The Roaring Times

The Student Newspaper of John H. Pitman High School.

The Roaring Times

The Roaring Times

Palestine vs. Israel: War or Genocide?

Palestine vs. Israel: War or Genocide?

The war in the Middle East has been the hot topic that everyone has been thinking about since the weekend of October 7th and here is all you need to know.

Essentially, everything regarding Palestine and Israel started after WWII when the Jews were liberated from the camps in Europe. But to understand the story a little more, one must not ignore the fact that the landmass known as Israel today was lived on by the Jewish people back in the Biblical times. However, in 19 A.D, under Roman rule, the Jewish population was kicked out of Judea (Israel at the time) most likely, according to, “because of the civil unrest [the Jews] fostered.” Later on, in 1290, the Jewish population of England was also kicked out by Edward I who was a former King of England.

According to, “the Balfour Declaration of 1917 express[ed] support for ‘the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people’ and as such, during 1922-1947, large-scale Jewish immigration, mainly from Eastern Europe took place. The decision did not take into account the wishes of the people of Palestine, despite the requirements that ‘the wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection.’”

The Arab Muslims that were living in Palestine were not happy with this and tried resisting the immigration which according to was, “through non-violent diplomatic means, such as boycott and civil disobedience.” Eventually their need for independence triggered a rebellion in 1937 which included acts of terrorism from both sides (Israel and Palestine) as the latter resorted to force of arms in 1936. After having tried various ways to resolve the violence, the UK failed and turned the problem to the United Nations (UN).

In 1948, the UN, which itself was fairly new (about 2 years old) decided to split the land of Israel in an attempt to create balance between the two ethnicities and religions. This was what the UN thought would be fair; Jews getting some of their land back and Palestinians remaining where they had been living for the past. Even so, this was not how the decision was viewed by either side.

Palestinians saw the decision as a land theft and the Jews eventually took over the whole of Palestinians land, more than what they were initially given by the UN. states, “Israel proclaimed its independence and, in a series of successive wars, its territorial control expanded to occupy all of Palestine.” Israel took half of the land that the UN gave to the Palestinians, leaving them with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, basically 22% of their original land mass. Now, in 2023, even the West Bank has been dispersed and isn’t fully under Palestinian rule. Keep in mind that the Palestinians had already had to adjust to less land than they were used to, but now, they had even less land to call home.

Ever since 1948 (~75 years), the Palestinians have been struggling for their lost lands and injustice they claim they faced at the hands of the UN. And ever since 1948, “there have been wars and destruction, forcing millions of Palestinians into exile…” ( For the record, the UN being the one that started the land distribution and was the one that came up with this solution, is yet to step in to help, prevent or solve any conflict.

With the decision from the UN taking half of Palestinian lands, they were not at all content with the decision of the UN and were not willing to share their land with “foreigners.” Point to be noted: ~99,806 Jews immigrated to Palestine in less than a decade along with 5,533 non-Jews, making a total of over 100,000 immigrants ( The Palestinian concerns were not addressed and the Jews moved into Israel nonetheless. Naturally, this caused civil unrest between the Jewish population and the Palestinian population in the 8,019–8,522 square miles of land neighbored by Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

Essentially, that was the overview of the history that pertains to Israel and Palestine. Considering all the land-thievery and injustice Palestinians had to endure, a terrorist group called Hamas retaliated against the Israeli government on October 7th, 2023. In a nutshell, they stormed into Israel and started attacking anyone they saw in the streets and in an attempt to make a statement, Hamas killed ~1,400 Israelis and counting, and took hostages as well. However, the retaliation was met with fierce response from the Israeli government: airstrikes which is said to have caused 10,000+ Palestinian deaths and counting, according to Gaza officials ( Hamas’s actions has left everyone with questions: What were they trying to accomplish? What was their statement? Why now? Why so random? Was Iran behind the Hamas attack? We don’t know.

What we do know however, is that due to Hamas’s acts of violence, Israel officially declared war on Palestine a day after the attack of October 7th. This was followed by, as previously mentioned, airstrikes and “a directive from the defense minister to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to carry out a “complete siege” of Gaza” ( Simultaneously, Israel has blocked all water, electricity, food, medicine and fuel in Gaza for the Palestinians which is considered a war crime, breaking international war laws. Though, for the record, this is not the only war crime that Israel has committed.

In more recent news, Israel directed north Gaza residents to evacuate to the south for a ground assault. As the Palestinians began their journey to the south, according to, Israel bombed those paths, killing dozens on the routes that they were essentially told to use. Likewise, a bombing occurred in a Palestinian hospital which, as deleted evidence showed, was done by Israel in an attempt to get rid of the terrorists residing nearby said hospital. However, the post was later deleted and replaced with one focusing the blame on a misfired Palestinian rocket. This incident killed over 500 wounded and civilians.

The following is an accumulation of responses from a question I posted online: “What is your opinion on Palestine vs. Israel?”

One student said, “It is sad that innocent lives are being taken on both sides and that Palestine does not wish for peace as they’ve broken every peace treaty made with them.”

