Israel opinion piece

This is a republication of an original article written by Sarah Sonies in the Commonwealth Times on Monday, January 12, 2009.


With the amount of missiles and gunfire hitting Israel and the Gaza Strip over the past month, it is hard to imagine why anyone would voluntarily take a trip there. However, most of Israel is a beautiful landscape far from war-torn, but seeing the country in pereson only makes it slightly easier to understand the endless territorial fighting.

According to CNN.com, Israel hit more than 50 targets in Gaza Thursday despite the United Nations’ orders to cease fire. Hamas firing missiles in Southern Israel was responsible for Israel’s Jan. 5 invasion of Gaza. Hamas’ firing of the missiles was also a result of the end of a peace treaty with Israel. The argument could be made that Hamas started firing the missiles because Israel has been establishing settlements along Gaza. However, the setting up of settlements should not be a cause for violence.

It is now a common belief that there should be a two-state compromise between Israel and Palestine but that belief seems to be an almost unattainable dream because the fighting never seems to end. It should be easier to be able to come to some sort of comprise-but spend more than three days in Israel, with Israelis, and it can become a little more clear on why there has been no lasting peace.

In both Israel and Gaza, there are two sets of people who dearly love the land they came from and are willing to fight for it. Both sides believe they are completely justified in the violence. While there are people who can represent the issue from all sides of the situation, not enough people are willing to sacrifice enough for a lasting peace to be achieved. While violence in the name of religion is far from a new concept, it is more destructive now than it ever was before because Israel has much more to lose.

Israel has been fighting in Gaza for about two weeks and the destruction has reached a mind-blowing level. When Israel invaded Gaza, there were protests from all over the world. However, if your homeland was being continuously fired at, despite a previous cease-fire, wouldn’t you be inclined to fight back?

According to the Washington Post, Israel will stop the offensive on Gaza when Hamas stops firing missiles into Southern Israel. That is really all that should happen; Hamas should not have fired at Israel in the first place. While there have been more Palestinians killed thus far than Israelis, Israel invaded because of Hamas’ unwillingness to stop the firing of missiles.

For everyone who is surprised that Israel invaded, be more surprised that it didn’t happen sooner. Peace will never be an option if treaties and cease-fires cannot be honored. It should be clear that Israel invaded to get a point across and to stop the violence of Hamas.

It is very sad that violence was answered with violence, but the bottom line is that rockets were being fired into Israel on a daily basis. Israel should not have been expected simply to do nothing. However, according to The New York Times, the death toll in Gaza is at more than 820 in the last few weeks, with half of the dead being civilians. The violence will need to stop at some point and Israel should stop sooner rather than later-although if Israel stops, Hamas should stop as well.

The best thing to hope for is that a compromise and a cease-fire will be reached peacefully, with conditions that will be honored by both sides.

The New York Times stated that both Israel and Hamas rejected a United Nations Security Council resolution on Jan. 9 calling for a cease-fire. There has to be a point where the violence ends, because at the end of the day, the endless violence will have to stop. The longer Israel and Gaza keep fighting, the rockets will only become more powerful and the destruction of both Israel and Gaza will be irreparable. Only with a cease-fire will a two-state compromise ever be possible.