The numbers of deceased and injured increased exponentially during only ten days: 508 deaths and 3000 injured to 1712 deaths and 9080 injured, and these numbers keep increasing. The conflict in the Middle East is actually nothing new. Complicated regions with different religions, anti-government movement, terrorists, and mass buried oil, Middle East is a very land with over two thousand years of conflict between Palestine and Israel. Recently, the eyes of the world have been focusing on Gaza and its bombing of Israel.
Brief History of Israel, Palestine Conflict
The conflict between Palestine and Israel can be summed up through the conflict between Jews and Muslims. When Jews left Palestine in 637, Arabs, unified under Islam, conquered Rome and took Palestine. Since then, Palestine became a very complicated and conflicting region, considered as a holy land by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. After the second world-war ended, Jews who had lost their land came back to Palestine to create the nation called Israel. For the Zionism movement, Jews attempted to go back to the old land, where Mount Zion was, but faced the refusal of the Arabs who were living in Palestine during the time. Four Middle East wars occurred, and Israel people began to inhabit most of Palestine area. Islamists, who felt threatened by the increasing influence of Israel, attempted terrors through Islamist resistance movement groups such as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Since then, the bloody conflict has continued. Even though the Oslo Accords has been signed, the agreement is not showing a practical change or an end to the conflict.
Palestine, Mourning Gaza Strip
There have been various peace treaties, such as the Camp David agreement in 1979, the Oslo Accords in 1993, and even the road map for Middle East peace in 2003. Despite all these national, regional, and international attempts to bring peace back to the Middle East, four major wars have occurred. Currently in 2014, the Palestine armed group Hamas is controlling the Gaza strip and the moderate party Papa inhabits in West Bank. The Gaza Strip is the land where Palestine could have attained through uprisings when Jews drove Palestinians out and founded the country Israel. However, since Israelites are blocking the roads with humongous walls and water ways with Marines, people in Gaza barely survive with smuggled goods from underground tunnels.
When Hamas shoots inferior handmade rockets and bombs that are made of chemicals in resistance, Israel responds with much more sophisticated and destructive weapons. Last July 17th, Israel bombed Kujah village, with steel arrows called “six flechett,” which look like 3.7 cm length drills. Arrow bombs fired from tanks blast in the air, scattering thousands of steel arrows. This is a mass killing weapon. To the point of August 3rd, among the 1712 deceased, 398 children, 207 women, and 74 old people have died. This means that 80 percent of the dead were civilians. In contrast, there were only 61 soldiers and 3 civilian deaths for Israel.
Israel indiscriminately attacked villages and apartments in Gaza claiming that Hamas must be hiding in the residence of the civilians. Al Shifa Hospital was crowded with injured people who were carried from all around the Shazia region, and this area became a ruin by the merciless assaults with the interval of five seconds. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestine self-government even named this event “massacre.” UN the Security Council held an emergency conference for the ceasefire of Gaza conflict on July 20th, but they could not find any apparent way out.
The Response of Palestine and the Media
Palestine has been dealt a great blow by Israel, and Palestinians do take action to resist against Israel’s attack. Hamas armed group shoots rockets and commits terrors. Hamas even mentioned that “Even if Israel troops withdraw, our attack toward Israel would not stop.” Israel and Palestine attempted a ceasefire agreement a couple of times, but it has not been realized. “We concluded that any of our further conversations would not work,” denounced the Finance Minister of Israel, Yuval Steinitz. However, this kind of report that Palestine’s bombardment assault was the response to Hamas armed forces may be biased and a narrow sighted broadcast tilted toward Israel. In reality, the assault of Palestine and that of Israel can never be compared. The number difference of deceased supports this. In addition, Israel is supplied with state of the art weapons, while Hamas’s armed forces uses clumsily manufacture chemical rockets.
