The Gaza Strip is a Quintessential Symbol of Hyperpartisanship | Opinion

Hyperpartisanship involves strong but popular-seeming political sentiments directed at unsolvable problems, as if they were solvable, resulting in non-sensical proposals and accusations of "false equivalencies" toward those who call spades. When one calls what others believe to be the only problem an unsolvable one, scorn is inevitable. Nevertheless, the bulk of discussions concerning the Gaza Strip in contemporary political media, and by extension, popular culture and the masses, perfectly fits this characterization; that is why the Gaza Strip is a quintessential symbol of hyperpartisanship.

How this conflict gets framed almost wholly depends on who you are talking to and the opinion they've formed under the guise of "the truth," when, in reality, things aren't that straightforwardly solvable or understood. Deep down, we know this, which is why such matters become so inflammatory.

Israel's actions under the guise of "retaliation" and "defense" may have recently induced a rise in militancy in Palestine, but when has militancy—or its relative calm—lacked in the region?

Even stretching back to the bronze age, history cannot provide a positive answer. Jews and Muslims unconditionally lay divine claim to that land, and in the case of this conflict, results in an unconditional and mutually excluding hatred between them. It goes without saying that peace is desired; war is bad, especially when needlessly protracted at the expense of lives by monotheistic piety and its dubious yet "scrupulous" support and neglect from the West.

That is to say: The U.S. shouldn't fund or involve itself in the conflict, as it's unbecoming and hypocritical of an officially secular state to take sides in a theological conflict—let alone one that has no end in sight. Sure—it's not all about religion, but it is largely about it!

When one considers that the ultimate result of any such support is the massacre of unequally equipped Palestinians by Israeli forces–which is unconscionable regardless of what Israel is "defending" itself from. Terrorism, human shields, torture of dissidents, suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and intifadas should be rooted out and replaced with pluralistic secularism. Neither left-wing whitewashing nor right-wing military enlargement has any utility toward this end. External help outside of charitable aid for citizens will not do much but support continued war and death.

One hopes for meaningful dialogue and resolution, but it is imprudent and unwise to act—whether as individuals or as policymakers and legislators—as if reality reflects one's hopes. And it is beyond clear that in Gaza, this hope isn't likely to actualize anytime soon. Instead, hopes, bodies, and dreams will amass indefinitely.

Palestinian women walk in front of mural
Palestinian women walk in front of a mural with the Dome of the Rock in Gaza Strip Jan. 9, 2005. Yuri CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Reading and listening to commentary in the West about Gaza is peculiar. It's as if there is a moral high ground to stand on that doesn't obscure deeply inconvenient facts about either side and one's personal biases. When there is a pro-Israeli bias, segregationist-level racist Zionism, and the factual flimsiness of their "self-defenseless"—as if Israel minds its own business with a country it's actively at war with—is ignored. In contrast, when there is a pro-Palestinian bias, Hamas—an openly antisemitic Jihadist terror organization—and its atrocities conveniently becomes a non sequitur. For decades, such rabble has constituted Western public and political discourse on the Israel-Palestine conflict, making hopes for meaningful dialogue readily dissipate. Dialogue cannot be had when an interlocutor appeals to faith—a rejection of needing reasons for beliefs—whether that be religious or political faith, and refuses to consider nuances critically.

Perhaps this conflict has no end in sight, but that's why I hold on to the hope—as opposed to the belief—that it will end with peace and flourishing. In surmising that the conflict's future looks grim, it is vital to realize that, according to Pew's Global Religious Landscape study, as time goes on, humans have become more pluralistic, and by that token, more capable of peaceful cooperation and secularism. Of course, as with anything, there will be outlier cases that lag behind these broader trends—I hope that the whole of Gaza (Israel and Palestine) can catch up. It's only reasonable to be skeptical that it will.

Daniel Lehewych has an M.A. in philosophy from the CUNY Graduate Center, specializing in moral psychology, cognitive science, and the philosophy of mind. In addition to contributing to Newsweek, Daniel is a contributor to Big Think.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.