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FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA: ISRAEL AND PALESTINE AT WAR

By Victoria Rivera


After almost six months of brutal war between Israel and Hamas, at last Israel allows for more human­itarian aid to enter Gaza following an allegedly accidental airstrike on April 1 that took the lives of seven World Central Kitchen aids during their food-delivery mis­sion. It marked a turning point in delivering relief to Gazans during an imminent, man-made famine, missions that have proved deadly for many.


Two new routes have been opened allowing for food, sanitation ma­terials, and other supplies to enter due to international pressure to prevent further civilian harm.


The United Nations (UN) de­manded Israel to enact a ceasefire in exchange for Hamas’s hostag­es on March 25. Of the fourteen councilmen, ten called for imme­diate action. After having vetoed previous votes for ceasefires out of fears it could disrupt hostage negotiations, the US abstained for the first time. Though Hamas claims to be open to terms, Israel’s own ambassadors were infuriated not only by the verdict, but Amer­ica’s uncharacteristic silence.


It’s estimated that in the first month, 1,300 civilian Israelis lost their lives in the Hamas attack on Oct. 7. And since the beginning of the war, Israel has lost more than 500 soldiers, with many more injured.


"It was the Hamas massacre that started this war. The resolution just voted upon makes it seem as if the war started by itself,” said Israel’s UN Ambassador, Gilad Erdan. “Israel did not start this war, nor did Israel want this war."


Palestine has lost 32,200 lives, with 74,500 others injured. It’s estimated about 60 percent of Gaza’s infrastructure has been destroyed by bombings, forcing almost 85 percent of the popu­lation out of their homes. Of the lives taken, more than 13,000 are children with an estimated 17,000 others orphaned, according to the United Nations Internation­al Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).


Having been allies for 75 years, President Biden threatened Is­raeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a “tough” three-hour phone call following the airstrike to withdraw support if Israel did not better protect in­nocent civilians. Israel maintains it was a “grave mistake” and rep­rimanded five officers after inves­tigating.


“This pattern of attacks is either intentional or indicative of reck­less incompetence,” top Doctors Without Borders official Christo­pher Lockyear said.


According to Bloomberg, the war has grown so costly that Israel will borrow $58 billion to make up losses. Israel has strengthened their mandatory draft laws in re­sponse, hoping for 7,000 more en­listments.


Israel requires Jewish men and women to partake in the military or face two years in prison. How­ever, extremely orthodox civilians have been exempted as they refuse to join the military due to their re­ligious values or having loved ones in the Gaza Strip.


Many Israelis believe it to be un­fair and argue the draft must be enforced equally as the exempt­ed population is rapidly grow­ing. Economists theorized their draft exemption is “unsustain­able.” The Israeli Supreme Court blocked the exception on March 28, prompting ultra-Orthodox protests.


According to Gallup news, Isra­el’s once 64 percent approval rat­ing among 18 to 34-year-olds has plummeted down to 38 percent. Middle aged adults’ approval dropped to 55 percent.


In previous UN attempts for a ceasefire, America vetoed three times. Though the first abstain is a new, unprecedented step, Amer­ican sentiment hasn’t changed.


“We are getting closer to a deal for an immediate ceasefire with the release of all hostages. But we are not there yet. A ceasefire could have come about months ago if Hamas had been willing to release hostages,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, our UN rep­resentative on the same day as the verdict.


But these negotiations aren’t quick enough. On April 6, an Is­raeli farmer and Hamas hostage, Elad Katzir, was found dead by Israeli soldiers in Gaza.


"He could have been saved if a deal had happened in time. Our leadership is cowardly and driven by political considerations, and that is why [a deal] did not hap­pen,” said Katzir’s sister Carmit Palty.


In the background, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said while there are “gaps” in negotiations, they are beginning to narrow. Unlike Thomas-Greenfield, he strongly criticizes Israel’s intense bombings.


“I’ve seen images too of Pales­tinian children, young boys and girls pulled from the wreckage of buildings, When I see that, when I look into their eyes, through the TV screen, I see my own chil­dren,” said Blinken. “Civilians should not suffer the consequenc­es for [Hamas’s] inhumanity and its brutality.”


Israel remains investigated by in­ternal criminal court to determine if they are guilty of war crimes.


“We are at 10,000 dead Palestin­ians. How many will be enough?” said Angie Nixon, a democratic Florida State Representative last November after calling for a vote in solidarity in Tallahassee for a ceasefire. Michelle Salzman, a Florida Republican member, re­plied, “All of them.” In a land­slide, 104-2 rejected Nixon’s ceasefire call.


Governor Ron DeSantis has pro­vided drones, guns, ammunition, first aid supplies, and more to Is­rael’s military.


“I believe it is okay to be neutral when you do not understand the severity of what is happening, and picking a side when you do not know and understand the prob­lem can be very problematic,” said Milanda Jean-Gilles, a Barry Law junior. “It is [the war] being spoken about, and that’s good, though I think it isn’t being spo­ken about enough.”


For those who want to help but don’t know how to start, here are a few pointers: strike and boycott certain companies and organi­zations; call, email, or fax gov­ernment officials to cement your stance (FaxZero.com allows you to send faxes); and donate to cred­ible relief organizations.

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