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Weingarten: Israel’s turning point

A perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict
Opinion+Editor+Caleb+Weingarten+discusses+why+Sen.+Bernie+Sanders+is+right+about+the+Israel-Hamas+war.+
Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash
Opinion Editor Caleb Weingarten discusses why Sen. Bernie Sanders is right about the Israel-Hamas war.

Although many of the headlines coming out of Israel within recent years have been relatively consistent (conflict between Israel and Palestine), the events of the past few days mark a turning point in Israel’s history. 

After a shocking offensive deployed by Hamas, an Islamic militant group that governs Palestine, Israel launched a full-scale “bombardment” of Gaza a place that over 2 million people call home.

This fierce and deep-rooted battle has already left hundreds dead, injured and in some cases kidnapped. Hamas, for example, is said to have kidnapped children, women, elderly and disabled people. 

Supporters of Israel and Palestine have staunchly opposed one another, leaving little room for the progression of Arab-Jew relations in the Middle East. However, what I believe most people misunderstand is that the blame is on both parties. No, this is not me avoiding to take a consistent position or to have it both ways.

Hamas is not a representation of the Palestinian population. There are definitely those amongst the Palestinian population that support Hamas, but much more is at play than a simple linear connection. The Palestinian Authority (the Hamas opposition within Palestine territories) has consistently been marked for charges of corruption and human rights violations, making it highly untrustworthy amongst the Palestinian people. According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “this has negatively impacted the Palestinian public’s confidence in its leadership’s policies and decisions” and was one of the reasons that Palestinians were “radicalized and ultimately voted for Hamas in the 2006 parliamentary election.” 

Thus, the Palestinian people are stuck between a rock and a hard place: a corrupt Hamas or an equally fraught Palestinian Authority. Is this the fault of the population alone? Or is the fact that Palestinians have been pressured with constant siege from the Israeli state a contributing factor to the uprising of militant groups? If history tells us anything, it is that uprisings eventually occur in the face of tyranny and oppression (especially in the case of Hamas, when you have ample funding from Arab countries). 

Considering these facts, Palestinians are free from the charge of “supporting” Hamas and thereby engaging in the assault on Israel. Even if some civilians do join Hamas, the actions of a couple thousand Hamas soldiers and civilians do not represent the entire population, which is now in danger of an unprecedented Israeli counter-offensive.

Hamas undoubtedly is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. Israeli people do not deserve to be slaughtered as a reaction to their neo-fascist government’s occupation of Palestine. These are people who also lead normal lives and deserve not to be subjected to terror. However, as Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi explained, the Palestinian people have been living in a “pressure cooker” under Israeli occupation. How could anyone not have seen this coming? If we are to hold Hamas responsible for their actions, we, too, must do so with Israel. 

For many years, Palestinians have been subjected to harsh treatment and what some would call an “apartheid state.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to inflict an “unprecedented price,” and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant claimed that Israel will “change the face of reality in the Gaza strip 50 years forward.”

Seeing support for this type of rhetoric is disturbing. War is not a mere game. Just as the destruction of Hamas is wicked and unjustified, so is the lack of accountability by the Israeli government for practically poking the hornet’s nest.

The Western media has also done a poor job of communicating information about this war to its citizens. In many ways, all it aims to do is pit forces against one another. Painting Hamas to represent all Palestinians is irresponsible and not an accurate reflection of the events that have unfolded in the region. U.S. politicians such as Adam Schiff claimed on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “Israel is experiencing its own 9/11.” 

This is a strange comment to make. One can’t say enough how horrid the actions of Hamas are, but why are such comments not made when Israel routinely launches similar catastrophes against Palestine? In the video above with Rashid Khalidi, he described how a Palestinian civilian has died (likely more) every day this year. When this happens, the U.S. offers more aid and moral support to Israel.

All we can do at this point in time is urge some sort of diplomatic solution. There should not be any hope for a sudden end to the war, as it has already occurred for many years. Everyone in this conflict has dirty hands and it is a shame the general population must suffer the consequences of extremism and gross displays of political power. 

