It is good that Israel is making efforts to contact nearby Palestinians before bombing Hamas targets in order to avoid civilian deaths, but doing so means lives are destroyed instead of simply ended, i.e. they are still creating a humanitarian crisis. Losing your home, your means of feeding your family, and all of your material possessions, even if you can eventually return home, is devastating, especially when you are live in poverty as a huge number of Palestinians do. Although Israel absolutely has the right to defend its People from threats and Hamas is intentionally provoking an Israel military response, all the Palestinian People see is a growing list of dead Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli military and a largely unscathed Israel protected by its Iron Dome.
Truth be told, the Palestinians should be blaming Hamas for those who have been killed and injured in this latest exchange of force, yet they see Hamas as their protectors, even as Hamas uses civilian populations as shields. This is very unfortunate, because Hamas as a militant, extremist group is an agent of destruction while peace between the Israelis and Palestinians is only possible when they no longer see each other as hated enemies. That said, the Palestinian People do have a long list of grievances against the state of Israel, which is rooted in Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian People as unequal and undeserving of the same rights as the Israeli People.
Not only does the blockade of the Gaza Strip, among other measures including Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory, deny the Palestinians access to basic necessities, it makes them helpless prisoners in their own land. The Peoples of the world engage in civilized activities like politics and diplomacy in order to avoid the use of violence in addressing grievances. Support for non-state actors like terrorist groups, therefore, exists, because political and diplomatic entities have failed to serve the interests of People and failed to address their grievances. In reality, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is more of a manager than an actual leader capable of addressing his People interest, because the Palestinians are at the mercy of Israel, with little tangible support from the rest of the world.
Thanks largely to Israeli influence, the major power brokers of the world do not even recognize the Palestinian People have a country of their own. Certainly, there are good reasons for this, but it also means the Palestinian People cannot come together under a single national identity or properly voice their grievances as a People against nations like Israel. In turn, the Palestinians can never feel as though their interests are being addressed or even know the world is listening, thus supporting violence over diplomacy becomes the only viable means of ensuring Palestinians interests will be met, i.e. Israel is the enemy and Hamas is the savior. If the Palestinians could believe politics and diplomacy would work for them, Israel would its best defense against Hamas: the Palestinian People would no longer support the violence of Hamas.
In the words of Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas feels "alone in the field" due to a lack of support from the Arab World. While Hamas is likely looking for support in terms of financial backing, jihadists willing to die for their cause, and a general acceptance from the Peoples of the Middle East, the Arab world does need to provide greater support for the Palestinian People. What the Palestinians need is support in terms of building their society and resolving daily grievances against Israel instead of the big picture items peace talks tend to focus on. This means affording the Palestinians enough leverage to address their grievances with Israel on near-equal footing, instead of at a complete disadvantage. It also means providing for long neglected material needs, so this disenfranchised People can feel somewhat empowered and experience the tangible benefits than come from supporting a far more healthy relationship with Israel. Otherwise, the Palestinian People will continue to suffer while Israel will continue to be vulnerable to extremist attacks and become a destabilizing force in a globalizing Arab world.
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