With the nations of the world rallying around Israel or Palestine in light of the recent Hamas invasion of Israeli territory, there is an innate human desire to simplify the conflict into a simple dichotomy of good versus evil. Unfortunately, domestic governments and the media continue to perpetuate this narrative, even though the recent outbreak of violence proves that no one side is entirely justified in their actions.
Other nations should not be demonstrating support for one side of this conflict. Nations such as Germany and the United Kingdom project the Israeli flag on key landmarks and government buildings, but this overlooks the humanitarian issues occurring within the Gaza Strip.
Even before the conflict, residents of Gaza had limited access to healthcare because of Israel’s restrictions. Now that the conflict has escalated, Gaza residents are without water, fuel, and food. Not all residents of Gaza are Hamas supporters, which further complicates the dichotomy state actors are portraying.
The international community needs to focus on condemning all humanitarian injustices while facilitating conflict de-escalation. The recent actions of other international actors only further enforces the dichotomy of right and wrong when there are shades of gray.
While Hamas launched a devastating attack on Israel, it does not give the Israeli government the right to deprive innocent civilians of basic necessities. Identifying all Palestinians as Hamas sympathizers once again emphasizes a false simple false dichotomy that makes it easier for the public to comprehend the situation.
Both Israel and Palestine have mourned the loss of civilian lives. Objectively, Hamas’s attack that killed a minimum of one thousand people is wrong. Israel’s blockade that cuts off life-saving supplies to millions is objectively wrong. If the conflict continues on this path, both nations will be devastated by senseless violence. There is a fine line between defending a nation’s sovereignty and a blatant disregard for life itself.
The proper course of action for all other state actors should be that of humanitarian concern for all those involved. Only caring about human rights for one group of civilians violates the core principles of the concept in itself. The situation unfolding in the Gaza Strip should not be a case in which nations cheer on teams like a Sunday night football game.
If the international community continues to allow glaring violations of international law to go unnoticed, the situation between Israel and Palestine will have implications that stretch far beyond pieces of land. Without strong condemnations of human rights violations and investigations into war crimes, the intensity of all future conflicts will only increase. Next time, it could be in your own backyard.