As violence escalates in the Middle East, Vanessa Vallejo, co-editor-in-chief of El American, discussed the situation with a panel of experts. She spoke about what is happening between Israel and Palestine: its origins, the clashes with Hamas that have erupted in recent days, and the international implications. She was joined by Marcos Peckel, Daniel Varnagy, Ezequiel Eiben, and Bernardo Ferrero.
To put the situation in context, Daniel Varnagy, PhD in political science, explained how the situation started and argued that Israel has been fulfilling its right to defend itself against attacks by the Hamas terrorist group.
“The State of Israel was founded in 1948. Then a war breaks out, in 1967 another war, and so the young State of Israel, backed by a little more than 3,000 years of history and Jewish presence, has the capacity to defend itself from these attacks, which originated from Gaza towards Israel”, said Varnagy.
Marcos Peckel, director of the Jewish Community of Colombia, agreed with this position and explained that the first attack was generated from Gaza towards Israel. In his opinion, it was a measure of protest by Hamas for the postponement of the elections in Palestine.
“This is not a conflict between Israel and Palestine. It is a conflict between Israel and Hamas. Clearly, Hamas, in an act of protesting the postponement of the Palestinian elections, used an event in Jerusalem – which is recurring – to attack Israel first,” Peckel said.
He also argued that Hamas’s intention is to position itself on Palestinian ground over the postponement of the elections: “It does this by using the people of Gaza as cannon fodder.
Likewise, Peckel pointed out that Hamas in its founding charter aims to wipe out Israel. Therefore, he insists, one should not look for further explanations, but simply review the fundamental bases of this organization.
“In Hamas’ founding charter, their vision that Palestine, including Israel, is sacred land and will be consecrated to Islam until what they call the day of judgment, when Israel will be destroyed, is crystal clear,” he said.
For Bernardo Ferrero, who holds a PhD in economics, the situation cannot be considered to have been generated by the controversy over rents in the territories – which Palestinians have not paid for years and which a court has ruled should be evicted. Ferrero points out that, on the contrary, this is a conflict that has been going on for a long time: “It is very easy to paint Israel as the bad party. It is forgotten that we are talking about a conflict that has been going on for many years and even long before 1948.”
What does the international community say about Israel and Palestine?
When asked by Vanessa Vallejo about the financing of Hamas, the speakers agreed that part of the international community, which does not support Israel’s ideals, has collaborated so that this terrorist group can attack the Israeli state.
Daniel Varnagy detailed that part of this support for Hamas has been given because Israel represents Western values such as democracy, something that is not acceptable to many nations. “There are countries that are not Muslim or Arab that finance international terrorism. In particular, Israel, being the only democracy in the Middle East is an example of human development when there is democracy and an open economy. This in the face of all that surrounds it, which is misery, poverty and slavery.”
Ezequiel Eiben, a writer and lawyer, thinks the same way. He emphasizes that beyond religious positions, it is a struggle between civilized values and those that are not. He argued that all those who defend civilization must support Israel.
“We have a conflict between civilization and what represents savagery. Between what represents a culture of individual development and what is theocracy and religious fanaticism,” Eiben said.
In the context of the position of the international community, Vallejo asked Marcos Peckel about meetings that businessmen of the Colombian Jewish community had with leftist leaders such as Gustavo Petro, who on several occasions has supported the actions coming from Palestine and treated Israel as a barbaric people. When asked, Peckel said that “there are leftists of leftists. The fact that Jewish organizations meet with left-wing candidates does not endorse anything they say”.
For his part, Daniel Varnagy also referred to the question and said that, as a Jew, he is afraid of how socialist leaders like Petro declare themselves anti-Semitic without any kind of complex. However, he assured that despite this Israel will remain hopeful: “We will always have hope because hope is inherent to the Jewish people”, he said.