Conflict In The Middle East

Read about the ongoing war in the Middle East, as well as GLHS opinions on the matter
An American and Israel flag hangs up in Shaltry’s room. The teacher has been vocal in his support for Israel over the past few months.
An American and Israel flag hangs up in Shaltry’s room. The teacher has been vocal in his support for Israel over the past few months.
Carson Lemon

On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas, a militant Palestinian terrorist organization launched a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. This attack stems from a 16 year blockade on Palestinian occupied territories in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Hamas first came to power in 2006 when they won Palestinian Legislative Council elections that same year against Fatah, the former party in power of the region (Barron, 1, 2023). Conflict broke out when the parties failed to reach an agreement on how to rule in conjunction, which ended with Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip, and Fatah in control of the West Bank, a landlocked territory almost 14 times the size of the Gaza Strip, with over 3 million Palestinians residing there. In response, Israel has since barred the movement of goods and people from in or out of the Gaza Strip, in an effort to stop hostile Hamas forces from entering Israel. With over 2.2 million people living in the Gaza Strip, and no way to leave, Israel has been criticized by various members of the international community for upholding the blockade over the years. The morning of the attack, members of Hamas gunned through blockades put in place by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), and launched around 3,000 rockets into Israel (Al Jazeera, 5, 2023). Hamas forces also took Israeli civilians as hostages during their attack. Later in the day, the IDF retaliated with air strikes continuing throughout the days until a seven day ceasefire was agreed upon to exchange hostages from both sides on Nov. 24, 2023.

The Israeli Ministry of Health reported 700 deaths on their side (Al Jazeera, 14, 2023), while the Palestinian Ministry of Health has estimated 18,000 deaths as of Dec. 9th, 2023 (Maher, 1, 2023). Hamas attributes their initial attack as a push against colonizing Israelites pushing into historically Palestinian territory. In July of 2023, Israel approved over 5,700 new housing units to be built in the West Bank, in some instances even pushing Palestinian families out of homes they have lived in for decades (Federmen, 3, 2023).

The UN has called for the ending of these settlement plans in Israel, even finding Israel guilty of violating international law with their encroachment on the West Bank. “Sitting on our hands while the situation unravels is short-sighted and dangerous,” the Brazilian UN representative, Sérgio França Danese said. Other international voices have also bashed Israel for the extreme measures taken against the Palestinian people, even those unaffiliated with Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched massive retaliation attacks, including dropping bombs, cutting off food, water, and electricity to the entire region.

People all over the United States have chosen sides of the conflict, over whom to support and where to spend their money. Andy Pertler, a GLHS student, talked about how they choose to show their support for Palestine. “I make sure that I stay properly educated so I can responsibly inform others about these issues,” Pertler said when asked about the issue. “Certain businesses like Target or Starbucks are criticized for their support for Israel, however Marvel donates millions yearly to Israel. Making sure you are putting your money towards businesses that support Palestine, or at the very least are neutral on the subject is something everyone can do to help.”

Others voice their support for Israel, Kelly Shaltry, a History teacher at GLHS spoke about why he chooses to support the country.

“We stand with Israel. They were attacked by a terrorist group, and so the United States has taken the stance to support the State of Israel,” Shaltry said. When asked about the ethics of the blockade in Gaza, Shaltry voiced support for the Israeli tactics. “There’s no other way that they can do it. You have to shut off the electricity, food, and water supply from the enemies, which is the group Hamas, not the Palestinian people.”

Shaltry referenced safe areas which Israel has designated for civilians, however, other sources have reported that civilian hostages taken by Hamas would not be able to get to such safe zones.

Quotes from the Student Demonstration

Pertler also sits on the board for the Students Making A Change (SMAC) club, formed in early 2023. The club organized a school demonstration on Dec. 14, 2023, during fourth hour in an attempt to raise awareness about mass genocide around the globe, as well as show their support for victims and call for an end to the bloodshed.

“Today, we will be purely educating and spreading awareness to you all on the challenges that certain countries face in relation to genocide.” said Petler, starting off the rally, with over 150 people attending the event.

“Ways to provide support that are non-monetary include sharing resources that provide accurate information that can help people learn about the true atrocities happening in these countries.” Fern Sigurani said, a Sophomore on the board for SMAC.

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About the Contributor
Carson Lemon, Co-Editor-In-Chief
Hi! My name is Carson Lemon, I'm the Co-Editor-In-Chief and this is my second year writing for The Comets' Tale. I'm 17 years old and a Senior at Grand Ledge High School. I'm part of NHS, Key Club, Comets Landing, Diversity Club, and I'm the president of Environmental Club, and I really enjoy helping out around the community. When I'm not at school I like to read and run, and I enjoy listening to music and hanging out with my friends.

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