By: Christopher Vreugdenhil
Information about developments in Israel and Palestine is at our fingertips, and with multiple different narratives fighting for dominance, The Preface decided to ask IU South Bend students what they think.
This is a sensitive topic, and The Preface does not necessarily endorse or condemn any of the opinions presented in this article. The Preface also acknowledges that there is a broad spectrum of opinions not covered in this article. The Preface encourages dialogue about current events and aims to contribute to a campus that invites, rather than stifles, discussion. Please note that standards for sample size and diversity were met to the best of our ability, as many potential respondents declined to participate.
Before answering our questions, participants were invited to read this informational paragraph written by The Preface’s editorial board:
The term “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” refers to a violent territory dispute between the country of Israel and the region of Palestine. It has existed since Jewish people settled in the historic Palestine region and established the country of Israel in 1948. Jewish Zionism, a belief held by the Israeli government, states that Jewish people have an ancestral right to that land, which is holy in the Jewish faith. Palestinians have lived in that region for centuries, and it is also holy to the Muslim faith. Currently, Palestine is not unanimously considered a country by the rest of the world. It is under Israeli occupation and rule, and has limited powers over two occupied regions called the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The violence in those regions has escalated significantly after Hamas, a militant group from Palestine, attacked Israel, and the Israeli military moved into those regions to enact further violence and prevent Palestinians from leaving or moving freely.
Do you feel informed about Israel and Palestine?
Nikkie Blume: “I am not as informed as I should be, but I do feel like I know enough to add to the conversation.”
Kevin Price: “Enough, I don’t keep up on it.”
Steven Edwards: “Not particularly, but a little bit I suppose. I’ve seen it [on the news] plenty, but I tend to avoid that type of stuff.”
Hasan Alsaymary: “To some degree. I feel like there should be a little more coverage about the situation, especially how much influence our country has on the situation, and I feel like they should communicate a little more with us to tell us what’s going on.”
What is your interpretation of the situation? How do you define what is happening there?
Nikkie Blume: “It’s essentially, like, a religious war that’s been happening for a very, very, very long time, which I am talking about in my religion class, and we are actually talking about it right now. It’s been happening for a long time but it escalated in the past, like, month or so. It’s a religious war and it’s also over land.”
Kevin Price: “I would say that the situation happening over there is a centuries-old holy war that is never going to end until one side doesn’t exist, so they seem to hate each other endlessly.”
Steven Edwards: “They’re fighting over the same strip of land – have been for a long while, because I remember hearing about it as a kid. And, that’s about it, they want the land, from each other.”
Hasan Alsaymary: “It gets really controversial, and there is a lot of back and forth on who’s right and who’s wrong. Clearly, there needs to be some middle ground drawn, because more people will get hurt. Clearly, from what I heard, war crimes are being committed, and that’s obviously not a good thing, and there needs to be something said about it.”
What is your opinion about the situation?
Nikkie Blume: “I think it’s a genocide…I don’t know, I’m not a religious person. I think the whole thing is kind of silly. I don’t agree with war, period.”
Kevin Price: “It’s not our problem. It’s not necessarily that I don’t think we should keep up on the situation, I just think to get involved in holy wars has not gone well for empires of the past, so we should stay out of it.”
Chris Vreugdenhil: “Would you call America an empire?”
Steven Edwards: “Personally, I don’t really endorse violence. I would prefer if they just came about something peacefully, but I doubt that it can happen. Until something like that comes about, I’m on no particular side.”
Hasan Alsaymary: “You know, kind of back to the first question, there’s clearly war crimes being committed, and neither side like[s] to gain all the blame; however, both need to take accountability on what’s going on.”