Romanian-Jewish poet Naphtali Herz Imber once wrote in his poem Hatikvah 

As long as deep in the heart

The soul of a Jew yearns,

And towards the East, onward,

An eye looks to Zion,

 

Our hope is not yet lost,

The age-old hope,

To return to the land of our fathers,

To the city where David dwelt

With the omission of certain words, this poem can be framed for any movement at any time. All of us want a place in society and a way to interact with our cultural upbringing that doesn’t hinder others from doing the same. A Jewish child has the same value as a Palestinian child and this holds true across humanity.

However, the violations by Hamas and the Israeli government need to be held to a critical, ethical standard and support needs to be given to the civilians of both sides directly. If there is to be a more aggressive ground attack in Gaza by Israeli forces, it need not be at the cost of innocent lives. 

And although a clear solution is anything but apparent, it is clear that this version of politicking does not bode well for the parties involved. The question is: what will it take to stop? 

Editor’s Note: For the sake of article length, I did not include this in the main body, but I encourage all who read this to watch this video. This adds a perspective from a Knesset Member of Israel. 

 

 

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  • D

    David Jackson | Oct 10, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    “Israeli people do not deserve to be slaughtered as a reaction to their neo-fascist government’s occupation of Palestine.”

    Do you have examples of how the Israeli government qualifies as neo-fascist? If you learn anything writing for this paper let it be it’s intellectually bankrupt to fall back on the typical leftist hyperbole of everyone who disagrees with my childish worldview must be a fascist. Please tell us how you define fascism, and how Israel qualifies.

    “One can’t say enough how horrid the actions of Hamas are, but why are such comments not made when Israel routinely launches similar catastrophes against Palestine?”

    When have the Israelis purposely taken civilians out of their homes and cars and cut their throats in the street? How many times have the Israelis bombed busses of urban commuters? When have they parachuted into an outdoor concert and killed unarmed civilians in mass? When the IDF has killed Palestinian civilians, how many times has it done so purposefully, and not been the result of the terrorists they were trying to kill launching rockets on timers from school roof tops knowing the Israeli counter battery will land on and kill the children in the school while the coward terrorists live to murder another day? Using children as human shields and political pawns, the hallmark of the admirable freedom fighter, of the weakling coward?

    Israel has done plenty to provoke the Palestinians over the decades. That does not justify any prevention of them eliminating Hamas from the face of the earth given who they’ve proved to be.

    Reply
    • P

      Please look both ways before you cross the street | Oct 10, 2023 at 7:20 pm

      Fascism is a far-right, authoritarian, ultranationalist political ideology and movement,

      Is Israel’s government far-right? Yes
      Is Israel’s government authoritarian? Yes
      Is Israel’s government an ultranationalist political ideology and movement? Yes

      Conclusion: Israel government is neo-fascist. See how simple that was?

      Where have you been the last 75 years? From 2017 to 2021 fewer than 1% of complaints of violations by israeli military forces against Palestinians, including killings and other abuses, resulted in indictments as stated by Israeli rights group Yesh Din. Everything that you described has been happening to the Palestinians. Israel constantly storms into Palestinian houses without any justification necessary and no investigations are done, or lies are told.

      Here are some names:
      Shireen Abu Akleh – a Christian Palestinian-American journalist. Israel claimed that she was shot while they were exchanging fire with Palestinian militants, but video proof released by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem showed they shot her point blank with the intention to kill. She was wearing her Press jacket.
      Mahmoud al-Sadi – 17 year old boy walking to school (Israel refused to investigate his death)

      and many many more.

      To achieve peace between Palestinians and Israeli we must have the actual intention of wanting peace by willing to act humanely to both sides and we must be willing to hold both sides accountable for the crimes they have committed.

      Reply
      • D

        David Jackson | Oct 10, 2023 at 9:34 pm

        Far right….funny how the fascists of national socialism share the vast majority of domestic policy proposals with the communists of international socialist ideology (censorship, gun control, elimination of private property, ending due process, etc.) yet it keeps getting labeled “far right” by some. It’s almost like those who label it so are intellectually incapable of seeing anything that resides off the socialist end of the spectrum. And yes, to answer your question I do see how simple that was, too simple to take seriously. Please review the second sentence of my post.

