The dominant narrative about the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian Territories is that it is a “both sides” issue, with two intractable opponents caught in a cycle of unending …
The dominant narrative about the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian Territories is that it is a “both sides” issue, with two intractable opponents caught in a cycle of unending violence. But the truth is far more complicated.
In 2002 I spent a month in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip volunteering with a Palestinian-led non-violent, direct action organization working to end the occupation.
While there I witnessed families being held hostage in their homes in order to protect Israeli soldiers using their top floors as lookout towers. I saw long lines of Palestinians forced to stand in the hot sun for hours just so they could visit nearby family or see their doctors. I saw dozens of Palestinian homes bulldozed to the ground because someone in their family or a neighbor was suspected of being a part of the resistance.
While there I also got to know individuals whose warm hearts and open doors made me feel the tragedy of this moral failure in ways I could never have known by reading headlines or studying history. As a student of global affairs, I understand that very powerful forces are at play in The United State’s decades-long policy of near-total support for Israel. I know that these forces are complex and multifaceted. But I also know that what is happening is wrong and that supporting Israel’s daily and systematic oppression of Palestinians does not actually serve our national interest.
Ending the occupation as well as other measures that lay the groundwork for peace in the region, are not only what we should demand of Israel in exchange for aid, they are also what actual Americans, as opposed to corporate interests, know in their hearts are the right things to do. Please join me in speaking up for this cause.
Gabe Van Lelyveld