The Jewish people deserve a homeland. Having endured centuries of persecution in Europe and Russia, they were tragic victims of the Holocaust. Everyone should be deeply sympathetic to their painful past.

The attack that Hamas carried out on Oct. 7 was horrific and inexcusable. The murder of 1,200 innocent civilians and abduction of 240 hostages is an abhorrent and unjustifiable crime.

The Israeli government’s response, a massive bombing campaign, is misguided. More than 27,000 Palestinians, the majority women and children, have been killed, and more than 66,000 wounded. The deaths will rise with the ensuing humanitarian crisis. Palestinians in Gaza are homeless. The goal of Israel is ostensibly to eliminate Hamas. Hamas represents an ideology of hate. Bombing civilians doesn’t eliminate hate; it fuels it.

The Zionist movement, a desire for a Jewish homeland in biblical Israel, was founded in the late 1800s in response to the terrible persecution Jews endured in Europe and Russia. This land, Palestine, was the home of Arabs who lived for hundreds of years under Ottoman rule in thriving communities. The early Zionist movement did not envision a multicultural state, and the local Arab population was viewed as an obstacle.

The ensuing Arab-Israeli conflict is complex. What is indisputable is that Palestinians were dispossessed from their land by a flawed process overseen by the international community. What follows is underappreciated injustice.

The 1947 UN partition plan allocated 52% of Palestine for the Jewish state and 46% of Palestine for Arabs, with Jerusalem and Bethlehem being a UN mandate. This is despite an Arab population of 1,200,000 and a Jewish population 600,000.  By the end of the 1949 Arab-Israeli War, Israel occupied 77% of what was Palestine. The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was controlled by Jordan and Gaza by Egypt. A Palestinian state never materialized.


The 1948 Nakba is a signature event – 700,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homeland by violent Zionist militias. These Palestinians were never allowed the right of return, while leaders of the Zionist militias assumed an active role in the subsequent Israeli government. This is central to the multigenerational trauma Palestinians feel to this day. Ancestors of these displaced Palestinians live under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.

After the 1967 war, Israel controlled the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli historian Ilan Pappé describes these occupied territories as “the biggest prison on earth.” The West Bank is home to 2 million Palestinians and 700,000 illegal Jewish settlers. The Palestinians lack basic freedoms, while their movements are controlled by the Israeli military. Jewish settlers carry firearms and terrorize Palestinians with impunity. The goal of the settler movement is further dispossession of Palestinian land, rendering a Palestinian state unobtainable.

Gaza is tiny, the home of 2.3 million Palestinians. Occupied by Israel for nearly 40 years after the 1967 war, Israel withdrew its citizens and military in 2005 and instituted a crippling blockade. Living conditions were deplorable before Oct. 7. Citizens lacked potable water, reliable electricity and employment. Travel outside Gaza was severely restricted. This pressure cooker contributed to a violent ideology.

Palestinians in Gaza are trapped and destitute. Putting together the entire trajectory of how Israel was created, the current campaign in Gaza and the call for expelling all Palestinians from Gaza by Israeli Cabinet ministers, this looks like a campaign to depopulate Gaza of Palestinians.

Accordingly, a ceasefire should commence with the return of all Israeli hostages in exchange for nonviolent Palestinian prisoners. Meaningful aid must be delivered to beleaguered Palestinians in Gaza. The killing must stop.

A durable peace rests with an honest reckoning of past history and injustice. Everyone must recognize the other’s pain. A new Marshall Plan to provide Palestinians a dignified homeland with hope for the future is needed. This will allow Israelis to finally live in peace and sideline malign actors.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.