        Shocker you ignored the disparity in the use of human shields in the examples I pointed out and simply replied “everything described has been happening to the Palestinians.” Let me know when the IDF starts using school children as human shields or transports gunman and suicide bombers in ambulances for the media hype of demonizing their enemy if they dare target the ambulance.

        Weingarten, the question was yours. Please tell us how you define fascism/neo-fascism, and how Israel qualifies?

        Reply
        • D

          Delusions climb before they sink | Oct 10, 2023 at 10:56 pm

          It is quite absurd and a high degree of stupidity on your end that you believe you define what a far-right government is. It is neither I nor you that decides something, but let us look at the sources. benjamin netanyahu is the chairman of the Likud party also known as the national liberal movement which categorized as a major right-wing political party in Israel. First and foremost to understand Fascism one must understand that Fascism is not based on laws of “liberalism” or “conservatism” rather fascism is based on an ethnic division between “us” and “them” as defined by Jason Stanley, Professor at Yale University. Hence the authoritarianism, hence the ultranationalist political ideology. First and foremost, Likud emphasizes the right of settlement (stealing internationally recognized palestenian land) aka division of us and them. Compare that with left parties of israel. Peace Now supports territorial concession in the West Bank. Geneva Initiative and The People’s voice was led by both Israeli and Palestinian officials to offer representation to both sides. Even more far left leaning political groups go as far as to ask soldiers to refuse to fight in Gaza and the West bank. Again those are the most far left and as you can imagine they are as popular of groups. But all these far left groups have a focus on some kind of Palestinian representation and concession. Here is a direct quote from the Likud party, “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration, and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.” I can continue giving more examples but I feel as though this is already long enough please do some actual research.

          Now on to the next point

          “Let me know when the IDF starts using school children as human shields or transports gunman and suicide bombers in ambulances for the media hype of demonizing their enemy if they dare target the ambulance.” —— One can not even begin to describe the infestation of propaganda that is taking space inside of your head instead of a functioning brain. Where is there proof of this? You are such a hypocrite. You talk of Palestinians “demonizing their enemies” and yet here you are doing the same thing with literal propaganda. One must provide actual sources before making fantastical claims. “Suicide bombers inside of ambulances for media hype” if you climbed your own level of delusion you may find yourself in the heavens.

          Reply
          • D

            David Jackson | Oct 11, 2023 at 6:13 pm

            “It is quite absurd and a high degree of stupidity on your end that you believe you define what a far-right government is.”

            Yet, it’s exactly what you did…

            Also, you can find the evidence for using children as human shields, deliberately attacking civilians, and using ambulances for transport that you dismiss as propaganda from a variety of sources spanning the political spectrum.

            You want to tell me that Israel has been unreasonable in it’s dealings with Palestinians, I’m all ears. You want to defend the actions of Hamas…you’re not here to have a rational discussion not possess the moral integrity to be capable of one.

    • N

      Nichole | Oct 10, 2023 at 11:10 pm

      Dave, to sum up Weingarten as an “intellectually bankrupt / typical leftist” with a “childish worldview” sure seems like you’re a pro at the so-called labeling you keep referring to. Additionally, it comes across as a weak attempt to minimize his opinion which frankly, is ridiculous. Have you ever considered that people may have views that are neither right or left? I credit the author for writing about a serious topic that would certainly be met with opposition and yet, providing some food for thought.

      Reply
      • D

        David Jackson | Oct 11, 2023 at 6:07 pm

        I didn’t sum up Weingarten as anything, I stated “it’s” as in, it is intellectually bankrupt to do so, then asked him for clarification of this thoughts.

        Nichole if you, or the people liking your post for that matter, learn anything in your years here at ISU, it should be to comprehend what you read instead of simply reacting emotionally to it. Failing to do so is frankly ridiculous.

        Reply
        • N

          Nichole | Oct 11, 2023 at 7:31 pm

          Well David, I appreciate the concern. However, rest assured I wasn’t at all emotional. If that’s your impression maybe you need to think about how your time at ISU can benefit your own comprehensive thought process. Have a great night.

