In the aftermath of the horrific attacks, my Instagram became bombarded with the reactions of my Israeli peers ranging anywhere from compassionate sympathy to outrage and among others, calling for the death penalty for terrorists and the annexation of Gaza. Of course, the former proposal is quite popular among right-wing Israelis especially, despite evidence to prove that even this punishment doesn’t deter the most committed terrorists.
While as an Israeli, watching hundreds upon hundreds of my people being murdered is horrific, Israelis can’t seem to come to terms with the fact that the other side experiences nothing short of patriotic heartbreak close to every single day. For Palestinians, dangerous extremists committing battery and oftentimes murder is not a once-every-year, two-year, or ten years type of situation. Jewish religious extremists live in the territory that is internationally regarded as Palestine and they don’t do it respectfully, either. For those who read newspapers, it’s quite obvious; some Israeli Jews love to show off in the West Bank and not just that. They often throw rocks at cars, houses, and people. They are violent. For Palestinians, these are not surprise attacks. But an everyday reality.
In the same way that Israelis pray for the well-being of IDF soldiers, Palestinians pray for the well-being of those who they regard as those fighting for their freedoms, and those people are often regarded as terrorists by Israel and the world.
In Israeli eyes, the IDF and their sister organizations are simply keeping peace in their day-to-day activities, while in reality, they are only jacking up tensions and wasting the answering capabilities of the military of the state they have sworn to protect. Hamas is a terrorist organization, but Hamas operatives do what is right in their eyes. They are not doing right things, things that are just, but Israel doesn’t understand what is necessary if it wants to protect its people.
As Israel cries horrible screams citing unjustifiable acts, it disregards the fact that it has killed thousands of Palestinian people over the last decades. Even if a part of these killings are justified, I maintain that the IDF does indeed kill Palestinians that didn’t deserve to die.
I don’t want Israelis to be killed. Why would I? I’m an Israeli. It says so on my Israeli passport, ID card, and the card that shows I’m an oleh hadash. I want justice for Palestine. This is certainly not it, and I’m yearning for progress for an unobserved, oppressed people.
I believe that Hamas is trying to fight back, trying to represent its people in a decades-long fight. No matter how much I want Palestinian freedom, Jews dying doesn’t mean freedom for Palestinians. Israel shutting down essential services for every Gazan is an inhumane, cruel display of collective punishment. Saying ‘leave Gaza’ to an eternally besieged people, to people living in an open-air prison is unbelievable.
Palestinians deserve the West Bank as their home, Palestine. And while I believe that Hamas’ acts can set Palestinians back, I also know that for decades, they have not been given their deserved right to freedom and self-determination. What they got was a treatment that worsened and worsened, year after year, with no regard for the sanctity of human life.
Palestinians don’t deserve this treatment, and seeing how irresponsible the Israeli government is, a blowout like this was waiting to happen.
As they always do when something like this happens, Israel and Israelis will search for the most satisfying vengeance they can bring upon Palestinians while completely missing the point: Peace with Palestinians will never happen without making peace with the Palestinians.
And that is something that Israel could never truly do.