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Israel-Hamas war foots the bill no one can afford

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Innocent civilians pay the price.

By Milan Rafaelov, editor-in-chief

First-person perspective

Los Angeles Emergency Protest in Pershing Square. October 21, 2023. "Stop the Genocide, End the Occupation" shouted many. (Suey Herrarte | Valley Star)

It was only a few days after Israel declared war on Palestine that I found myself sitting with family members I had not spoken to in years. We came together for Shabbat dinner, a Jewish tradition I have not observed since the onset of the pandemic, and for the first time in a long time, I prayed.

We have family in Israel and loved ones who endured fearful moments while taking shelter to avoid the potential danger on Oct. 7. Since then I have religiously watched daily coverage but the picture of this situation was still unmade in my eyes until now.

Make no mistake that I fear for my relatives but I fear for the people of Gaza more as the death toll of Palestinians has surpassed 7,700 people while my family is relatively safe.

The history of Israel and Palestine is a nuanced one but Zionists and Hamas now use their dogma to justify untamed horrors in the name of self-determination. Both ideologies that dominate their governments were forged from the fear of eradication. For centuries the Jewish people ensured persecution, yearning for a secure homeland after the holocaust, much like the Palestinian people long for a safe place to call their own.

Jews and Palestinians have deep ties to the land, yet it is undeniable that the establishment of Israel and the influx of settlers who asserted birthright led to the displacement of millions of Palestinians. This displacement followed decades of unfilled promises, leaving a lasting impact on the region.

In the 1990s, there was a notable effort by the Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to forge a two-state resolution and lasting peace. Tragically, this optimism was shattered when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated which derailed any plans for peace. Ironically, the blame for Rabin’s assassination was attributed to the then-opposition leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was known for inflaming his right-wing followers and, ultimately, one of them took it upon himself to assassinate the Prime Minister on November 4, 1995.

Subsequently, Benjamin Netanyahu ascended to power, ultimately assuming the role of prime minister. With Netanyahu leading the rise of right-wing extremists the demographic of the landscape has dramatically shifted. For instance, Itamar Ben-Givir, now serving as the Minister of National Security was barred from joining the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) at the age of 18.

Of course, Israel has a right to defend itself but it is concerning that the current Israeli government appears to be leveraging the tragic events of Oct. 7 to justify what is an unlawful acquisition and cruel collective punishment under the pretext of self-defense.

As the eyes of the world are magnetized to this brutal war, another conflict has emerged within our borders. It is important to note that critiquing the Israeli government’s actions is not anti-Semitic; however, in a time where misinformation and propaganda proliferate almost instantaneously, some may exploit the situation to promote genuine anti-Semetic agendas. We must scrutinize information critically, ensuring that the manipulation of public sentiment does not lead to acts of violence against Jewish communities or promote the Genocide of the Palestinian people.


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