Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The double standard in the Middle East

A biased view won’t lead to peace

Published: October 3, 2008
Section: Opinions

When navigating the complex peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, it seems that each party is focused on a separate dilemma.

The Palestinians concentrate on the issue of the settlements while Israelis focus on security. The Palestinians have not taken constructive action to achieve their goals of peace.

Hamas, unconstrained by the Palestinian Authority, has fired over 4,000 rockets and mortars into highly populated Israeli towns and villages since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Israel, on the other hand, acts to move toward the goal of peace and safety with the Palestinians as reliable partners. Despite the great risk to that mission, Israelis have still taken steps to minimize the effects of their military operations on Palestinian civilians and have worked to provide humanitarian relief.

The world seems to hold a double standard when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Israel is highly criticized for any military action against terrorists while no one condemns the Palestinian Authority for ongoing terrorist activity. Israel, like every sovereign nation, has the right and duty to defend its citizens.

I believe this double standard is the main impediment to the peace process because it condones the violent actions of Hamas, allows the Palestinian Authority to sit idly by, and condemns the Israelis for action that would, for any other country, be considered justifiable acts of self defense.

Palestinian terrorists have carried out more than 25,000 attacks since September 2000, killing more than 1,100 Israelis. Recently, Hamas has fired Iranian-supplied long-range rockets on Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people and continues to smuggle sophisticated weaponry into Gaza.

Making matters worse, the Iranian-provided rockets and missiles can now reach 250,000 Israelis. Terrorists deliberately launch rockets from Palestinian city centers.

By doing so, Israel is faced with a complex decision: defend itself and possibly hurt innocent civilians or do nothing. Israel is known to take precautions so as not to hurt civilians.

Despite these attacks, Israel continues to take steps to strengthen Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and facilitate humanitarian assistance. Israel is focused on treating the Palestinians humanely and allows the delivery of food, medicine, electricity, and fuel to Gaza. Patients are permitted to leave Gaza for medical treatment in Israel, despite the threat of would be suicide bombers who have used false medical information in attempts to enter Israel and carry out attacks.

Also, Israel avoids using airstrikes as a tactic to hit enemy targets, though it is safest for troops, to prevent killing civilians.

In order to make peace, I believe a way must be found to bridge the gap between how each party deals with their separate goals.

The Arab States in the Middle East share in the effects of this conflict and it behooves them to give concrete support to peace talks and give Abbas political support to fight terrorism with full authority.

The end of the conflict will begin with pressure from the Arab States on the Palestinian Authority. The international community, in judging by fair standards and holding terrorists accountable for their actions, can encourage the Arab States to begin this process.