Counterpoint: Should the U.S. increase its involvement in the Israeli-Palestine conflict?

Lucas Romanski, Staff Writer

On Dec. 6, 2017, the United States formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The question of whether Jerusalem should be recognized as such is misleading in and of itself. The word “should” implies that some absolute moral truth must be present and that it is up to the ponderer to puzzle about.  

Moral arguments, especially those made by religion, have been used to justify various positions on this topic depending upon the way in which they are used.    Although the relations between Palestine and Israel are complex in nature, the defining conflict between them is that of colonial oppression and self-determination.

Many believe that the capricious relationship that exists between Israel and Palestine developed over thousands of years as some sort of religious war. However, any honest assessment of historical fact will prove otherwise.  The concept of a Jewish state was first developed during the Romantic era, a period that coincided with a growing sense of nationalism that was fermenting across European nations.  

This, coupled with egregious and unprecedented demonstrations of anti-Semitism, such as the Dreyfus Affair, drove many to support the notion that an independent Jewish state had to be constructed.  

Additionally, the rise of nationalism throughout Europe appealed to many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who believed (and still believe) that Jewish control of the Holy Land was necessary for the fulfillment of the prophecies in Revelation.

Zionism makes the mistake of perceiving Judaism as an ethnicity, which is an ideological perspective that is disturbingly reminiscent of Social Darwinism. Judaism, similar to Christianity or Buddhism, is nothing more than an ideology, and therefore has no rightful claim to any piece of land of any sort, anywhere.      

 Many Zionists argue that the Jews have the right to live in their ancestral homeland, even though Canaan was inhabited by the Mesopotamians long before Judaism was founded.

As the nineteenth century progressed, the merging of Zionism with capitalism resulted in the beginning of a land grab in Palestine by corporations.  Farmers who were originally living on the land were evicted as these corporations and some private individuals began to gaincontrol.     

Although these companies were ideologically-based, they were first and foremost institutions looking to run a profitable enterprise.  The conflict really is not between Jews and Muslims, but between private enterprise and an indigenous people.  Why should the United States, a country who stands for freedom and democracy, side with greedy corporations over the innocent and oppressed Palestinians?

As World War I ended, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate over Palestine. Consequently, there was an escalation of the purchase of Palestinian land, as Britain attempted to honor the Balfour Declaration. The declaration itself was originally intended to garner support for the war from the Jewish community, as the concept of a national home for the Jewish people appealed to many Europeans. 

“I do not think that Zionism will hurt the Arabs, but they will never say they want it,”said Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour in a 1919 memorandum.

While the declaration was ostensibly designed with the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine in mind, the British never intended to fulfill their promise.  Many people point to Hamas as a reason to support Israel, but this small group of people does not represent the true population of Palestine.

“The brutal crimes committed by Hamas have nothing to do with the Palestinians who are oppressed by Netanyahu’s regime,” said freshman Ben Rotko.  “The fact of the matter is that the Israeli government has been, and continues to be, responsible for the atrocities against the Palestinian people. The only acceptable solution is fair to both parties.” 

By supporting the state of Israel, the United States would be supporting an oppressive regime, as thousands of Palestinians have been unlawfully confined to refugee camps throughout Lebanon and Syria.  In fact, the United Nations has been practically ignorant of the atrocious war crimes that have been commited by the Israeli Defense Forces.  The brutal actions of the Israeli military should not be condoned, and it is the moral duty of the United States to take action, and liberate the Palestinians.