Israel and Palestine: The Basics

APTOPIX Mideast Israel Palestinians
Jihad Masharawi weeps while he holds the body of his 11-month old son Ahmad, at Shifa hospital following an Israeli air strike on their family house, in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.


The conflict between Israel and Palestine is a very controversial and touchy subject. Indeed, there are always two sides to every story. The problem is many people are not willing to look at an issue like this objectively. There is usually a parade of propaganda clouding people’s judgement and opinions, they don’t want to learn more about it, they’d much rather remain in their state of comfortable ignorance. This is true for so much more than the Israel/Palestine conflict, but I digress.

Here in America, the general public is typically completely blind to what is really going on in Israel, Palestine, the Middle East, and, well, most of the world for that matter. Most Americans either don’t care, or they blindly support Israel. Any objection, criticism, or even the slightest hint at questioning Israel and its motives or policies is quickly shot down and written off as anti-semitism. There is generally very little room for debate in regards to Israel and its affairs. The many reasons for American’s apathy/devotion to Israel goes much deeper, it involves immense media whitewashing and distortion, indoctrination, and fabrication. But that’s another article, for another time. In this particular article I only wish to touch on the basics of the issue, for those who are new to the subject.

Let me begin by saying that this conflict is incredibly complex and I certainly cannot begin to fit all the history and information on it in one mere article. I would encourage all who are reading this to do your own research and draw your own conclusions.

So, let’s start by going back to the beginning of the modern conflict, to 1948, when the state of Israel was established. World War II had just recently ended, more and more revelations regarding the Holocaust were just coming into light, and there was a very real sense of devastation among the Jewish people, but also a strong sense of pride, unity, and solidarity, understandably so. And so, on the 14th of May, 1948, the U.N. established the settler colony of Israel. Finally, a Jewish state, a safe haven for the Jewish people who have suffered countless atrocities throughout the ages, who could possibly object to such a thing? Surely only a bigoted anti-semite would oppose something like this. Right? Well, unfortunately, there is much more to it than that.

You see, it us not that some of us object to the idea of a Jewish homeland, but rather, to the way they went about this endeavor. It’s about the fact that the Palestinians, who had inhabited the land for over 1,400+ years, were violently ripped from their homes to make room for Israeli settlements. This is no way to go about creating a safe haven for any people, by making it a dangerous hellhole for others. It is important to acknowledge that there is a very big difference between Zionists and Jews(Zionists being the catalysts for the settler state). Judaism is a faith, whereas Zionism is a political ideology. The ideological doctrine of Zionism is essentially one that advocates for Jewish supremacy, and total dominance over the entirety of the holy land. It’s notable that for many years, Jews and Palestinians co-existed in peace with each other before Palestine was colonized by the Zionists in order to create the political State of Israel.

An Orthodox Jew explains the difference between Judaism and Zionism 

What happened that day in 1948 was the beginning of a horrendous tragedy for the Palestinian people. While one ethnic group gained their “independence” and “freedom”, another ethnic group was tragically robbed of theirs. What is known to Israel as their “Independence Day” is known to the indigenous Palestinians as their “Nakba” (or “Catastrophe Day”) To this day, Palestinians live in utterly inhumane living conditions, they are constantly and brutally beaten, abused, harassed, arrested without charge, disappeared, and bombed. Imagine waking up one morning, having you and your entire family ripped from your home, and having it torn down right in front of you, just because some people believed they had the god-given right to do so. Imagine being a child and waking up to an airstrike surrounding you. Imagine living every day in constant fear that it might be your last. How would that make you feel?



During the first wave of Israeli settlements, over 700,000 Palestinians were forced into exile. That is the equivalent of 200 million Americans, forced from their family, friends and homes, many were executed and massacred in the process. This was just the first wave, mind you, it does not account for the many that were to come afterwards. Israel has taken nearly over 90% of the Palestinian land since 1948, and the little land that is left is occupied by the IDF, who have turned the remaining land inhabited by Palestinians into poverty-stricken ghettos, craters and war zones. It is estimated that statistically one Palestinian child has been killed every day for the past 13 years. Over 3,000 Palestinian children have been detained by the IDF since 2010, and 740 Palestinians have been abducted since the beginning of 2014, that’s more than one child every two hours. There are over 1.5 million Palestinian refugees, stripped of their homes, rights, dignity, and humanity. Over 1,500 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces since the year 2000. According to my research, an estimated 5100,000 Palestinians in total have been annihilated since the beginning of the Nakba.

All of this is not to say there has not been injustice committed by both sides of the conflict, of course, and I do not sympathize with any militants arabic or otherwise that are willing to kill innocent people. I am merely trying to put the situation into perspective. I, like many others, wish to see the land inhabited by Jews and Arabs alike, co-existing peacefully with one another. Will this ever be achieved? I do not know. But one thing is for certain: as long as the Zionist occupation continues its crusade of terror, theft, and collective punishment, and as long as militants retaliate with uncoordinated random violence, I fear that this small sliver of land will never know peace until it is leveled to the ground.


Brian Hazel

Israel and Palestine: The Basics

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