Say what you want about the conflict in Gaza, but you can't argue that the use of violence is on equal footing
As always, the latest Gaza Conflict is being wrongly framed. In the United States media, and Western media in general, the conflict in the Gaza strip is being framed with a false moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians.
I often see articles and media programs that portray both Israel and Palestine as equal in the bloodshed they unleash. Yes, the Israelis commit violence. Yes the Palestinians commit violence. However, I contend with the idea that there is an equal amount of violence being committed.
We must understand, that the war being waged now is not a war between nation states on equal footings. Israel and Palestine are vastly different in their ability to wage war. For one, as is probably the most obvious, Israel does not have its territories occupied and blockaded by outside forces. Israel is also the most powerful military force in the Middle East. No other nation compares with Israel’s capabilities, both offensive and defensive.
The Israeli military is not the largest force, per-say, but is the most advanced and has capability to strike at targets thousands of miles outside of its territory. Israel has jets, tanks, the most advanced communications equipment, as well as an efficient and well manned group of soldiers. Israel is very capable militarily.
Meanwhile, Palestine is the odd man out here. Palestine has no official state, so therefore there is no Palestinian military. There are Palestinian militias and self-defense forces waving in loyalty between Fatah and Hamas. This could change as a result of brutal Israeli actions, but for now, the Palestinians lack serious means of waging war against Israeli forces.
Hamas can launch hundreds of low-grade, homemade rockets without any guidance systems, and have very few of them reach a target, let alone cause any damage. On the other hand, the Israelis can launch precision missiles, bombs, and a whole variety of strike options that are guaranteed to cause maximum damage. While the rockets of Hamas are numerous, they have little effect.
Thanks to the US-funded Iron Dome program, Israel has nearly complete defensive coverage against Hamas rockets. Can we say that Gaza has complete protection from Israeli strikes? Of course not. So, how exactly can we claim there is equivalence between Israel and Palestine? One commits attempts at mass violence with futile results, while the other commits violence on a mass scale with lethally effective results. Where’s the equivalence?
Now, I understand that neither the Palestinians or Israelis should commit violence. I don’t believe the tactics of Hamas are correct. Though, I feel the same about Israel as well, perhaps even more strongly. Here is why: Palestine is occupied and blockaded. Israel is not.
Would America tolerate decades of occupation? Would people in Texas simply bow down to an occupying army, foreign or domestic, and blindly accept the fate dealt to them by outside forces? Probably not. So how can we possibly expect the Palestinians to act any differently? The Palestinians are occupied, and while I don’t condone violence for the sake of a political message, I also am aware of the frustrations of an occupied people.
Of course the situation is complex, but the violence on both sides is not equal. There is no moral equivalence between mass destruction and mass attempts at destruction. Israel and Palestine are locked in a dreadful conflict, but violence is not on an equal footing and capability. There is far more nuance to this than US and Western media care to tell us.