Israel-Palestine not an all-or-nothing issue

by Dana Tsuri-Etzioni, Staff Columnist

The situation in the Middle East is complicated, and as someone from Israel who visits every year, I can confirm the conflicts are not as black and white as they are often portrayed. In the tensions between Palestine and Israel, there is not one party that is wholly just.

The Obama administration declined to veto a United Nations resolution to end Israeli settlements — this had quite an impact on Israelis. Following Trump’s inauguration, the Israeli Knesset declared the settlements to be legal — this had quite an impact on Palestinians.

This is a controversial this topic. People take sides and do not stop to consider the other. Staying quiet is no way to deal with political issues, however. When talking about Israel and Palestine, it is important to remember the human beings involved, rather than the countries or their leaders. That can be difficult because this dispute is unlike many others.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is one that hits people close to home. It is more than just a conflict between countries. Humans have the capacity for compassion, yet this conflict is void of empathy.

At a talk at San Diego State by Lucy Aharish, the first Arab Israeli news reporter who is Muslim, she said something had happened to her to make her hate Arabs for a long period of time. She said her family could not understand — it was like she was hating herself and who she was. When she grew older, fellow Israeli students hated her for being Muslim and Arabic, which made her feel like she never belonged to either group because she identified with both.

To many people, the conflict is black and white. One side is completely right and the other completely wrong. But both sides have their wrongs, and both have killed innocent people.

Being Israeli, people assume I am on the Israeli side, and that I believe my country is in the right. This is not true. I do not agree with the way extremist Israeli groups handle the conflict, just as I do not agree with the way Palestinian organizations handle it.

When I visited Israel during wartime a few years ago, I witnessed the pain both sides endured and my heart ached for both — not just for my country.

It is necessary for strong Non-governmental organizations to rise in Israel and Palestine to mediate the conflicts and the impact governmental actions have on populations as a whole, just as the American Civil Liberties Union helps protect the rights of Muslims in the U. S.

It is not a conflict that will be solved over many years, let alone overnight. But, if people started viewing it as a more complex, nuanced conflict and realize that this is a battle between human beings rather than states, we would be a step closer to finding neutrality.