Why is Palestine not Ukraine? On the side of the aggrieved

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Many of the people who refuse to sympathize with Ukraine today believe that the Ukrainian conflict is an invention of the Americans or that we in the West have no right to take sides.

There are as many as 59 wars in the world right now, and yet we ignore most of them, or if we do know about them, we do not take sides in the same way, or we even side with the aggressor.

However, there are just as many people who feel that in Palestine there is now more than ever a great guilt, that of the West, and who live badly with a lack of decisive diplomatic intervention and sanctioning in support of the rights of the Palestinian people to have a state in which they can live.

Crimes and violence are accepted because in a general framework of alliances within the framework of Realpolitik, it seems justified to support them with the fear that otherwise there would be more damaging effects. We must be careful, however, not to use this argument as a justification for political action in the face of tragedies such as the Palestinian one, which has lasted since ’48-’49, with respect to which the West has obtained an oscillating and ambiguous position, with respect to a possible solution of two separate states.

The Italian economist Michele Boldrin explains, from a moral point of view, how the West’s failure to take a clear-cut position in support of Palestinian rights makes it hypocritical to give unconditional support to the Ukrainian defense.

From this perspective, on the strictly ethical level of individual principles, support for Ukraine is delegitimized by its failure to take a stand against the Palestinian people who have been similarly harassed for more than 80 years.

In the Palestinian case, the great problem arises from the existence of this ancient religious-cultural conflict that develops and sharpens in the first half of the Second World War, in which political and cultural movements announce to the persecuted Jews in Europe that it is the case to return them to Israel, which is the land where the Jewish people has its historical-cultural roots, although not necessarily ethnic, because the diaspora has led Jewish citizens for centuries to live in various parts of the world.

But it is from 1949 that the blame rightly begins to be placed on Israel, with the Palestinian diaspora, by means of an organized war, showing how the plan to expel the Palestinian population from large parts of that country, which later became Israel, was consolidated.

The British decision following the famous Balfour Declaration of 1917, the choice of the British protectorate that had been created in the aftermath of the First World War, to support the expropriation of land conducted by the nascent state of Israel created the real drama that follows today. The US has lived in a kind of limbo with respect to Israel’s actions for a long time.

In 1956 when Israel decided in a coup supported by the British and the French to attack Egypt to try to deprive it of control over the Suez Canal, the US intervened with military threats forcing Israel and its allies at that time to withdraw and return the Suez Canal to Egypt, obviously with geopolitical interests, seeking allies in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia.

There is clearly a long-term political choice on Israel’s part, which is to drive out the Palestinians progressively, which is what it is achieving over the years.

The right attitude would be to ask governments around the world to take a much more interventionist stance in that conflict, proposing and forcing solutions that start from the mutual recognition of the right to exist.

The one-state is unworkable today, as long as the retrogressive, racist forces of Israeli politics have good game in describing the Palestinian people as a people that fuels terrorism and thus justifies their repressive action. Without a strong choice on the Palestinian side, which can certainly only be achieved with economic and social aid from Europe, there will be no way out of this situation.

So we can say in conclusion that international involvement has taken different measures than the Russian-Ukrainian and Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The war in Ukraine, although more recent in fact, has seen more evident support from some Western countries for Ukraine and a sharper condemnation of Russian aggression. In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the other hand, international support was divided, with some countries supporting Israel and others supporting the Palestinians, creating a complex diplomatic situation.

From a social point of view, there are several reasons why public opinion, especially in the West, seems to treat the two cases differently. On the one hand, media coverage can strongly influence public opinion. In Western democracies, the media have more access to information about the Ukrainian conflict than they can get from the more disputed areas of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This could lead to greater awareness of Russian aggression in Ukraine than the conflict in Palestine. Moreover, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves deep cultural and religious issues that may create divisions and sensitivities in different communities, even within Western societies. This may contribute to a greater polarization of opinions.

In summary, the differences between Russian aggression in Ukraine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are related to complex geopolitical and historical dynamics, as well as public perceptions influenced by the media, international relations and cultural issues. As a matter of fact, public perception may be sharper with respect to Ukraine, whereas the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often the subject of more conflicting views due to its deeply complex and sensitive nature.

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