Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

OPINION – The Israel-Gaza War and Viewing People As Monoliths


Over the past 3 months you’ve likely heard of the chaos that has been engulfing Israel and the Palestinian territory of Gaza, with rockets being levied by both the Israeli government as when as Hamas which is the authority maintaining an undemocratic rule on Gaza. This all in response to the horrific attack on Israel on October 7th, where roughly 1,200 people are reported to be killed, which is very much a terrorist attack. This attack was then followed by an equally horrific response from Israel where they relentlessly besieged Gaza, killing many innocent civilians. 

That’s why for the past 3 months there has been a mass amount of protests across the world for both Palestine and Israel. Given the current vehement discussion going on right now I want to highlight the difference between governments and people and the importance of not viewing these people as monoliths and as good or bad. So, what has Hamas done and how do Palestinians feel about them, and vice versa for Israeli citizens?


Palestine and Hamas

Following the attack on October 7th, Israel unleashed a brutal campaign against Hamas which has caused thousands of Palestinians to lose their lives and over a million to be displaced, as of November 10th roughly 12,250 Palestinians have been killed, including many children. Obviously this is horrifying, that in Israel’s reckless pursuit for vengeance so many innocent people in Gaza were killed when they shouldn’t have been. Yet even when confronted with the images of this violence, we have public officials like Florida Representative Brian Mast who said “I would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of innocent Palestinian civilians, as frequently said, I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term ‘innocent Nazi civilians’ during World War II” which is a disgusting thing to say about people who just happen to live in that area. It’s not their fault that they live in an authoritarian state, it’s extremely hard for them to have a chance at changing that, but all this negative attention is coming from the fact that the terrorist group Hamas which is the governing force in Gaza has been committing some truly reprehensible acts since October 7th, a senior Hamas official has stated in reference to the attack “we must teach Israel a lesson and we will do twice and three times over Al-Aqsa Deluge (the October 7th attack) is just the first time, there will be a second third and fourth.” This clearly portrays that Hamas is a dangerous and radical group that is trying to wipe out the Israeli people entirely, but that is not Palestinians fault as is clear from how Hamas treats its own citizens. In 2014 Hamas carried out brutal attacks on Palestinians killing and torturing many of their own citizens, justifying this by saying they were “collaborating with Israel” without any evidence being provided. At least 23 Palestinians were executed and dozens more were arrested and tortured. Contrary to some beliefs that Hamas are some sort of freedom fighters, they clearly aren’t. So given all this it’s clear that, no matter how you feel about this conflict the vast majority of Palestinians are innocent, they didn’t ask for this war, they’re government just thrust them into it. This is true of the other side as well though so I think it’s time for us to talk about that.


Israel and Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu also known as Bibi is the current Prime Minister of Israel, the one in charge of the government there, and the one who has been the hardest in pushing for retaliation against Hamas and into Gaza. Overall during his over a decade long service as Prime Minister his message has been that of safety through strength, that he needs to be the strongman in charge to protect Israelis from any outside attack. But despite his long time being in the office he is far from beloved in his country, especially following the October 7th attack which proved he had failed on his promise to protect Israelis from attack. There was also a public outcry against Bibi only a couple months before the attack occurred in response to his plan regarding the judiciary. This would have destroyed the independence of the judiciary. Bibi had plans to allow the Parliament of Israel to overturn any legislative decision just by a majority vote so at that point no court decision would matter, it would also remove the requirement for Prime Ministers to obey the legal advice of their advisers which they legally had to do up to that point. In response to this plan there were massive protests that happened weekly since the start of the year. Another thing to consider when discussing this is Israeli elections. In April 2019 an election was held in Israel where no political party was able to gain an outright majority and Netanyahu called election after election, constantly ending in a deadlock, for roughly 4 years until November 2022 when they still didn’t form a clear majority and Netanyahu formed a coalition with the furthest right political parties. This caused important government positions to be filled with right wing extremists. One of those extremists, Itamar Ben-Gvir who is currently serving as the country’s Minister of National Security, has been convicted on eight separate felonies,  including incitement to racism and supporting a terrorist organization. At one point, he was considered so fringe that the Israeli army had rejected him from mandatory service. Meanwhile the current finance minister has said “is there a Palestinian history or culture? There is none’… There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.” and has advocated for settlement in the West Bank, forcing Palestinians out of their homes. Settlements are against international law and yet the current government wants a massive expansion. Despite these horrific ideas espoused by the officials in the government it’s important to point out that it is not strictly a government. Israelis chose they had elections for 4 years that were not conclusive until he made backroom deals to bring this government to fruition. They weren’t the one choosing this coalition, that was Netanyahu’s call not theirs.


What do we do going forward?

Both Palestinians and Israelis have been constantly let down by their leaders and have been facing attacks constantly for the past 3 months. Palestinians especially have been let down due to active cruelty from their leaders torturing and killing them to the Israel government doing the same thing bombing without thought in an area where roughly half the people living there are children. This conflict is messy and both parties are acting with cruelty and killing innocents, but I’m not going to tell you exactly how you should feel,  you’re allowed to be angry and furious with both of the governments and you’re allowed to have complex feelings about the whole conflict.

I want to emphasize that no matter what, one thing that doesn’t change is the people in both these countries are mostly innocent and didn’t ask for this one way or another. The fact is, no matter what happens, the people who want to live in this area are going to continue to live there. You can’t stop that, and the only way to move forward is to have a cease fire and sort out the differences as people. The people living there are either going to be learning to share that region or are going to be forced to share a graveyard that their governments are creating for them.

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About the Contributor
Aidan Barney, Editor
Aidan Barney is a Senior at Wauwatosa West and is in his first year as a member of The Tosa Compass. His writing often focuses on recent political events such as anti trans legislation and the gun debate. In his free time Aidan enjoys singing, playing games, and watching movies and tv.
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