Polarization in Conflict Doesn’t Produce Solutions

Certainly not helping alleviate the crisis are the toxic public relations campaigns propped up around this violent exchange. Through sites like Facebook and Twitter, people have participated in creating their own hierarchies of oppression in which fingers are pointed, pictures of dead children posted and nationalistic slurs are used. The back and forth declarations of unbridled allegiance and solidarity are enough to leave one’s head spinning. At J Street U, a pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian and pro-peace organization at UCSD, we reject this unproductive, anti-solution polarization.

The cyclical violence is but one symptom of the status quo, along with the lack of a long-term resolution and the absence of prominent developments on the diplomatic front. We have the obligation to push for effective non-violent diplomatic measures that can save lives today and shape better lives for tomorrow. We cannot expect everyday Palestinians and Israelis to suffer the consequences of political finger pointing. We must amplify the voice that supported an immediate ceasefire and is demanding that negotiations restart.

In this dark hour, we have a choice to make. We can make the usual excuses and continue to disregard the need for Palestinian self determination and improved quality of life. We can actively ignore the need for Israeli security and political normalization with her neighbors. We can support these politics of blame, creating a vacuum for progress. Or we can transcend the blame game, challenge ourselves to have meaningful discourse within our communities and between our communities. We can reject the violent outcomes that have come as a result of weak diplomatic attempts and instead work towards the widely accepted two-state solution. The framework for this solution has been laid out for some time, yet politicians have failed to act. If real progress cannot be made soon to dramatically improve the situation on the ground, we may completely lose the opportunity for peace and justice in this region of the world already too tarnished by bloody conflict.

While a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has just been reached, only a two-state solution will achieve long-lasting, sustainable security and non-violence in the region. As American citizens, we have to urge our government to demonstrate strong diplomatic leadership and begin this process of negotiating a two-state solution. U.S. leadership has played a pivotal role in brokering just resolutions for conflict between Israel and her neighbors. This should be no different. Please join J Street U and thousands of peace supporters in sending the message to our leaders that helping to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is of critical importance. Let’s end this tragedy once and for all. 

— Jacob Silverman
Senior, Thurgood Marshall College