Tragedy in Gaza, on both sides

| Op-Ed Submission

Amnesty International is a non-partisan organization that campaigns to protect human rights both locally and globally. We were greatly disturbed by the recent conflict in Gaza, and we were surprised that, upon arriving back from winter break, we did not hear more discussion on campus about this issue. Washington University Amnesty believes that neither side should deny civilians their basic human rights. We encourage everyone to think about conflicts in this way and to believe that being vocal about what you think is right can support your cause, even with critique.

During the Israeli campaign’s three-week span, more than a thousand people died, including many women and hundreds of children. More than 20,000 buildings were destroyed, and tens of thousands of Palestinians are now homeless. There is evidence that illegal weapons were used by both sides, including white phosphorus, which is highly incendiary and should not be used in civilian areas. Although Israeli troops have withdrawn, they leave behind a wake of pain and destruction.

This is not to belittle the suffering Israelis feel due to the hundreds of rocket attacks per month on their homes and cities. A member of our group in Israel right now attests to this. Amnesty does not support the targeting of civilians by either side. However, Israel’s 18-month blockade on Gaza left Palestinians with limited resources and medical supplies and increased poverty in the area.

Wash. U. Amnesty believes that it is possible to support the Israeli people and Israel’s right to exist without supporting all the Israeli government’s actions. You can also believe in and support a Palestinian state without condoning all the actions of Hamas. There has been suffering on both sides, but now Israel, Palestine and the international community need to look to rebuilding the Gaza Strip.

If you are interested in discussing your views or simply learning more about this complex issue, please join us, the Wash. U. Peace Coalition and Students for a Peaceful Palestinian-Israeli Future for “Get to Know Gaza” a town hall event on Wednesday, Feb. 11 in Lab Sciences 300 at 7 p.m. This event will not be set up as a debate, but instead as an outlet for sharing information and expression.

Also: We are aware that in the last issue of Studlife, there was an editorial criticizing an article written about our program. We encourage any member of the Wash. U. community to bring relevant information and experience to enhance the forum.

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