Israel and Palestine: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Israel and Palestine: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Meredith Morgan, Staff Writer

It’s a story as old as the hills; two groups want the same thing but can’t share, and both feel entitled. Since the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 Israelis and Palestinians have lived in somewhat peaceful, albeit tense, conditions with one another. What started the violence occurring now between the two groups after this period of compromise was an unfortunate case of misunderstanding that ended in the loss of innocent lives.

In 2013 three Israeli teens went missing and were later found dead at the Arab-Israeli border between the Palestinian and Israeli areas. Israeli groups immediately attributed the deaths to Palestinian forces and retaliated, killing Palestinian youths. The conflict has since escalated and resulted in terrible bombing campaigns from both sides with several lives lost in areas being vacated and destroyed. Egypt stepped in to facilitate peace talks between the two groups and have started reaching middle ground.

The conflict spurred both sides to take violence as a means of furthering their cause, the most dangerous of these being the Palestinian group Hamas which had existed underground for years prior to the 2013 incident but has risen to notorious prominence in recent months. Hamas has been identified as a terrorist organization by the US and its allies, the group is responsible for much of the violence on the Palestinian side.

For many outsiders the answer seems obvious: just divide up the land and give each a piece. If only it were that easy. This kind of agreement is known as a “Proposed Two-State Solution” but neither side feel that compromising any of their land is a solution and therefore it has failed in peace talks in the past. The conflict dates back to centuries before when both groups’ religious identities are grounded in a claim to the same land. For the Palestinians it is their Islamic faith; for Israelis it is their Jewish faith. Both are tied to the same land area and city of Jerusalem and neither wants to compromise and lose a piece of their promised land. Foreign sympathizers and their involvement has also caused further tension in the area with the US being the largest and strongest support and ally to Israel, supplying nearly all of its military resources. Allies to the Palestinian cause are countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia which raises concerns for the US given its tense past with both. For peace to exist in this region compromises must be made but for now, neither one is willing to set their weapons down first.

At PC there is a strong emphasis on inclusive and ecumenical acceptance of all cultures and backgrounds. Being that PC is a religiously affiliated college, students, faculty, and staff have an important calling to reach out to those from different religious backgrounds and respect others’ human rights.

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