By LaKeshia N. Myers
The October 7, 2023, attack by Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, was heinous. There is no question that terrorism—whether foreign or domestic—are events that rock the world and are blatant displays of bravado that hurt innocent people. As Americans, we live (for the most part) without fear of terror threats. We have systems in place, protocols, and we also live with a sense of security that is backed by nothing more than American ideology that we are safe and secure on American soil. While this ideology was tested most prominently on September 11th, it was not erased.
But what about the countries of Israel and Palestine? There is no such security. Primarily, because the borders are constantly changing. The current nation of Israel was created in 1948 by declaration of the United Nations, spurred by a decade’s long Zionist movement for Jews to reclaim their ethnic homeland and in the aftermath of World War II and the holocaust, support was overwhelming for the establishment of Israel. The location was modern-day Palestine. Warfare broke out when five Arab nations invaded territory in the former Palestinian mandate immediately following the announcement of the independence of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948.
Since 1948, the borders between Israel and Palestine have changed due to encroachment, war, armistice agreements, and banishment. Since its inception, America has provided trillions of dollars to Israel to promote democracy and sustain it as an independent nation. While we give these funds willfully, the Israeli government has also engaged in questionable practices including blockades of food, electricity, and oil to residents of the Gaza strip and expelling African immigrants from nearby Eritrea, Sudan, and Egypt. According to Amnesty International, since 2007, Israel has imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip collectively punishing its entire population. The current fighting is the sixth major military operation Israel and Gaza-based armed groups since then.
This is a problem; policies like this that are well-documented and well known have not been overtly condemned by the United States in our relationship with Israel. Budgets represent priorities and as “leader of the free world,” it should be our duty to condemn apartheid-style policies from countries that need our funding. If peace and tranquility are the ultimate goal, we must mandate humanity even in disagreement.
In the assembly last week, a joint resolution was introduced that condemned the terrorism by Hamas and reaffirmed support for Israel. I chose not to vote on the resolution. Not because I support terrorism, but because I believe it to be deplorable no matter the perpetrator. Terrorism cosplaying as democracy is also, still terrorism. We have seen this playbook before—from the likes of Christopher Columbus, Adolf Hitler, and Osama Bin Laden. From the transatlantic slave trade and its horrendous linkages to lynching, bombing, and segregation. I could not in good conscience vote in favor of a resolution that was linguistically one-sided and did not acknowledge the plight of innocent Palestinians who were also harmed. As our country continues to educate themselves on the issues that plague the Middle East, I hope there is more depth and open conversation about a response that will foster peace for all people in the area. War or threat of war should not be anyone’s “normal.”