Gaza: A Historical Perspective

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No other land dispute attracts more attention or generates more debate than the Arab-Israeli conflict, as both sides contend for the attention and solidarity of the world. However, I am reminded what one of my professors in undergrad studies once wrote, “The most pressing truths are not in fact ‘profound’ truths, but how do we find the truth in midst of the all the narratives we are presented with?” We must rescue the straightforward and abundant historical facts from the ideologues. Also, as Mitchell Bard reminds us, “Israel’s enemies have become very sophisticated at manipulating the media.” It is necessary that we educate ourselves and be ready to respond to complex and often emotional (not to mention false) claims against Israel.

Overview of the Palestinian Israeli Conflict

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In the perpetual tinderbox of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, tensions flared up once again a few weeks ago when Palestinian militants kidnapped and murdered three Jewish teenagers and a Jewish extremist retaliated by murdering a 16 year old Arab boy near his home in the West Bank. Jewish presence in the "Holy Land" began about four millennia ago, when God promised the land to Abraham and his descendants.

A Lack of Moral Equivalence

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The Arab-Israeli conflict is a geopolitical, economic, political and at times a spiritual battle. Because of all its different aspects, it makes it very complicated to control, let alone resolve. Yet there is another aspect of the conflict that cannot be ignored. It appears to be at the core of the issue and understanding it gives us the best chance at beating the beast. Israel has been forced to defend itself against Hamas and the continual shower of rockets from Gaza since the area was relinquished to the Palestinians in 2005. Even when Israel shows restraint, the proverbial finger is pointed at the Jewish state. It seems, the media is more interested in portraying the Palestinians as helpless victims than in reporting the truth.