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

Becca Parker, Contributing Writer

After tumultuous protests across the Gaza Strip, the U.S. have been faced with numerous questions regarding their response. Gaza, a densely populated strip of land that is mostly surrounded by Israel, is occupied almost exclusively by Palestinians.  Israel, being the sole democracy in the Middle East, used to have a military presence there. However, they withdrew their soldiers in 2005 to allocate them throughout the Middle East.  The strip is governed by Hamas, the infamous Palestinian extremist group who openly stated that their intentions are to destroy Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.  Since the group’s founding in 1987, regular suicide bombings and rocket attacks have been routinely targeted against Israel.  

Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip recently prompted Israel to block the flow of commercial goods into Gaza, due to the potential threat of Hamas using the area as a production site for more militaristic weapons. Although Israel has eased their blockade over time, the cutoff of basic supplies such as fuel still has significant harm on Gaza’s citizens, resulting in restricted access to electricity, food, and medicine.  Nevertheless, the Israeli defense forces work tirelessly to protect their country and guarantee the safety and security of the Israeli citizens, just as the U.S. military does for Americans. However, the major difference is that Israel is surrounded by countries who, similarly to Hamas, refuse to acknowledge them as a state and continuously infringe on Israel’s right to exist.

The Trump Administration held a ceremony in Jerusalem to mark the official opening of the US Embassy on May 14. Massive Gaza protests were sparked from this, which began as soon as the embassy opened.  Many believe that the timing of the ceremony contributed to the extremity of these protests, as the following day was widely known as Nakba Day or Day of Catastrophe for Palestinians. This was the day Israel was officially granted statehood by the United Nations.

The protests consisted of thousands of Palestinians rushing the border, who attempted to break through the fence and reach Israeli troops. The truth is far from what is depicted in the American media, who refuse to mention the flaming tires and burning kites which are flown into IDF territory. Additionally, there have been numerous suicide bombings, as many Hamas members have been photographed strapping explosives to the backs of innocent Palestinian women and children.

The news headlines are along the lines of “IDF Kills Innocent Protesters in Gaza,” with images of Palestinians crying over the bodies of young children as well. It’s no secret that America is Israel’s closest ally, but many Americans wonder what the US is getting in return. 

Firstly, Israel is the only democratic state in the Middle East, and the only state that values individual freedom, human rights, and the protection of minorities. These are included in the fundamental values championed by the United States, as America would be most successful if they worked with Israel, with the goal of creating a more peaceful and democratic world.

  “Israel represents the lone democracy in the Middle East, and they deserve our help to protect democratic values,” said freshman Charlie Mark. 

The two nations have an identical voting record at the UN, making it clear that there is no country more pro-American than Israel. When it comes to terrorism, Israel and America stand together.  According to Maj. Gen. George J. Keegan Jr, the former head of the U.S Air Force intelligence, the United States owes more to the Israeli intelligence input than it does to any single source of intelligence.
Israel’s intelligence force is quite possibly the most brilliant and technologically advanced intelligence force in the world. Additionally, Israel is the world’s largest exporter of drones, responsible for about 60 percent of the global market.  In fact, Israeli drones are often used by the United States military, providing America with an economic incentive for supporting Israel.

Lastly, many American Jews feel that their loyalty lies in Israel, their ancestral homeland.  Many others also support the existence of an independent and democratic Jewish state. By helping Israel, America’s influence in spreading democracy in the Middle East would grow, while strengthening the relationship with a loyal, trustworthy, and important ally.