Which side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should we consider as being “moral”, or more moral than the other?

by Shankface on September 12, 2016 - 8:05pm

The conflicts between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people is an extremely complex geopolitical one that dates back to the creation of Israel itself in 1948, on the land already occupied by the people of Palestine. At first, it was believed the two peoples could share the land and live together in harmony, but it was soon to be discovered that this was not the case, with the Israelis encroaching upon Palestinian land and relocating them, even going so far as to occupy territory of other countries. The debate concerning this conflict is intense and cannot be properly discussed in a small News Summary, but the article written by Ali A. Rizvi of Huffington post, “7 Things to Consider Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East Conflict, can definitely help shed some light up the situation by presenting both sides of the conflict.

 

The author begins the article stating that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a “tribal” one, by which he means that people pick sides without necessarily weighing the good and bad aspects of either position, which is unfortunate, because it leaves very little room for debate on the actual morality of each “point of view” of this dispute. Thankfully, Rizvi goes on to list seven misconceptions and facts that one should consider before choosing which side you support in the conflict.  The first two points he makes concern the religion of the participants and religious roots of the quarrel, because yes, I agree with the author, religion has a big role to play and is a factor that divides the Israelis and Palestinians more than politics ever could. A very pertinent truth that the author points out is that Israel is criticized more than other, worse regimes that kill far more people ( 700 deaths in Gaza in the past 70 years versus thousands in Syria or Iraq) simply because it is jews killing muslims rather than muslims killing muslims.

The next two points discussed in the article are about civilian deaths within the conflict. The first is vague and is about Israeli killings of Palestinians, saying that it goes against their own interests and sparks world-wide disapproval when it happens. Furthermore, the author states that if Israel really wanted to, it has the resources to simply annihilate Palestine, yet seems, as the author puts it, “inefficient” at killing muslim civilians when compared to a force such as ISIS. When compared to point 4 of the article, in which Rizvi goes into extensive detail about Hamas (a Palestinian political/military/terrorist group) using their own people as “human shields” seems to be a tad biased, as there are atrocities committed by both sides. Furthermore, the article states that more Palestinians die than Israelis because their leaders “urge them to endure missile strikes” because it makes them look like victims to the international community. I disagree with this argument, and believe it is simply a reflection of the economic divide between the two groups ; Israel has more systems and better defence systems in place than Palestine could even hope for.

Points five and six of the article talk about the conflict specifically happening in Gaza and the author supports Israel, stating that when they “left” (for lack of a better term) the Gaza strip, Hamas didn’t take the opportunity to develop itself, instead investing in military infrastructure. Throughout these two arguments, the author seems to condemn Hamas and, though I agree that Hamas is not the most moral of groups, they certainly do not represent the majority of the Palestinian population, just as the Israeli administration does not reflect the values of every Israeli. In the final aspect of the article the author does talk a bit about the atrocities committed by Israel, yet continues to persecute Palestine by saying that “these things happen on both sides.”

Though it is presented to be unbiased, I believe that Ali A. Rizvi supports Israel in this conflict, as his arguments seemed to favor them and I got the feeling while reading his article that he was trying to demonize Palestine by associating them to Hamas and also by understating the many immoral actions made by Israel.

 

There are many moral issues present in the conflict between the people of Israel and Palestine, and I believe the main ones to look at are autonomy, sovereignty, order, unity and equality. Though both sides may breach some of these moral principles, I would say that someone who sees Israel as more moral would argue that they stand for order and unity because they actually have the resources required to keep the region stable and when you look at the middle eastern region, despite Israel’s conflicts, they are one of the wealthiest and most stable nations. Someone supporting Palestine would push the values of sovereignty, equality and autonomy as the palestinian people were settled in that area before the creation of the state of Israel and one could argue that they are repressed and even considered as  segregated and second class citizens.

I personally believe that Palestine is the more moral of the two sides, not only because Israel “pushed” them out of their land, but also because Israel occupies the territory of other muslim countries and thus, in my opinion, cannot be considered as more moral because they are denigrating the sovereignty and autonomy of many people. What I find the most immoral, however, is that Israel has such an advantage over the palestinians what with its resources that I perceive them as bullies. I ask you now, dear readers, if you can even consider either side as being “moral”, seeing as both participants have done many horrible acts against each other.

 

- Zackary “Shankface” Bradley

 

 

If there are any problems, my news summary can also be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1u4TwDDnjUrcFAw2usaiyi4FrB5AcmMH55bIx...

 

Article : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-a-rizvi/picking-a-side-in-israel-palestine_b_5602701.html

 

 

 

Comments

This is a fascinating topic, and I'm glad you've chosen to write about it. I however have a very different opinion on the issue, and believe the Israeli's to be in much stronger moral position. To support my opinion, I ask that you take into consideration a few more values than the five you presented. Firstly and most importantly, the value of security. One of the main reasons for the creation to the State of Israel was so that the Jewish people could finally have a homeland, a place where they could live without the fear of persecution that has plagued Jews for literally thousands of years. Isreal today encompasses a region that is roughly equally to an ancient collection of Jewish Kingdoms that existed over 3000 years ago. These kingdom were obliterated by both Assyrians, Babylonians and later, Romans. Ever since, Jewish people have been spread far and wide, and without a home. Without a home, thousands of Jews were burnt at the stake in medieval Europe, 500,000 were murdered in Poland during the 17th century, thousand more were murder during the 18th and 19th centuries during Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire, and 70 % of all remaining European Jews were either shot dead or gassed during the 20th century. So, we get an idea of why the value of security is high for the Jews, and why, morally speaking, a lot can be forgiven if it enables them to finally gain a secure State.

