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Israel and Palestine’s complicated history makes it difficult for some to pinpoint who is at fault.

Graphic by Corbin Chaney ’25
The flags of Israel and Palestine (top to bottom) next to each other to show the solidarity between them that many are seeking.

Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, with thousands of rockets whilst Hamas’ troops poured over Israel’s border by sea, land and air, utilizing brutal tactics to clear out Israeli defenses and seize villages. Unfortunately, if recent news is to be believed, the tactics that the Israeli army is set to use for its counter-invasion against Hamas–which has a large number of forces in Gaza–bring little hope that they will be substantially more humane than their foes. 

This never-ending conflict has impacted my personal life long before Hamas’ most recent attack. As someone who is part of the Jewish diaspora and as someone who has traveled to both Israel and the West Bank–a Palestinian territory–this conflict has always hit close to home. For one, I know people whose families have been directly impacted by the conflict–some are members of the Israeli Defense Force, while others have family members who have been taken hostage by Hamas. While these facts may already prompt one to choose sides, everybody should at least possess a history–albeit relatively brief–of this conflict. 

As someone who is part of the Jewish diaspora and as someone who has traveled to both Israel and the West Bank–a Palestinian territory–this conflict has always hit close to home.

— Corbin Chaney ’25

The lands now known as Israel and Palestine are marked by a complex history of different peoples and rulers. Originally inhabited by the Jewish people, the region experienced foreign rule and Jewish expulsion under the Babylonian Empire. While Jews still lived in the lands in later years, after a failed revolt against the Romans in 132 CE, they were banned access from Jerusalem–their holy city. The Romans named the land Palestine, while certain Arabs from the Middle East were referred to as Palestinians when they settled in Palestine when the Jewish presence declined due to various empires’ control. The Ottoman Empire took over in the 14th century and Palestine was later administered by the British after World War I.

 World War II’s horrors, including the Holocaust, spurred the Zionist movement’s growth, advocating a Jewish homeland in Israel. This led to the formation of the state of Israel after the Jews’ struggle for independence from the British. This change sparked tensions with Palestinian Arabs who opposed mass Jewish migration and the creation of Israel. The conflict resulted in the division of land, with Palestinians pushed into the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and neighboring nations after losing the 1948-Arab-Israeli-War. 

Current map of the land owned by Israel (light green) and the Palestinian Territories (orange). (Photo contributed by Flickr)

Israel has been the major power throughout the land, while the Palestinians have increasingly been oppressed. In 2006, the Palestinian people in Gaza elected Hamas to be the major ruling party of Gaza. Hamas vowed to destroy Israel. Multiple smaller conflicts between Israel and Hamas have occurred, but the most major conflict started this October. In response to Hamas’s attack, Israel has launched an attack of their own, but it also cut off water and electricity for the innocent citizens of Gaza, which is already more impoverished than Israel. Israel has used white phosphorus projectiles in their attack on Gaza, which can cause major fires and burn through human tissue and is an overall hazard to the Palestinian population. 

Israel has committed another number of atrocities against members of the Muslim community and Palestinians, such as the 2021 raid of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan. In 2023 alone, over 5,000 Palestinians were killed by Israelis and 1.4 million Palestinians have been displaced due to this humanitarian crisis. On another hand, however, innocent Israelis have also been victims of this conflict, with over 1,400 Israelis being killed so far by Hamas, with hundreds of them being kidnapped, sexually assaulted and kidnapped by Hamas, many of them being innocent children.  

Hamas is not a democratic government, as they haven’t held any elections since they consolidated power in 2006. They are a major perpetrator of the entire conflict, citing their human rights violations, such as keeping their missiles and firing them out of civilian population centers like schools and medical centers. They have also been involved in the killing of many of their own people in the hospital bombing merely weeks ago, which they have blamed Israel for, although it was their fault. 

As a Jewish individual, I do believe the Jews have the right to live in their ancestral homeland, but the manner in which they returned to their Holy Land and consolidated power is a very gray area on its overall morality. While Israel has the right to defend itself, no question, it is hard to fully support them considering the complicated history over the land and the constant oppression of Arabs and Palestinians by the far-right Israeli government. Hamas’s government and reign of terror and oppression over innocent Israelis and Palestinians need to be taken control of, as the actions they have committed cannot be justified either, especially against their own people. Overall, both sides have done things that are quite hard to fathom, and to truly understand the conflict at hand, you need to take both sides into account. People who support either side or neither side need to do sufficient research into the situation to come up with their own conclusions that are not blindly based on the propaganda coming from both sides or things people say on social media.

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About the Contributor
Corbin Chaney ’25
Corbin Chaney ’25, Staff Writer
Staff Writer Corbin Chaney ’25 joined Inklings because he enjoyed Introduction to Journalism and writing articles. He is looking forward to writing opinions because he likes to express his thoughts through writing. “Opinions tell people so much about you as a person and your beliefs, and I am an expressive person, so writing opinions is something I like to do,” Chaney said.  In addition, Chaney enjoys traveling in and out of the United States. “San Diego was one of my favorite places I have visited,” Chaney said. “The weather is very nice, and I love the vibe of the area.”

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    scottNov 5, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    recommend watching the video at youtube showing former members of the zionist (self-described) alexandroni brigade laugh at having slaughtered palestinians in the 1940s, and consider also the decimation of the former palestinian village of ikrit, tantura and others. it is less complicated than your article states. recommend also the site akevot dot org dot il and read the IDF documents which admit and condemn their own actions.