Since early October, the world has seen the horrid realities of a conflict tearing through Gaza, often known as the Israel-Palestine Conflict. News has shown multiple egregious videos of innocent residents dying as fighting continues between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israeli forces. On October 7, 2023, decades-long tensions rose between the two when Hamas initiated a surprise attack on the Nova music festival and on several cities in Israel. According to CNN, at least 260 bodies were reportedly found by the Israeli rescue service Zaka, with 200+ individuals taken hostage by militants, based on videos released on social media.
This attack reignited a war that ravaged various places within Israel and the West Bank, but Gaza has been hit especially hard, with approximately 8000 Gazans killed. Opinions on the war vary, and are accompanied by misinformation in the media. The United States government has historically supported Israel, and continues to do so as the nation sends rockets into Gaza, citing Israel’s right to defense. Other nations and politicians, including Spanish Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra Urteaga, voice opinions encouraging peace and support for Palestine and call for complete ceasefire.
News source Al Jazeera explained that Qatar is mediating peace negotiations on the basis of ceasefire and exchange of prisoners between Israel and Hamas. As of October 25, at least 7,326 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks since October 7 and more than 1,400 people were killed in recent Hamas attack on Israel.
Multiple DePauw students and professors have voiced their opinions on the conflict. The DePauw collected the responses of several students and faculty, as seen below.
Alexis Cagan ‘24: “It is horrible that both innocent Israelis and Palestinians are being killed, but there is no room for a ceasefire if the goal is to get the terrorist group Hamas out of power. With Israel being one of the U.S.’s strongest allies, I’m certain that the U.S. will contribute heavily in aiding Israel’s military.”
Ahnaf Labib ‘26: “As a Muslim, I stand with Palestine. I do not know about the whole Hamas situation because I don’t have any proper information about it. I’ve seen reporters’ Instagrams being taken down and artists that I like supporting Israel. I get it, but it’s a tricky position for me to say anything about it as well when influencers say, ‘I support Israel just because whatever Hamas did is wrong.’ To be honest, I’m not worrying about it that much because it’s not like only my thoughts or my actions are going to change the whole thing, . . . But then again what Israel is doing is totally wrong and what Hamas is doing is wrong.”
Daniel Grad ‘25: “So I was raised Jewish, but I personally don’t practice or believe. I sympathize with Israel in that Israel is being subjected to double standards in mass media portrayal, especially as this conflict is so intensely focused as compared to others in the world. I acknowledge that the governments of both Israel and Palestine have exerted policies leading to immense suffering and hardship for their people. I don’t want to get into debates about ‘whose side is killing more innocent women and children, and how brutally are they doing it?’ because that goes nowhere so often and easily. I do want to focus on, though, particularly as someone understandably sympathetic to Jewish history, that the existence of Israel as a nation indeed has historical precedent, with the Jewish presence in the land being historically documented. . . .the very disagreeable actions of the Israeli government don’t need to mean that Israel is worthy of being singled out and uniquely demonized on a global scale. It’s a horrendous conflict with origins dating back millennia, and so many people misunderstand the historical significance for everyone involved. Regardless, the establishment of Israel has indeed led to displacement from home refugees, and there’s simply no easy way out of reconciling the historical nuance of Israelis and Palestinians constantly living in fear of violence that could arise at any moment. I feel immense sympathy for all the people who have had to deal with loss throughout so much war in the land. The effects of the Israel-Palestine conflict have inevitably led to periodically bubbling antisemitism around the rest of the world, and Jews in other countries deserve not to be demonized and misunderstood as “colonial oppressors” either, when that doesn’t accurately reflect Jewish history. Violence against Jews and Arabs emerging in other countries truly is a sad sign of how entrenched this conflict is in the global consciousness, and not for good.”
Alyvia Hogan ‘24: “It’s important to feel for the families stuck in the situation and the loss of their loved ones and children, on either side.”
Rebecca Kluesner ‘25: “I have been devastated seeing some of the stories of what people are going through.”
Associate Professor of Education Studies Derek Ford: “Of course, it is complicated; what in the world isn't? In essence, however, this is the latest chapter in the indigenous people of Palestine's resistance to the settler-colonial state of Israel that was created by an illegal 1948 U.N. Partition. Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism (or even with Israel, as the founder of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, at one point urged for the occupation of Uganda). Israel is also an apartheid state, which is why there were strong ties between Israel and the settler-colonial apartheid states of South Africa and Rhodesia. Those resisting that oppression, like the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela, were considered "terrorists" by the U.S. government. The same is true for any Palestinian who dares to resist Israel's continuing project of ethnically cleansing all of Palestine by state and individual acts of terror. It was the latter of which prompted the latest counterattack by Palestinians in Gaza (not "Hamas", although Hamas is the democratically-elected government of Gaza –– there are many forces at play). The struggle is not over religion; there are, after all Jewish Palestinians! The struggle is between a colonized peoples and a colonizing power. Violence is terrible, but it is not up to us to dictate the terms by which the oppressed resist; and there is no terrorist act so brutal as the siege and blockade of Gaza. Finally, to quote Paulo Freire, ‘never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed.’”
Amidst the conflicting media coverage and the various opinions of the DePauw community, the Israel-Palestine conflict remains one of the most devastating moments in recent history. If students or faculty would like to share their thoughts further, please send Letters to the Editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind that The DePauw reserves the right to refuse Letter to the Editor that include hate speech, offensive language, or that may otherwise cause harm to our student body.