A response to “Israel’s Innocence”

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All articles published within this section of The Cor Chronicle are the opinions of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Cor Chronicle
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I am writing in response to an article published on Nov. 1 titled “Israel’s Innocence.” I disagree with the premise of the article that “Israel is innocent,” but not the principle that “Hamas must be condemned.”

Unequivocally, Hamas must be condemned for the Oct. 7 attacks. Another necessary disclaimer is that anti-Zionism does not, and should never, equate to antisemitism. One can critique the modern state of Israel without committing acts of racism.

This article endeavors to give a nuanced view of the Israel/Hamas conflict, and answer the question: How should we, not only as Catholics, but as reasonable and sympathetic beings respond to the current conflict in the Holy Land?

First and foremost, we should not proclaim the innocence of Israel. Let’s work our way back during the Israel/ Hamas conflict, beginning with the events of this month. On Oct. 7, Hamas launched a brutal terrorist attack on Israel, killing roughly 1,400. This number contains some military deaths, but largely civilian, including 32 children.

Since then, 10,061 Palestinians have been killed in acts of terror by the Israeli government. Of the number, 2,326 are women and 3,760 are children. These numbers are from Oct. 27, prior to Israel’s most recent attack on the Jabalia refugee camp and Palestinian schools-turnedshelters. Those will no doubt add significantly to the death toll.

There is no innocence in these acts, and these are not acts of defense. “Israel’s Innocence” mentions multiple times that Israel warned Gaza of the incoming air strikes, but this does not equate to a moral license to commit these acts.

This is not to mention the nature of the warning was quite ironic: Israel held a press conference, which was then published on online platforms. The only issue? Israel has cut off food, water and electricity from Gaza. This was a sham warning that accomplished little more than virtue-signaling to the West.

Further, Israel has encircled and blockaded Gaza. The only way out is south towards Egypt, a passageway that Israel has relentlessly bombed as Egypt has also rushed to close its doors to Palestinian refugees. Indeed, this “warning” is nothing more than a cruel joke to Palestinian citizens.

Israel has largely failed to actually search out and free the hostages mentioned in “Israel’s Innocence.” The typical response to a hostage situation is not to firebomb the area where the hostages are suspected to be located. While Hamas captured the hostages, it seems to be Israel who is more willing to seal their fate.

Israel’s response has shown a complete disregard for human life, and this was, in fact, the intended purpose: to eradicate Palestine. It was not simply unfortunate collateral. This is corroborated by Israeli Army Spokesperson Daniel Hagari: “We are dropping hundreds of tons of bombs on Gaza. The focus is on destruction, not accuracy.”

The author of the previous article wishes to cite Hamas’ 1988 declaration “to utterly wipe out Israel and destroy the Jews.” Israeli politician Ariel Kallner stated: “Now, there is only one goal: Nakba [expulsion of the Palestinians]. A Nakba in Gaza that will dwarf the Nakba of 1948.” However, this quote is not from 1988 – it is from less than a month ago.

Indeed, the dehumanization of both Jews and Palestinians is evident. As Jews face increased rates of antisemitism, Palestinians in Gaza continue to suffer from subpar amounts of aid — only 4% of what is needed in terms of food, water, medicine and fuel is present. This is in no small part due to Israel completely shutting off electricity and water to Gaza, closing it off from the world.

As all of this happens, Israel continues to be affirmed by the U.S., E.U. and others as it slaughters Palestinians.

This slaughter is not one that Hamas forced Israel to commit. Rather, contrary to the claim that “Israel wants nothing more than peace,” Israeli leadership was eager for such an opportunity.

Benjamin Netanyahu, PM of Israel, has supported strengthening Hamas militarily and financially as a counterweight to disrupt any legitimate Palestinian authority: “Those who want to thwart the possibility of a Palestinian state should support the strengthening of Hamas and the transfer of money to Hamas.”

This slaughter is the worst that Israel has committed, but it is compatible with the pattern they have created since 2008.

Israel is more than happy to extinguish the state of Palestine, with all of its citizens. These citizens are not terrorists. They are not Hamas. And while I readily condemn the terror of Hamas, I do not see a similar condemnation of the terrorism from Israel against innocent citizens, women and children.

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