So, I‘ve avoided the whole Palestine-Israel thing for a while now.
The entire Middle East thing seems a mess. He said, she said, America took this, England gave away that. With all the biased media its hard for some uninformed people to figure out how everything got to this point, and more importantly, why the United States and so much of the world is essentially ignoring the deaths of over 1,000 people in Gaza.
Gaza is locked between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. It is literally a strip of land that is, and I had to look this up, 25 miles long and about 7 miles wide. Just looking at it on a map I feel claustrophobic. It‘s borders are “closed“ by Israeli forces. Apparently in relation to the recent attacks, this means no reconstruction aid will be allowed to pass into Gaza unless Hamas has nothing to do with it.
Hamas, Hamas, Hamas. There is so much dialogue about this organization and how they‘ve terrorized the world. Hamas is the government party in Gaza and it focuses on Islamic Resistance. It is infamously known for its attacks on Israeli civilians. Hamas in a nutshell: The United States, Israel and three other countries consider it a terrorist organization.
And that may very well be true. Killing civilians is not cool. But, today any kind of Islamic retaliation to anything is considered terrorism. Terrorism is defined by the Department of Defense as the “calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.“ Hmm.
According to Robin Wright in her book Dreams and Shadows, and multiple other sources, “up to 90 percent of [Hamas‘] resources and staff were devoted to a huge network of social services, schools, clinics, welfare organizations, and women’s groups.” This includes the tunnels from Gaza to Egypt used to smuggle in food.
The world doesn‘t seem to acknowledge the latter fact about Hamas. Between the last two facts (the definition of terrorism and Wright‘s statistic) Hamas is similar to many other forms of government and military power. But if it is true that 90 percent of its resources goes to social services, this terrorist organization puts the United States to shame in terms of taking care of its own.
Does the war in Iraq count as terrorism? More relevant to this topic, how do the attacks from Israel into Gaza not count as terrorism?
In nearly a month of attacks from Israel to Gaza, about 1,300 people have been killed. The attacks on Gaza are supposedly justified because the war is a response to militants in Gaza firing rockets into Israel. I‘ve looked around for some stats on deaths in Israel caused by Hamas. Numbers ranged from 13 casualties during this war to as many as 480 since 1993. In 22 days, over twice as many Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces than Israelis by Hamas in over a decade. I do not condone violence, I do not support Hamas‘ attacks, but the double standard that is repeatedly seen between the Islamic nations and the rest of the world needs to be addressed.
It‘s difficult to talk about the Middle East war without adding to the dichotomy. Palestine, Israel, the United States have leaders and extremists that make decisions which are outside the control of the citizens. But it is completely and solely the responsibility of citizens to change the ideology that it is okay to avoid something so saliently wrong because of patriotism to something as abstract as national borders.
So let‘s start by changing the definition: Terrorism (noun): Any action by an Islamic country that neither the United States nor its allies agree with, regardless of instigation by the latter countries. See: Bin Laden. See: Iraq. See: Gaza.
SARA KOHGADAI is at firstname.lastname@example.org.