Whether your information of the Israel Palestine Conflict comes from the news, social media, conversations with friends, etc., there is one statement which needs to be recognized: discussions of tensions and violence between Israel and Palestine have become too polarized.
Whatever one’s opinion may be or the “side” one takes, there is an increasing large amount of blind support (unending support without proper information), bias, and willful ignorance. Increasingly, portrayals of the conflict show clear bias toward either side, describing the horrors the other has committed on the “innocent” group they support. This form of extreme generalization placed upon either side when arguing about who is in the right, solutions, etc., completely disregard the intricacies and complexities this conflict brings. By blaming all of Israel for what only the Israeli government can control or blaming all Palestinians for acts committed solely by Hamas, innocent civilians are being looked at through the action of their government. Now, some may argue that some Israelis or Palestinians may support the acts committed by their respective governing bodies, and while this is true, this fact does not counter the fact that civilians are being killed, no matter their views. Additionally, following spikes in tensions and the recent attacks leading to war being declared, there has been extreme violence committed against members on either side, in and out of the area. A frequent example are acts of antisemitism. Massive increases in cases of recorded antisemitism are a perfect example of how generalization of all Jews as supportive of acts committed by the Israeli government has caused violence against innocents and subjection of unnecessary hatred.
When viewing the Israel Palestine Conflict, there are some distinctions which must be made. One, this is not happening between all of Israel and all of Palestine, there are four (or more) groups: Palestinian citizens, Hamas, Israeli citizens, and the Israeli government. In this war, it is the actions of the Israeli government against the actions of Hamas. Two, no matter which group one supports, if either, support needs to be given to civilians on both sides who are being attacked and are living in fear. While it is true Palestinian citizens are being forced into inhumane living circumstances with food, water, electricity, etc. cut off by the Israeli government, this does not decrease the fact that Israeli citizens are also innocent in this situation. Three, Hamas is a terrorist organization. The United Nations definition of terrorism is “…criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act…”. Following this definition, the actions of Hamas on Israel define it under these guidelines. Four, the common idea that the solution to this conflict is to sign a treaty and have a peaceful two state method, or to just remove Israel or for both parties to live under Israel or Palestine, are, with current circumstances, impossible. In the 75 years that Israel has existed, the present two state solution has been ineffective and only caused conflict, and because of the time Israel has existed, simply kicked all Israeli citizens out of the area would only recreate a similar situation with large numbers of uprooted refugees. And five, Israel deserves to exist. The premise of Israel as a country was to create a Jewish homeland following the atrocities of the Holocaust. The fact that this country of persecuted peoples has begun treating others in a similarly inhumane way cannot be justified by this. But still Israel, under the premise of a Jewish homeland, deserves to exist. An ongoing theme in Hamas’ actions and the actions of some supporting countries are anti-Zionist and antisemitic, Zionism being a movement for the re-establishment of a Jewish nation in the area where Israel now stands. Because of this, anti-Zionism and antisemitism have become irreversibly intertwined into the Israel Palestine conflict.
When it comes to bias, Western countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the entire EU, tend to show support for Israel. Alternatively, countries like Qatar, Iran, Morocco and Egypt, support tends to lean toward Hamas. This bias also exists strongly on a personal level by following the beliefs of one’s identity, community, etc., and absorbing those views onto oneself. While this course of action is understandable, it is important in this situation to find nonbiased sources or sources from both sides and research for yourself, see the information and weigh the actions of both sides without influence of others. Some common biases against Israel frame it as the inciter of violence against the weak Palestine, or the land stealing Israel against the Palestinians who where their first. In the opposite direction, frequent biases against Palestine include claiming antisemitism as the only factor of Hamas’s violence against Israelis, who came their after the Holocaust, or arguing that Palestine was not a cohesive country before the creation of Israel therefor disregarding the culture, history, and traditions that exist. Maintaining that either side is at fault or innocent in the contentious situation shows willful ignorance, especially when said persons attempt to interject their opinions which have no factual backing.
Feeling hatred toward the civilians on either side for the actions of their governing body solely because of some connection to the civilians on the other side is only further enforcing the polar viewpoint. Similarly, when observing the Israel Palestine Conflict like we are, from the outside, even if you have some personal connection, only as what the news or your community presents further enforces the spread/strength of the polar lens. Overall, the most important thing for anyone to do is to recognize that the polarity of the situation presented by the media is overly simplifying the Israel Palestine Conflict and to conduct one’s own research before forming a well-informed opinion.