          Reply
    • C

      Caleb Weingarten | Oct 10, 2023 at 11:21 pm

      No problem, David. Look for an article tomorrow addressing your points.

      Reply
  • T

    The Reality of Palestine | Oct 10, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    I was very surprised when I say this article posted into the Iowa State Daily. I definitely never thought that this news would reach all the way here, but here we are. Let me start off by saying that I am 100% full blooded Palestinian, so this topic is very important to me. I also would like to applaud you for taking what I thought was a very well put and rounded idea out. To speak from my side, the US media is very biased (when has it not been) and the coverage of not only this war, but frankly any conflict that ever manages to hit the news in the US regarding Palestine/Israel is always very one sided. This topic also tends to be very heated amongst many people (as portrayed in some of these comments). Accusations fly with no context and unfortunately Palestinians tend to be heavily dehumanized. Gaza is categorized as the largest open-air prison in the world. This is interesting phrasing because 43% (almost half) of the population is made up of children. Meaning, children are born and raised in this “prison” without having committed a single crime, their only misdeed is being born as Palestinians. I see fellow comments have already started the unfounded justification of what is being done to all of Palestinians over the role of Hamas. A very small minority in a very large population. First, people conflate Hamas, Palestinians, and Muslims together so let me shed some light on this. First, Palestinians are not only Muslims, but we also have a Christian population as well. Second, there are 2 million Palestinians in Gaza alone and Hamas has a size of about 20,000-25,000. This means that Hamas is about 1% of the population. If anybody believes that the acts of 1% of the population is reason enough stop food, water, and electricity to the rest of the population, 1 million of them children, well……..that says a lot about what kind of person you truly are. Many people will begin what I call “what-abouting,” but frankly over 75 years Israel has committed many international war crimes against the Palestinians that they have never been held accountable for. Israel has thousands of Palestinians prisoners in their prisons today, over 500 of them CHILDREN. To be held in a prison as a Palestinian for an undefined amount, you crime can be as small as throwing a rock or simply existing. Every year, Israeli’s storm the Al-Aqsa mosque and beat those praying inside, kick them out, you must even get a permit to go inside your own mosque as a Palestinian. You can be kicked out of your own home at any time. Many Israeli’s live in on what is internationally recognized as Palestinian territory. One example is the town of Huwara. In this town Palestinians have even segregated roads, there are roads that they are not allowed to enter into or drive on. They have metal fencing that covers their heads because the Israeli’s that live above them throw trash down onto them. All of these do not even begin to explain the horror that Palestinians face. According to the UN from 2008 to 2023, just before this recent war started, the death of Palestinians from Israeli hands is over 6,000 many of them children, journalists, and many many of them just innocent civilians while the death of Israeli’s from Palestinian hands was about 600. This year alone, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed some of them children. I believe that that the numbers speak for themselves. Again, we can always play the game of “what abouts.” What about this? What about that? But frankly this will always lead us nowhere but into the continued cycle of war and death. Reading many articles in the past few days one quote that has stuck with me is that this attack is NOT justifiable but NOT unprovoked. The reinstatement of a very far-right israeli government has caused tensions to rise between Israel and Palestine, and even between Israeli’s themselves (those who are more liberal with those who support the far right). Again, I applaud you for your take because I believe you are 100% right. To hold Hamas responsible for their crimes under international law, we must also be willing to hold Israel responsible as well for their crimes under international law. True peace will never be achieved without both sides being held accountable. Israel can never achieve peace if Palestinians are not able to as well because frankly THEY WILL ALWAYS LIVE TOGETHER. Whether you believe in a two-state solution, one-state solution, or any other solution, Israeli’s and Palestinians will continue to exist next to each other, and no peace will be reached if any side violates the human right that the other holds.

    Reply
  • S

    Shankar Subramaniam | Oct 10, 2023 at 9:55 am

    A balanced and courageous article, given the one-sided coverage of the Palestinian crisis in the US media. I am happy to see that the Iowa State Daily has such thoughtful writers.

