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People and Planet: Palestinians are not Hamas, Israelis are not Israel’s government

This past week has been tragic beyond words for Jewish and Muslim communities all over the world. Hamas’ attack on Israel has killed at least 1,300 and left 3,227 wounded. In Gaza, at least 2,329 have been killed and 9,714 injured, with both numbers expected to rise.

Palestinian and Israeli civilians are being murdered for the acts of their respective governmening parties. The Israeli people are not the state of Israel just as the Palestinian people are not Hamas. For either group to massacre civilians as a proxy for those truly responsible for what is going on is inexcusable. 

All over social media, users are sharing sentiments about the complexity of the conflict. Some say it is not complex because it is rooted in occupation and apartheid, which are two straightforwardly bad things. Others say it is not complex because thousands of Jews are being killed which is also a straightforwardly bad thing. Whether you are saying it is or is not complex, anyone arguing this way is oversimplifying the issue in a way that is wholly dismissive of human life and shows a clear misunderstanding of the situation.

This is a complex conflict in the sense that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition includes leaders convicted of anti-Arab fascism and has been carrying out attacks on Palestinian civilians long before Hamas’s recent attack on Israeli civilians.

Simultaneously, Hamas is an antisemitic terrorist organization and the de facto government of Palestine. A de facto government is not the legal government of a territory, but a group that functions as a government. Essentially, it is hard to argue with a group notorious for suicide bombings as they have little fear of ending their own lives in the process of ending another.

From a humanitarian perspective, something must be said for the U.S. and the West’s collective silence on the violent occupation Palestinians have been subjected to for decades from the state of Israel. Palestinian civilians have been victims of human rights violations including, but not limited to, arbitrary killings and detentions, labor rights abuses and significant restrictions on freedom of movement within the country.

It must also be understood that Israelis have long been critical of Netanyahu and many are doubling down in defense of both Israeli and Gazan civilians.

Consider Ophir Shay, whose 21-year-old brother, Yinon, was killed fighting Hamas. Shay spoke directly to Netanyahu at his brother's grave site.

“You betrayed the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces," he said. "You betrayed the residents of the Gaza border. You betrayed the State of Israel. You betrayed my beloved brother. I expect all of you to take responsibility and resign immediately at the war’s end.”

In this speech Shay refers to Netanyahu and his far-right government, specifically Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir. Ben-Gvir is widely considered to be a racist and provocateur.

There are far fewer accounts of Palestinians speaking out against Hamas, likely because Hamas is a terrorist organization and Palestinians are afraid. However, a 2023 report gives some insight into how Palestinians feel about Hamas.The report found 73% believe Hamas-run institutions within Gaza are corrupt and nearly 60% of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip say they couldn’t criticize Hamas authorities without “fear of reprisal.”

In 2018, 11 Jews were shot and killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue. In 2019, 51 Muslims were shot and killed at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Antisemitism and Islamophobia both exist on a global scale and have throughout history. Spewing thoughtless, vitriolic rhetoric against Jews and Muslims who have nothing to do with Hamas or the state of Israel when both groups are already targeted globally is not only wildly irresponsible but dangerous. To praise the mass murder of any civilians is beyond inhumane and anyone who can convince themselves otherwise is in deep need of reflection. 

Already, a Muslim woman and her six-year-old son have been stabbed in Chicago in what is being considered a hate crime motivated by the recent escalations in the conflict. The boy died and the mother was critically wounded. Both Jewish and Muslim groups have reported rises in Islamophobic and Antisemitic remarks online. Israelis are not the state of Israel and Palestinians are not the terrorist organization of Hamas. Equating the two is unacceptable.

Megan Diehl is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views expressed in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Megan about her column? Email her at

Megan Diehl

Assistant Opinion Editor

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