Engaging views and analysis from outside contributors on the issues affecting society and faith today.

CP VOICES do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

What American college protestors miss regarding Gaza, the Palestinian question

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

American colleges seem to be on fire with the anti-Israeli and pro-Hamas demonstrations turning aggressive and violent. The students involved in these demonstrations seem stalwart in their beliefs, insisting that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza as it replies to the Oct. 7 invasion.

What many of these students lack, if not sincerity, is a good dose of history. Particularly, Israeli efforts to attempt to make a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

However, before that can even be addressed, the obvious must be stated: On Oct. 7, 2023, Israel’s border fence was breeched by Hamas terrorists. A bloodbath ensued in which upwards of 1,200 Israelis were brutally killed, and 240 were taken hostage, including Americans. Israel was certainly not the aggressor — it was the victim. Enough said?

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

Israel has sincerely reached out it’s hand for peace many times, only to have it slapped away by Palestinian representatives.

Consider the Camp David Accords that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War that were brokered in 1978 by then President Jimmy Carter. In it, Egypt and Israel agreed to put away the sword and not solve their differences with military action. Moreover, Israel agreed to negotiate the return of the Sinai Peninsula. Following the conflict the U.N. adopted Resolution 242 which called on Arab countries to “live in peace within … secure boundaries” and a prompting to recognize Israel as a legitimate state in the region.

Surprisingly, as the first Intifada exploded, PLO leader Yassir Arafat made what was to some, a shocking announcement — the PLO would accept “the existence of Israel as a state in the region.” As a “bonus” the PLO would refrain from all forms of “terrorism.”

This move opened the door for more productive and direct negotiations with the Palestinians — it was a hopeful sign that there would be movement and, finally, a peace outcome that all could agree on. Unfortunately, it bore little fruit as more details were exchanged and no real agreement solidified; the PLO and the Palestinians simply ignored or rejected robust offers from the Israeli side.

Then, in 2008, Israel, practically speaking, just about “gave away the store.” The Prime Minister at that time, Ehud Olmert, decided it was time to get some kind of peace talks going with the Palestinians. Those talks were held in Annapolis, Maryland. Oddly, Hamas supported the talks and was at least willing to listen. They even stated that they would give full recognition to Israel should an acceptable agreement be reached.

The offer proposed by Olmert was quite generous: the Palestinians would get approximately 5.8% of Israeli land in exchange for 6.3% of the West Bank. 

Additionally, other concessions would be worked out should this first offer go forward. 

The PA representative, Mahmoud Abbas, did not sign the agreement, making vague excuses that he needed “more details.” The fact seems to be that he never said “no” to the offer and was motivated more by Olmert’s political troubles, namely, his convictions on bribery — would his replacement rescind the agreement? Many, even today, believe that Abbas was secretly “on board” with the agreement.

In any event, had the PA and Hamas moved forward on the offer, the door would have swung wide open for further and more far-reaching negotiations, and the events of Oct. 7 might have never happened. 

In 2009, Netanyahu offered something similar, but insisted on all areas under Palestinian control to be de-militarized. Obviously, this was a move to protect Israel from terrorist attacks. Clearly, an armed Palestinian state could pose an existential threat to the Israeli population. We need not meditate long on this as the events of the past months have clearly demonstrated its wisdom.

So, to all the American college students who are screaming about Israel’s action in Gaza, my plea goes out to them to put down the bullhorn and placards and spend some time looking honestly at Israel and her agreeable actions toward the Palestinians. 

Surely, there is no one in Israel, except maybe fringe elements, who want to see the women and children in Gaza killed or suffer from lack of food and housing. But when you have an enemy that hides behind women’s skirts, in tunnels — and perhaps most egregiously — in hospitals, your military choices are few.

History does not necessarily go in a circle — it goes in a line toward new situations and resolutions.

Hopefully, the events in Gaza will have a resolution that will surprise us all — a lasting peace for all and a time to rebuild.

Joseph M Bianchi is an independent journalist and author based in Greenville, SC.

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More In Opinion