“I have no doubt that our alliance will endure the profound disagreement we have had with the Obama administration.” – Bibi Netanyahu
Millennials are more likely to sympathize with Palestinians than Israelis. According to a Pew Research poll, the gap among sympathizers is the largest with millennials. “Millennials are the only generational cohort in which fewer than half (43%) sympathize more with Israel.”
As tensions rise in the Middle East, our fellow millennials desire peace. A noble undertaking, but one that, if not handled with caution, holds deep consequences. We can’t fall prey to peace without properly understanding what peace in Israel means. The Palestinian leadership has a long history of terrorizing Israel, and “peace” in Israel is more complicated than a two-state solution. As millennials – free-thinkers, those willing to go against the grain – we should seek to understand what’s really going on. It may feel benevolent to side with the group that only wants land, but the consequences are detrimental. Palestinians have demonstrated again and again, that peace to them means the annihilation of Israel as we know it.
This year, both of us have had the incredible privilege of walking through Israel, drinking in the beauty of the land, but most importantly, meeting its people. One of the biggest benefits of our trip was hearing first hand how the Israelis think and feel, and seeking to truly understand the conflict with the Palestinians.
The Israelis are some of the strongest, most vivacious people we’ve ever met. Their strength, courage, and dedication are amazing, but what’s most breathtaking is their willingness to fight for the survival of their brethren and beloved country.
It is no surprise that the United Nations Security Council took up a resolution condemning Israeli settlements, an act that the United States has previously vetoed. Instead, what caused waves last Friday was the Obama administration’s decision to abstain from the vote, thus allowing the resolution to pass. A sympathetic gesture toward the Palestinians.
Now, in the final weeks leading up to the end of the Obama Administration, there seems to be no attempt to mollify those who see this as a slight to Israel. The opposition is loud, but the millennial voice is not entirely engaged. It is a sad reality that the root of the problem is not shared land or settlements, but the very existence of the Jewish state.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have voiced loud condemnation to the administration’s decision. Incoming Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has one alarming example of why handing over territory to the Palestinians will not work. He stated that Kerry “seems to have forgotten the history of the settlements in Gaza.” Referring to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. When, shortly after exiting, rockets were fired into Israel. An act of terrorism that continuously occurs today.
Since Israel’s inception, the country has been surrounded by a torrent of speculation and violence; its people conquering each obstacle with resilience. Unfortunately, Secretary Kerry accosted many Israeli people with this speech. While the majority of millennials may voice sympathy for Palestinians, what we do not deal with on an everyday basis is the threat of rocket attacks from an area that is overrun by acts of terror. Those who lead this cause against Israel hold a depraved indifference for human life.
In what can only be described as foreshadowing, President-Elect Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday the following:
“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching.”
Israel is the United States’ only democratic ally in the Middle East. If millennials truly want peace, they’ll support Israel, the United States’ only true friend in the region. Despite the recent effrontery, the American people hold the true relationship to Israel. It is imperative that there is an understanding of why the state of Israel exists and the commonality that exists between our societies.