Both Israel and Palestine are to blame for unending conflict
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
A common element to American thinking is developing a dichotomy to perceive things. What I mean by this is the common outlook of ‘either or,’ ‘good guys vs. bad guys,’ ‘for us or against us,’ ‘Democrat vs. Republican’ and ‘pro-Israel vs. pro-Palestine.’
The latter has been visible since the escalating tensions between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza. Activists on both sides of the dichotomy have been vocal on social media by restating and reaffirming common positions. However, depicting the unrest in the Holy Land with this common dichotomy is erroneous and harmful.
There are no “good guys” in this conflict. Both parties have been aggressive at times. No one is entirely innocent. If one is going to look objectively, both parties have legitimate grievances. You cannot view this conflict in black and white. It is perhaps the grayest area in the world. We must recognize each fault and strive to fix it, no matter whose fault it is.
The root of the problem is that both parties have been dehumanized to some extent. Israel has been dehumanized by questions and threats to its very existence as a nation. Palestinians have been dehumanized by human rights violations and poor humanitarian conditions. This dichotomy as set up by America has allowed for further dehumanization by perpetuating antagonistic attitudes.
To achieve peace, we must move beyond an ‘either or mentality’ and seek both parties out. The only way to a peaceful solution is to create an environment where both parties can live long and prosper. This can only be done if we move to being both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian. Some basic positions this stance must encapsulate are uprooting the underlying causes and treating everyone with the dignity they deserve. Israelis deserve to live without fear of rocket attacks. Palestinians deserve the dignity and rights that should be bestowed upon all human beings.
Identifying the problem is much easier than finding a solution. The nuances that influence the current situation are difficult to fully understand when looking at problem happening across the globe. Looking at the problem through a dichotomy is like using a monocle to improve your eyesight — you only see the half of the world you choose to.
When you are looking for a solution, you should use the proper lens so you can see the solution that is just beyond the horizon.
So long as the contentions view the Arab-Israeli conflict as a struggle between a party who is right and a party who is wrong, no one will. Any peaceful solution will require working with the Israeli government and accepting its continued existence. Any peaceful solution will require treating Palestinians with respect and improving their plight.
Viewing the conflict as a dichotomy creates the impression that it is not possible for Palestinians and Israelis to live together. This is entirely false. Israelis and Palestinians, in a nutshell, are neighbors who both desire peace. Reconciling every difference is almost impossible, but it is possible to strive for peace. You must support what is right, rather than what you think is right.
Wilburn is a sophomore majoring in human rights and political science.