SMC students debate, pro-Israel or pro-Palestine

The fighting between Israel and Hamas has ravaged the Gaza strip in violence in recent months, with over two-thousand Palestinian casualties, and 67 Israeli deaths, according to a graph in the New York Times. Currently, both sides are in an agreed ceasefire, though it is feared that one side or the other will make an aggressive action and the ceasefire will end just like that.

Though a ceasefire has been reached, the conflict between Israel and Palestine is ongoing, historically known, and has been referred to as one of the world's "most intractable conflicts". The remaining key struggles between the two concern mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Palestinian freedom movements, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

This summer's violent rage of warfare triggered anger and vehement blame from both sides of the border.

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu accuses Hamas of being a terrorist group who uses Palestinian civilians to protect their missiles. Palestinians denounce Israel's recent military offensive Operation Deadly Edge, holding it responsible for killing almost 2,000 Palestinian civilians.

The geopolitical debates being sparked between Israeli and Palestinian leaders has triggered much debate in the United States. Pro-Israeli and pro-Palestine groups lined the streets outside of the Federal Building on Wilshire and Veteran blvd multiple times this summer, protesting for their respective sides.

With accusations being thrown all around, stirring up debates internationally and locally, we decided to ask Santa Monica College students their opinions, and who they feel the is in the wrong.

Responses were all over the place. Some were unconcerned with the situation, others were uncomfortable providing their opinions, while others provided hard stances on who was to blame.

Some people thought the blame should certainly be put on Hamas.

Former SMC student Erin Kaitel shares this opinion, saying, "Hamas is certainly a terrorist organization, as their actions show".

She continued, "If they were for the people as they say they are, they wouldn't be spending ninety-six million dollars on terror holes used to kidnap and attack Israelis and would instead use that to build new things such as mosques or schools."

"Hamas was pushing and pushing and when Israel decided to step up and fight back they were surprised, doesn't work that way," said a student who wished to remain anonymous.

Many students believed Hamas to be a terrorist organization and one even said that they are "cowards hiding behind innocent civilians".

But not all students are on Israel's side. Students who felt strongly for Palestine's situation all seemed to agree that Israelis have been mistreating the Palestinians, showing no regard for their lives, so they had to fight back.

"Its like if someone constantly pushed you around and messed with you, would you just sit there and take it?" said SMC student Dodi Joudi. "I don't think so, and that's exactly how Palestinians feel, cornered."

"Its just wrong" said SMC student Trent Wright about Israelis treatment of Palestinians.

Others blame the US media for not giving people the right information and being extremely biased towards Israel.

One student, who also wished to remain anonymous, brought up a point that both sides are to blame but, "Israel is the one that has the power and should step up and use that power to bring peace."

This is a conflict where both sides could bring arguments to justify they're actions, as it was noted by various students on campus.

Of course, some may say both sides are to blame. Whether its Israel's land grabbing tactics or missiles sent by Hamas, it can be hard for anyone to decide who is innocent.

Perhaps both sides can come to a compromise that will allow for the ceasefire to turn into general sustained peace. Innocent civilians are losing the most in this situation and the quicker a resolve is found, the faster the casualty number will not rise above zero at the end of every day.

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