Secondly, the value of hard work. If one looks at the history of Palestine, one can see that it's been a desert wasteland for much of history. So if today there exists anything over which there can even be an Israeli-Palestinian conflict (ie good land), it exists almost exclusively thanks to the brutal hard work that the waves of Jewish zionists put into the land, and not thanks to the ancestors of the modern-day inhabitants of Gaza. The Israelis trully have worked for their country.

Finally, justice. Historically, Palestine actually belonged to Britain during the time that many Jewish people emigrated there. In 1917, Britain signed the "Balfour Declaration", which basically promised Jews a "national home for the Jewish People". So when of Jews show up to claim the nation they've been promised, it seems only just to grant them what's theirs.

I do not believe these to arguments to justify anything, but I do think they should allow for a certain encroachment on the the Palestinian's values of sovereignty and autonomy. What do you think?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most complex and debatable subject in today’s world. Therefore, it is hard for me to pick a side between which one is more moral. However, after reading both of your opinion, I think that Israel have acted less morally than Palestinians. The Israelis were the one to kick the Palestinians out of their territory. They could have try to coexist with them peacefully but instead, they decided to use their authority to neglect and push Palestinians away. It is obvious that violent groups like Hamas have been created because their people have constantly been affected by Israelis’ harsh attitude and that still does not mean that all Palestinians agrees with the actions of this group. Nonetheless, I understand that Israelis wanted to have it all after being victim of the European oppression for so many years, but I also understand something else; you cannot fix someone’s mistake by another mistake. This is why I think Israel have been far from moral throughout this endless conflict. The Palestinians have just tried to defend themselves from Israel’s tyranny.

There is no right or wrong side in this situation; both parties have chosen the path of violence and crime. However, it is crucial to note that this divergence of beliefs also affects politics elsewhere in the world. It has become about more than territoriality; it is all about politics. The U.S. have endorsed Israel ever since president Truman was in office and because of this strong polarization of opinion, U.S. allies have also declared themselves pro-Israeli. I wonder if this anti-Palestinian mindset in the West will be amplified with the current spreading of Islamophobia. I can only imagine this will favor Jewish tradition over its adversaries. Also, I agree with your comment stating that governments cannot possibly fix one problem with another. In this sense, governments should not let themselves be biased by the popularity of Islamophobia and remain impartial and objective while making decisions concerning foreign affairs. I hope Muslims will not suffer from the same religious persecution Jews have endured over the centuries.

I think you have provided a very interesting analysis of the original article and of this conflict as a whole.
In general, I agree with what you have said, except for a few points on which I would like to add another perspective.

First, I don’t really understand the point stating that Israel is more criticized than other countries such as Syria and Iraq even though these two kill many more people. In fact, I don’t know which are the sources used by the original text’s author to say that Israel’s government is more criticized than Syria’s government and ISIS; I mean, aren’t our media constantly criticizing the atrocities committed by Bashar Al-Assad and ISIS for the past few years? Of course, I agree with the fact than the religious dimension of this conflict is present and exacerbate it, as you have argued. However, I don’t think that Israel is more criticized by the global medias because of some anti-Semitism of some sort and I think we need to be careful not to slip on such discourse. I think that the religious dimension is present, but that it happens on both sides; there is probably anti-Semitism among some Muslims, as there is Islamophobia among some Jews. Briefly, I think you agree with me on the idea that this conflict is so contentious not because of a sort of media’s anti-Semitism, but rather because of its origins, which is the creation of the Israeli state, its international geopolitical dimension, its persistence and its religious dimension.

Moreover, I think that we are allowed to criticize one country for the atrocities it commits, even though another country is worse; one does not prevent the other, we can criticize both. I also believe that the author far underrates the number of deaths Israeli government has caused (https://www.amnesty.ca/our-work/priority-countries/israel-and-occupied-p...).

I think we need to recognize that both the Hamas and the Israeli government commit atrocities. It is interesting that the author of the original article develops these atrocities, although he does seem to have his own bias for Israel. However, the problem is that the Palestinian civilians are the first one to suffer from Israeli attacks, while Israel has the means to defend itself from Hamas’ attacks. I think that the Hamas does in fact use human shields to discourage Israel to attack their military bases. It might seem very cruel as a strategy, and it is, but considering the lack of resources of the Hamas to fight Israel, does it really have the choice? I think that the decision of Israel to keep trying to bomb Hamas, even though they know that they will kill civilians by doing so, is very cruel too. Of course, Hamas is a violent organization, but it is also a response to Israel’s violence towards Palestinians. Instead of continuing bombing Hamas and killing civilians simultaneously, I think that Israel, which is in a privileged position, should stop its violent actions and take the lead of peaceful negotiations.

