The past two weeks had been chaotic for both Palestinians and Israelis. When I came across Shiraz Otani’s opinion on the matter in Pipe Dream, I found myself contemplating as to what it would be like to be stuck in a war between these two states.
In her article, Otani only sheds light on one side of the narrative: the Israeli point of view. This is tragic but also predominant in Western media, as Israel is given more salience when compared to Palestine. In fact, Palestinians have been portrayed by the Western media as “irrational” and “angry” creatures, too emotional and weak. Additionally, the mainstream Western media tends to focus on the Palestinian reaction rather than the Israeli action, suggesting that the Palestinians are on the offense when in fact they are merely on the defense. Such a situation is demonstrated in Otani’s article as she depicts the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) senior commissioner as a terrorist, “the driving force behind most terror activities emanating from the Gaza Strip.” Although this statement holds true, majority of Palestinians are not involved in PIJ, and they are still portrayed as the attacker by Otani, who blames Palestinians for “250 rockets directed at the Jewish state.”
She fails to mention that these rockets were in retaliation to the air raids targeting Abu al-Ata, in which Israel killed not only the intended target, but also 34 civilians in the Gaza Strip. The victims of the attacks included children: Firas, 3 months old, Salim, 3 years old, Mohannad, 12 years old, Moaaz, 7 years old and Waseem, 13 years old. To reiterate, the youngest victim of the Israeli attack was only 3 months old. Furthermore, in a statement made by an Israeli military spokesperson on Nov. 15, the military insisted that their attack only targeted an “Islamic Jihad military infrastructure” and “no civilians were expected to be harmed as a result.’’ The truth of the matter is that “16 civilians were among the 34 Palestinians killed in the the two-day round of combat,” according to Gaza health officials. The children who were killed during the missile attack were sleeping at the time of the attack. How can one justify the killing of innocent lives at the time of aggression? On the Israeli side, 17 civilians were “lightly wounded in rocket attacks across the south,” where an 8-year-old girl, who is mentioned by Otani in her article, was treated by medics after she collapsed because of the growing tension between the two sides.
I agree with Otani’s main assertion that attacks taking place in Israel should not be trivialized, but only on the condition that the world also regards the attacks on Palestine in the same light. Just as Israel receives media attention when the country is attacked by Palestine, the same should be the case when Palestine is under attack by Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been going on for decades now, and it is often overlooked by many in America, as it is a conflict that may seem merely repetitious and not salient for individuals living in a different continent. But when talking about the conflict, it is crucial to regard both sides of the narrative. What Otani wrote in her article was factually correct and her opinion on the matter is well respected, but as college students in a diverse learning environment, and as intellectuals who would be responsible for shaping the future, we should look at both sides of a picture and then use our better judgment to conclude which side is truly the victim and which one is the oppressor.
Mahum Nazar is a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law.