Some other students, in a nutshell, claimed, “I stand with Palestine simply because they deserve freedom. Israel cut off basic human needs from a population that’s 50% children who are stuck in an open air prison. This is ethnic cleansing and genocide, not a conflict. Everyone seems to be turning a blind eye because the western media claims that what Israel is doing is killing terrorists [we all know how well-connected the concept of terrorism is to the Middle East, or how that idea has been embedded into the American mind since 9/11], instead of calling it as what it is: colonization. What Hamas did was wrong. But that should not overshadow what Israel has BEEN doing to innocent Palestinians for years. It is time for Jews to stop playing the Holocaust card. It is time to stop being selective with their morality. It is about time people stop cherry picking what lives matter more. It is time people stop being biased. And it is about time people learn from history rather than repeating it. If anyone owes the Jews anything, it is the European countries, not Palestine. Additionally, the “eye-to-eye” approach that Israel has taken is absolutely disgusting, but it cannot be denied that both Hamas and Israel have done some pretty horrific things.”

One student in particular pointed out, “[Many] Americans support Israel because the US government has taken a stance and people tend to align with their country. What would we think of Israel if we had decided to side with Palestine? I personally think Hamas needs to be stopped as it has been shown that they do not negotiate and they double cross. I think that Israel should back off until they can formulate a plan that does not involve multiple war crimes against a nation that has been just as discriminated against as Israel. Is this not corruption? Be with America and you get a free pass? Two wrongs do not make a right. Israel needs help from outside countries to give Hamas the justice it deserves while also making sure to not commit war crimes. No country, person, or thing should be above the law.”

I also interviewed a Pitman staff member and here is their opinion in this topic: “No civilians deserve to be targeted. I wish that’s something we could all agree on. They shouldn’t be targeted by blockades or airstrikes or acts of vengeance. They also shouldn’t be targeted by terrorist groups who justify atrocities based on claims of liberating territory lost nearly a century ago. John Stuart Mill said something like, ‘He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of the case.’ I wish that we were seeing more people willing to condemn the crimes on their own side instead of reflexively jumping to [what the other side has done]. So many people are interested in winning a debate that they’ve stopped aiming for a compromise.”

“I often think of George Carlin’s line, ‘Inside the heart to every cynic is a disappointed idealist.’ I guess this is one of the many situations in the world that makes me a little disappointed in our species. I remind myself not to catastrophize, and to believe that peace is possible. Our species is capable of changing- but you can’t improve yourself if you won’t admit you need to change.”

“I wish that the Israeli government would admit to their colonialist history. I wish they would apologize for the offenses to the Palestinian people over the last century, of which there have been many. I wish they would reject maximalist aims of their West Bank settlers and use the IDF to remove them. I wish they would supply Palestinian civilians with food, water, and medicine. I wish they would see what an invasion of Gaza will do to the next generation of Palestinian hearts and minds.”

“I also wish the Palestinian people would openly reject Hamas- their goals and their tactics. Hamas rejects peace and embraces suicide bombing, indiscriminate rocket attacks, and genocidal language… My personal view is that the Palestinian people deserve the world’s sympathy, support, and charity. Palestinians deserve their own state and Hamas has no right to exist.”

A lot of people feel this way, however, many ask the question, “If we condemn Hamas for the things they’ve done, should Israel be condemned for their actions as well?” As a response to the previous interviewee, a student that wished to stay anonymous, said the following: “I think this person has very insightful thoughts on this topic, they’re very well-educated, however I feel like when it comes to Hamas and Israel they are very one-sided. ‘Hamas has no right to exist’ for what they have done, but Israel should apologize and it’s ok? That’s essentially what this person is saying. With that standard, it should be okay if Hamas apologizes. But we all know that won’t be accepted, yet to think that Israel will be pardoned after killing 10,000+ civilians says a lot about our morals. I am not in complete awe of their view on Palestine because that’s basic humanity; give them aid and help? Basic stuff. Stop bombing them? Bare minimum. However, I am still glad they’re recognizing this genocide and speaking up because it seems a lot of people are ignorant when it comes to this topic. As for the ‘next generation of Palestinian hearts and minds,’ the question is, will there BE a next generation if Israel continues what they’re doing right now?”

It is common knowledge that Western media coverage is not something to be entirely dependent on. Especially news sources that are known to be in the back pockets of politicians. Here’s an example of their diction when it comes to what is happening between Israel and Palestine: When massacres happen in Gaza, it is the Zionists, the “Jewish Irgun or Haganah militias” but when the same thing happens on Israeli soil, it’s a terrorist attack. This creates an outlet for the IDF to drop 6,000 airstrikes on what’s “one of the most densely populated strips of land on earth” and for the world to stay silent and become bystanders to ethnic cleansing. Another one was when a BBC News Reporter said: “12 people, including 61 children have died in Gaza and 12 people including 2 children have been killed in Israel.”

I will leave you with one thought: Saying “hooray Hamas” might upset some people, but hypocrisy is a poison consumed by many. And as such, Zionism is justified and Hamas is condemned.