Nevertheless, western media, including that of America which supports Israel, consider Israel’s assault as the ‘response’ toward the Palestine’ rocket or as a ‘conflict’ between them, blaming both countries equally. BBC broadcasted, “The conflict between Israel and Hamas’s conflict has continued, but Israel is concerned about the damage near the regions of Jerusalem,” and ABC reported, “Today, rockets are showering down in Israel.” The Gaza Strip is apparently Palestine’s region as mentioned in either the Oslo’s Accords or international law, but the Gaza region has been blocked up from the outside world and became ‘a prison without bars.’ Since Korean media relies on the reports from overseas and are influenced by western society a lot, they tend to broadcast one-sided news as well. This is the reason why we need to look at situations with our own eyes objectively.
Incapacity of the International World
The spotlight is on the international society and UN. American President Brock Obama announced in a press conference at the White House on July 21th, “Israel has their right to protect themselves from the attack of Hamas’s rockets and underground tunnel attacks,” and showed his concern, “We do not want to see any more sacrifice of civilians.” Turkey designated four days beginning from 22nd of June as the day of condolence and criticized Israel. The Turkey Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed out the recent movement of Israel and condemned it as “the barbarism that goes even farther than that of Hitler.”
On the other hand, Hamas claimed that without the removal of a blockade, they would never respond to the pressure of a ceasefire from the international world. The political leader of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh proclaimed, “170 million Gaza people share the same goal of removing the blockade of Gaza just as Hamas. We cannot go back to the state of ‘quiet death.’” Palestine civilians are helplessly suffering, and the international society does not have any clear and straight forward solution. Other countries are passively looking at this situation with rage and irritation but do not come up with any certain solution or action. Witnessing the lack of change even after the pressure of ceasefire of the international society, there has been voices of doubt about how competent the international society is.
The solution of Apartheid
In order to resolve the Palestine conflict with a great number of deceased, some people argue that we need to take a glimpse at the Apartheid of South Africa Republic, which saw the abolition of extreme discrimination policy. The World Reformed Church former secretary general, current CEO of Oikos Life Wave, Park Seong Won, suggested, “Palestine conflict cannot be solved without concentrating the power of international civilian society and pressuring Israel all together, just as the Apartheid of South Africa.” The international society can practically pressure Israel through BDS which are boycott, divestment, and sanction. The Apartheid of South Africa that had continued for about two hundred years had been abolished after the unending pressure of international society, in the form of boycott of the products from South Africa, banning them from participating in the Olympic Games, in 1994 with the start of the regime of President Nelson Mandela.
Palestine nongovernmental organizations were inspired by the anti-movement of discrimination happened in 2005 in South Africa and started BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) themselves. Furthermore, in this region, what is crucially needed is the democracy in politics. The biggest victims in this Palestine-Israel conflict are Palestine civilians and Israel citizens. After the emergence of the Israel extremist right coalition government, the sacrifice of innocent civilians of both sides is enormous. The change of the extremist right regime of Israel through voting should also be considered.
There has been a voice that on an international scale there needs some pressure against the US and EU which are practically supporting Israel. The motivations of supporting Israel for the US are that, firstly, Jews are the pivotal figures in the American capitalistic market and the desire to control and influence the Middle East. Since 90 percent of oil is buried in Middle East, the US wishes to influence the Middle East in order to have a louder voice and pivotal role in the international society. However, the US needs to be aware that the blindfolded support of Israel can beget a huge discord and conflict and take an action in consideration of the world peace instead of its own self-interest. The international organizations such as the UN also need to come up with a firmer response and work with other nations to have greater international influence.
< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >
There has not been a moment of peace in the Middle East because of the conflicts between Muslims and Jews due to their religious differences and disagreement toward historical and regional sovereignty. The discord between Israel and Palestine has been over 2000 years. It is very unfortunate that the essence of religions is being distorted and damaged by religious extremists and terrorists. In this globalized world we live in today, each nation needs to show a mature manner, acknowledging the differences between nations and understanding each other with tolerance and generosity.