On Wednesday, the Indiana Daily Student published a letter to the editor that made several false assertions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The letter was responding to two recent columns by Bryce Greene that made astute criticisms of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The letter claims that during the Great March of Return protests last summer, when Gazans demonstrated near the fence that traps them inside Gaza, “thousands of Israelis would have been slaughtered” by rockets if not for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Yet, according to data compiled from Israeli government sources and Israel’s leading human rights organization B’Tselem, in the full decade before Iron Dome was installed, a total of 17 Israelis died from the thousands of primitive projectiles launched by Palestinian militants.
However, in just the first six months of the protests, Israel shot dead 150 demonstrators, including 31 children, and injured over 10,000 others. During the same period, one Israeli soldier was injured and one killed near the Gaza fence.
The letter also said Hamas offered children $83 to get injured in the protests, a claim whose only sources are the Israeli military and Israel’s state media outlet Kan. The letter called on Hamas to stop building “terror tunnels,” which is strange terminology seeing as not one terrorist attack has ever been carried out through the tunnels, and Israeli intelligence says they’re aimed at military targets.
The letter says “Palestinians were offered peace plans in 1947, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and once again at the 2019 Bahrain Conference.” I have no idea why 2002, 2003 and 2007 are listed — such offers simply never occurred. The mention of this year’s Bahrain conference, where Jared Kushner unveiled part of his so-called “deal of the century,” is deceptive, because that proposal neither promises peace nor addresses any of the conflict’s core issues like borders and refugees. As for the other years, the claim is true but misleading.
Yes, Palestinians were offered peace deals in 1947, 2000 and 2008. In fact, Palestinians could achieve “peace” at any time by simply submitting to Israel’s will. But the offers were rejected because they failed to sufficiently address Palestinians’ grievances over the loss of their homeland and the deprivation of their human rights.
I feel no compulsion to praise Hamas, and nothing in this letter is written with that purpose. I simply believe that if we wish to have a serious discussion of Israel and Palestine, the first step is sticking to the facts.
Senior in Jazz Studies, Theatre & Drama and Political Science