    Reply
    • C

      Caleb Weingarten | Oct 10, 2023 at 10:00 am

      Your words are too kind. Thank you so much!

      Reply
  • S

    Sue Levin | Oct 10, 2023 at 9:07 am

    You are missing the big picture. No one forced Hamas to act as barbarians murdering hundreds of innocent people, 250 of which were students and young people at a concert. It could be your students. There is no defense for taking woman, children and the elderly as hostage, threatening to kill one at a time, live as Israel retaliates. Did Hamas think that this would not endanger the Palestinians who live in Gaza? Communities are committed to peace but this won’t end when evil and darkness by terrorists continues.

    Reply
    • C

      Caleb Weingarten | Oct 10, 2023 at 9:20 am

      I believe you misunderstood my article. Hamas is not justified! I said this repeatedly. You’re 100% right in saying that there is no defense for their actions against innocent Israeli people. However, my point is that we can not justify an Israeli “siege” on Palestinian civilians because of the crazed desires of Hamas. As I stated in the article, Hamas is separate from the Palestinian population but the civilians are bearing the brunt of Hamas’ actions. However, to act as if they weren’t continuously provoked by an oppressive Israeli government is a myth. Never does it justify their actions, but history tells us this happens quite often when groups are oppressed. Hamas is a terrorist organization and has no future as the leaders of Palestine. However, the PA is just at corrupt and oppressive, so what are the Palestinian people to do when they have three regimes to face?

      Reply
      • S

        Sue Levin | Oct 10, 2023 at 12:33 pm

        The plight of in the Middle East is thousands of years in the making and finding a 2 state solution will not be achieved with military response. The Israeli government’s response for the safety of the people of Israel AND the Palestinian is utmost as they retaliate. It is Hamas who took no consideration to a single Palestinian child. An answer for peace in the Middle East and a better life for those in the midsts of terror….I pray that it is this next generation who can end conflict with respect and open minded conversion.

        Reply
        • C

          Caleb Weingarten | Oct 10, 2023 at 3:29 pm

          I agree with everything that you said except that blame is only on Hamas. A Palestinian has died every day this year at the hands of Israeli forces. However, you are correct in saying that Hamas didn’t take the Palestinian civilians into account. Hamas is dangerous and untrustworthy. Given this fact, the attacks on Palestinian civilians are still not justified and neither were Hamas’ against Israel.

          Reply
    • N

      Nichole | Oct 10, 2023 at 10:17 am

      Sue, this article in no way supports, justifies or minimizes the horror that innocent Jewish civilians suffered. The author clearly states this many times . In regards to your point about Hamas endangering Palestinian lives, I’m sure we can all agree terrorist organizations do not value human life on either side. He called out Hamas for “war crimes”. It’s past time we look into all the facts that led up this and the ongoing war! It may require looking from other viewpoints, which is my take away from this article.
      Shalom.

      Reply
  • S

    stop your lies | Oct 10, 2023 at 3:20 am

    some cases kidnapped??
    you mean Israeli children, grandmother 85 year old, girls that taken from a music party (some was rape in process)

    You also forgot to mention more than a thousand murdered Israelis, most of them civilians.
    Houses with children inside were set on fire, heads chopped off ISS style. A nature party where at least 250 civilians were massacred, girls who were raped and kidnapped to Gaza.
    All these things were recorded live by the killers and uploaded to the web!!!

    Congratulations, Gaza has been released, would you agree to release them near your children?

    Reply
    • C

      Caleb Weingarten | Oct 10, 2023 at 9:13 am

      You’re completely right! Never did I say this was permissible. Actions like this can NEVER be justified. I say this repeatedly throughout the article. I’m heartbroken seeing what happened against the Israeli people by Hamas. However if we are not going to acknowledge that the same things are happening to Palestinians (civilians are under a “complete siege”), then no compromise will be reached. Thus, no peace!

      Reply
  • F

    f.g. | Oct 9, 2023 at 11:34 pm

    You’re right! Hamas isnt right but neither id Israel. I hope it gets settled soon. Thanks for your article

    Reply