It's not what it looks like.
From August 2008 to August 2011, I spent my time in Hebron and At-Tuwani, Palestine, as a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams. There, while working with Palestinians in leadership and with Israeli organizations such as Gush Shalom, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Tayyush, I came to see more clearly that the oppression suffered by the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza is not only largely dismissed by the international community, but also is blamed primarily upon the Palestinians.
The daily lives of the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza (Gaza is still territorially controlled by Israel in its borders, air space, exports and imports) speak of many instances of disproportionate Israeli aggression upon Palestinians who allegedly have thrown stones or who have raised the flag for a free Palestine. Serious road restrictions, inaccessibility to mosques, to education, to needed medical services, to their land, to their families all resulting from the presence of settlers (colonialists) and their settlement building and therefore "requiring" the presence of the Israeli military have strangled Palestine of its "air," its vitality and economic potential.
Jeremiah "Jerry" Haber is the nom de plume of an orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor. He says the following:
Israeli Defense Forces rockets and missiles have killed more innocent civilians in the last three days than all the Hamas rockets combined in the last eight years.
So why might vigilante groups and Hamas continue to fire Qassam rockets at Israel? My assumption, after living there and seeing the oppression, is that they, too, might have a recognized voice in the world, insisting they as a people are now having their basic human rights denied.
"Lift our border control," shout the voices. "Let us export our products and make a decent living!" shout other voices. "We want to live normal lives so our children can grow like your children" shout still other voices.
These voices, unless heard by the international powers that can make a difference, will continue to shout louder and louder until finally it will be too late also for Israel to benefit from a just negotiation.
Sister Paulette Schroeder,
Sisters of St. Francis