University of Memphis

Israeli – Gaza Border Protests @ University of Memphis

Throughout history, the use of force by the state of Israel for self-defense has long been controversial. Just in the past week, peaceful Palestinian protestors took to the Israeli-Gaza border. Also in attendance was Hamas, the terrorist group that Gazans selected as their ruling party. While there were many peaceful Palestinians marching in the street protesting the actions of the Israeli government, there were also members of Hamas launching Molotov cocktails and rocks over the border. They shot at Israeli Defense Force soldiers and the IDF shot back. During the week of protests, there were over a dozen protestors killed from IDF fire.

There are now diplomats such as Senator Sanders who condemn Israel’s use of force at the Gaza border in the last week. Sanders and others say it was an overreaction by Israel and that too many innocent lives were lost. I would like to ask Senator Sanders what he would like the U.S. government to do if Hamas soldiers started launching Molotov cocktails at the U.S. Capitol building. Would he want the Capitol police to fire back? Or would he just let the “protestors” in the door?

The unfortunate part of the entire situation is that there truly are peaceful Palestinians who just want to express their anger in the streets. But when Hamas imbeds itself in the middle of these peaceful protestors with weapons intended to kill…there is a problem. Ever since Hamas came to power about a decade ago, all they have done is deprive the Palestinian people of more than they can even imagine. From spending hundreds of millions of dollars on underground tunnels to causing the IDF to fire upon what was a peaceful protest until Hamas showed up, the Palestinians in Gaza remain impoverished and below a basic level of living because of their government.

As I walked through the streets of Jerusalem this past January, there were IDF everywhere. There were Jews everywhere, and Christians and Muslims. There were Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and people from all over the globe packed into this tiny city. But the IDF was not firing on the Palestinians, they were not telling them to leave the city and never come back. They were there to keep everyone safe. And when someone, from any side, starts disturbing the peace by throwing bombs and rocks, the IDF will defend their state.

The state of Israel is in fact a state. It is a free, democratic state with defined borders and a right to self-determination. When the Israeli border is attacked, it will be defended. And what is sad is that Hamas is both directly and indirectly killing its own people. While the IDF does everything it can to prevent civilian casualties, Hamas actively engages civilians to become unintended targets of the IDF.

So while Senator Sanders and a multitude of scholars around the world continue to condemn Israel for defending its free democratic state, I will continue to condemn a terrorist group who is governing its own people into destruction.

1 Comment

  1. Anne Pfeifenberger

    April 7, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    The violence and death on the Israel-Gaza border over the past days has drawn international attention back to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict once again. Your stance regarding the violence is undoubtedly clear, but I find the defense of your position somewhat problematic. You draw heavily on your personal experience in Jerusalem to make a broad and definitive statement regarding the IDF’s actions. In addition, while you do refer to accounts of the border conflict and Hamas’ historical tactics, you attach no outside references to support your statements or explore the protest’s underlying causes.
    I strongly disagree with your attempt at a ‘catch-22’ to try and legitimize Israel’s actions against largely peaceful protestors. Yes, Hamas has endorsed the protests; however, the majority of protestors are from different factions, who are joined in trying to return to their ancestral land. If such a situation were to occur on the Capitol, as you so suggest, what would the public response be to over 1,000 people being shot? Especially so, when considering the current situation, where Israel claims to have killed 10 Hamas members (Hamas currently claims 5). Until now, no Israeli soldiers have been injured, yet Israeli snipers who are trained to ‘target’ terrorists, have killed members of the press and adolescents.
    Explaining and defending your position on a current event is perfectly fine regardless of your opinion; however, the defense must rely on more than an unrealistic catch-22, personal anecdote, and strong language.
    Articles Referenced:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/death-toll-in-gaza-protests-climbs-to-22-as-both-sides-brace-forfriday-of-tires/2018/04/06/daff7b60-3908-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html?utm_term=.03d9d31f214d
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/palestinian-journalist-in-vest-marked-press-shot-dead-by-israeli-troops-in-gaza/2018/04/07/ac57b524-3a30-11e8-8fd2-49fe3c675a89_story.html?utm_term=.127fbba437ba
    https://www.vox.com/2018/4/2/17188162/gaza-protest-israel-border-violence-demonstrations-palestinian

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