As you have concluded, both sides commit atrocities, but one of the two, Israel, has a privileged position while committing them. I think we must always protect the weaker, and in this case, these are the Palestinians. I hope our governments will soon understand that; I hope the USA will stop financing Israel for geostrategic purposes and I hope the Liberals of Justin Trudeau will stop condemning such pressure movement over Israel as the BDS like they actually do for similar reasons (http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/02/22/motion-israel-justin-trudeau_...).

I totally agree with the author of this review [Zachary “Shankface” Bradley] here, this conflict is definitely one of the most important of the past century and definitely not the simplest one to understand. For years I’ve heard comments on the radio about the terrible acts of Hamas, without ever knowing that there was more to it than terrorist acts from the violent minority of a long suffering nation. People often criticize without knowing or in the case of Ali A. Rizvi’s article; claim being objective while showing subtle sings of bad judgements towards one side or the other, in that case towards Palestine. But, don’t get me wrong, I do not blame Rizvi for having an opinion, it is impossible not to have one and he seemed to have done his best not to show it. My only problem is that most western media platform also claim having that impartiality of judgement while showing somewhat biased documentaries about the awful war acts of Hamas. I think that sadly most of our media, put up that kind of trick, which seems to often work.
Now that I have done some researches on this complex conflict, I tend to stand more on the Palestinian side, again knowing that both sides did plenty of wrong to one another. I can only imagine what it would feel like to slowly lose your home and country to some culturally divergent invaders. On the other hand, the biggest mischief is not on either side but on those who, to lighten their conscience had to come up with such an idea; to give back a symbolic part of land that was not theirs to give. The problem here is that some powerful countries exterminated Jews in the first place. Thus, they had something awfully wrong to redeem themselves from.

I found that both the article and the users comment are interesting. I do agree with what the article and the user said that there are no moral sides to this conflict, in the sense that no matter which side you pick there are positive and negatives aspects to both sides of the argument. If you pick Palestinians side of the conflict then you are in agreement with the notion of the government using its people as a human shield, if you agree with Israel in this conflict then you are agreeing with the deaths of many Palestinians. Even though I do agree with most of what the user said I do however not agree with what the user said that Palestine is more moral out of both countries. Both countries have done inexplicable damage to its country and those living in it. I also do not agree with what the user said that Israel pushed Palestine off their land. Israel was given this land by the United Nations after world war 2. Overall, I do not believe that there is an moral on either side of this conflict, what I do believe is that this conflict has been going on long enough, it is even known to be one of the most important conflicts in the past century. It is time for this conflict to finish, no more civilians should die as a result of this conflict.

I personally disbelieve that either one of them is moral. I think that even though Israel did come to install itself after the Palestinians, that does not make it moral to start a war about getting land back. With this being said, I agree with the user when he says that Israel pushed Palestine off its land. I also believe that it is very unfair for either side when it comes to putting them all in the same bowl. Israel thinks that all Palestinians are part of the Hamas and all Palestinians think that the Israeli are all radicals. This unfortunate mix is what is creating all this because I strongly believe that both could live on the same land some day.

"The U.S. have endorsed Israel ever since president Truman was in office"
Realize the fact that it was only because of antisemitism, especially in the U.S., that the creation of Israel was voted for... the US didn't want more Jews in America, Palestine was a great place to relegate them to, and too bad if there was already a bunch of Palestinians there. The Jews that ended up in Palestine ended up there more out of desperation because they had no home, and many western nations were very happy if that new home was not within there borders.

I personally think that none of the two countries is moral because you never know if someone's decision is really right or wrong. Someone's opinion differs according to their beliefs, values, etc. Also, you won't know the consequences before you put your decision into action. For example, during the world war 2, Russia tried to impose communism into its society, but it did not work because the economist leaders totally forgot about the climate which is not the best for agriculture and transports. Thus, because we are humans, sometimes we overlook some important details that can change everything. That's why, maybe Palestine and Israel have overlooked something and that may have stopped the conflict between them. Also, today, people living in Palestine and/or Israel start to have different thoughts about their conflict, well, at least it differs from their ancestors'. Some will think that their enemy is right others just don't care about the conflict because it doesn't have the same meaning for them than their ancestor. For example, in the article, the author wrote ''many Israelis seem to have the same tribal mentality that their Palestinian counterparts do. They celebrate the bombing of Gaza the same way many Arabs celebrated 9/11.'' This proves to us that even among a certain group of people, there are many of them who are against the group's decision.

Trying to find an answer to which side is the most moral in this conflict is not something that is possible. War is not moral. We could look at the subject from many angles: The geographic position of the conflict being a war zone for more than the last 40 years, the human factor that is religion which creates an animosity that cannot be found in any other kind of conflict else, or even the economic inequality between the two sides of this bloody war. It does not change the fact that choosing a moral side to this issue is impossible because morality will never be a part of war.