So this story pops up on my Facebook newsfeed and other iterations that insinuate equal hurt on both sides, to condemn each acts of brutality in the same fold, etc. This is a stance that many have chosen to take. This is no personal attack on Ari Shapiro (though I haven’t been a fan of his prior work, to say the least), but these headlines are grossly misleading and perpetuate the notion that this is an equally fought war and remaining neutral is best. It is not.
For starters, there is no “Israeli-Gaza border”. “Border” is a sanitized term that doesn’t even begin to exemplify the conditions under which Palestinians and Israelis are divided. What exists is an apartheid barrier and razor wire that restricts Palestinian mobility and has given way to declaring Gaza as the largest open air prison on Earth. Israelis however, do not have that repression in where they go and what they do. Palestinians have to get visas just to travel to and fro. There are military checkpoints criss crossed all throughout besieged Gaza. The West Bank has seen the highest rate of Palestinian demolished homes in the past several years to erect illegal Jewish settlements (but what’s the use of legality if it isn’t even enforced?). Thousands of Palestinians go without access to water, food and medical supplies (there’s even an official “diet” and calorie monitor on Gaza) and stand at the mercy of the Israeli government.
Hamas does none of this. Hamas doesn’t go into Tel Aviv and stop pregnant Israeli women at military checkpoints and allow them to die whilst in labor. Hamas doesn’t burn down Israeli primary agriculture and kill livestock. Hamas doesn’t have the political and monetary backing of the most powerful institutions on Earth. Hamas isn’t rooted in genocide and deliberate eradication of indigenous populations. Hamas didn’t go out to Lebanese refugee camps and kill hundreds of Israelis and brag about it in interviews. To go over the vast array of crimes committed by the Israeli government and IDF and not Hamas could easily lead into a dissertation. To compare the two, how they were formed and what their end goals are is flagrantly dishonest.
However, many Israel sympathizers seem intent on portraying Hamas as half of the problem and causing half the destruction. Statistics and fact however, point otherwise. Since the start of this entire situation, over 80 Palestinians have died (with the number escalating at tremendous proportion) and hundreds being admitted to hospitals for life threatening injuries. On the Israeli side, however no one has died and no one has been admitted to seek medical care.
Given these facts, its deplorable to suggest that they are “feeling the same fear”. The Israeli fear is largely hyperbolized, with no sustainable material destruction to call their own, whereas the Palestinian fear is rooted in historical context of military occupation, genocide, lack of infrastructure of international recourse for their demolished homes and being on the receiving end of ethnic supremacist violence for the past 66 years.
This article is lazy. Its the journalistic equivalent to holding one’s hand over their ears and eyes, forgoing all fact, surrounding context and masquerading apathy and carelessness as a reasoned egalitarian approach. To be crystal clear, to tackle this “conflict” (for the record, its no conflict, its the continued violence of a settler state upon the colonized) takes looking back to the days of Deir Yassin, Nakba and then on. This is hardly about the three missing Israeli boys. This isn’t retaliation or retribution. Its heightened violence with an ostensible justification and the pretext of more subtle violence that’s been imminent to the Zionist project.