) the loss of life on the Israeli side. 

Israel attempts to save civilian lives by sounding alarms, firing warning shots, broadcasting alerts, and only targeting military hardware. However, when you are fighting Hamas, that isn’t always possible. Israeli forces have reported the use of human shields, suicide bombers, and children in combat. Hardly something that the west should support. 

Everyone in the US who was alive on 9/11/2001 remembers what it felt like to be under attack. Imagine if air raid sirens were a part of daily life. In Israel, that’s the reality. 

Many Muslims are living and worshiping freely in Israel. Try being a Jewish Person in Palestinean Authority territory, and you may very well end up dead. 

As a nation, Israel is responsible for protecting her sovereignty and her people. That includes eliminating enemy combatants, wherever they may be. 

Everyone crying out for Palestinean freedom must also remember that Israel is a nation with its own right to existence. Hamas decided to declare war against Israel. That was their choice, and now they must bear the consequences.

Disclaimer: This article in no way reflects the views of The Cauldron and its staff. It only reflects the views of the columnist.