Is an Israeli child more innocent than a Palestinian child?

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Originally published in Rochester Hills Patch

Why must everyone continue to take one side, and ignore the innocent lives that are lost on the other?

Blood has long stained the land of Palestine. But at home, we see something different. Sympathy for the Palestinian people is rare—the bias cannot be overlooked. A recent poll done by CNN shows that only one out of every four Americans gives support to the Palestinian people. I know as a nation we ally ourselves with Israel. But Palestinian civilians deserve our support as well—they are worthy of human rights.

Unlike our government and media, I will not presume to paint one side as righteous and the other as evil. But I would like to set the record straight on the so called “Innocence of Israel” that we continue to promote.

Approximately 1,335 children have died at the hands Israeli Security Forces since the year 2000, according to the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Alarmingly, 73 percent of the West Banks water supply is diverted to Israel, while 10 percent is used by Israeli settlements within the borders of the territories, leaving only 17 percent to be consumed by Palestinians. Do our politicians and news anchors know of these numbers? I’m sure they do, but such stats often go unreported in the media.

Speaker Newt Gingrich believes Palestinians are a made up race. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, during his presidential campaign, stated again and again that we must side with Israel. Current President Barack Obama has continuously championed Israel’s right to defend itself.

Why must everyone continue to take one side, and ignore the innocent lives that are lost on the other? Even our religious communities hold to a bias of one side or another–at times exclusively. Muslims, Christians, and Jews. These individuals need to take a hard look at their own scriptures, before defending their claims.

Leviticus 19:33-34 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.  You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

I invite my Jewish and Christian friends to consider that tanks rampaging Palestinian homes, while children are still asleep inside, is not the will of Jehovah.

Holy Quran 4:91 “So, if they keep aloof from you and fight you not, and make you an offer of peace, then remember that Allah has allowed you no way of aggression against them.”

I implore my Muslim friends to recognize that firing rockets into Jewish elementary schools and killing innocent children who have no claim in this conflict is exactly contrary to the will of Allah.

There was a time where I was hopeful for the peace process. But now, I feel it is more than a lost cause because both sides tend to polarize rather than compromise. As long as human rights are disregarded because of bias, no peace can be obtained. As long as justice is absent from the minds of the masses, harmony between these two nations will never be successful. The main thing we need to understand is that there are civilians who get caught in this crossfire. Neither side is righteous in their acts of hatred, but that doesn’t mean their civilians are not innocent bystanders. Both Israeli and Palestinian.

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