Israel Palestinians

Israeli border police scuffle with protesters in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem, where several Palestinian families are under imminent threat of forcible eviction from their homes Saturday, May 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The Israeli government and Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed to a ceasefire that went into effect Friday, ending a 11-day conflict which saw more than 200 people killed.

Although the opposing sides have agreed to a cease fire, some knowledgeable students who have monitored the conflict doubt the long term effectiveness of the agreement. Biological engineering senior Soheil Saneei, also president of socialist organization Cooperation Rouge, believes peace cannot be fully reached without addressing the issues originally causing the violence.

“This ceasefire is going to cause stagnation until the next conflict,” Saneei said. “Until you treat the conditions that created the conflict, which would require the enfranchisement of Arabs in Israel and a right to return for all refugees.”

Tensions initially rose due to the pending Israeli Supreme Court case that was originally slated to be heard May 10 regarding the eviction of four Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighboorhood in East Jerusalem. Palestinian protestors clashed in multiple instances with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

The violence escalated May 10 as the IDF stormed the Als Asqa Mosque in East Jerusalem, which is the third most holiest site in Islam. Attempting to disperse protestors, the Israeli security forces employed tear gas and rubber bullets, resulting in 215 Palestinians being injured according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, a humanitarian organization that is a part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Hamas, the de-facto governing authority in Gaza that has been labeled as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, issued a May 10 deadline for the IDF to leave the mosque to the Israeli government, and proceeded to fire rockets towards Israeli forces after receiving no response.

The resulting warfare between both sides saw the deployment of thousands of rockets from Hamas while the Israeli government conducted airstrikes aimed to disable Hamas’ ability to fire rockets. The conflict resulted in the deaths of 212 Palestinians in Gaza and 10 Israelis.

Mechanical engineering senior Colin Roberts, who serves as the president of the Jewish Student Association at LSU, does agree that the tension and conflict won’t end without both sides finding an acceptable solution.

“Until we can find a solution that satisfies all parties, any ceasefire is just going to be a ceasefire until one side breaks it,” Roberts said. “It’s not going to end, I don’t think this conflict can ever end.”

President Biden praised the news of a ceasefire agreement.

“The United States fully supports Israels’ right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorists groups,” he said.

Roberts affirmed his belief that the United States should continue to support Israel in its defense, emphasizing the close relationship between the two countries.

“Israel is one of the only democracies in the Middle East, so supporting Israel just comes from the fact that they are a democracy,” Roberts said. “Without them, we would not have an ally in that region.”

As the conflict persisted throughout the middle of May, some students chose which side of the issue they believed was correct in its actions. Political communications senior Bryant Randall strongly supports Israel and its right to defend itself in this conflict.

“History shows Israel has not been the aggressor, they’ve been attacked multiple times,” Randall said. “I think this is an issue where you have to pick a side, and I believe the side of Israel is the side we should be on.”

Graduate student Jessie Fay Parrott disagrees with this sentiment, and refuses to support the Israeli government despite her Jewish religion.

“The point remains that Israel was built on indigenous lands, and the government since the beginning has been a colonial government,” Parrott said. “I cannot support that government, even though we have the same religion, and I cannot say prayers for Israel while knowing they are occupying Palestinian lands.”

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