Viewpoint: An unrelenting double standard

BY LINDSAY HURWITZ

Published February 16, 2015

You know that moment when you realize your sister gets away with sneaking out on a Saturday night while you are punished for the same actions? Your parents scold you for the same petty acts that your sister gets away with simply because you are the oldest — which naturally means that everyone pays attention to your actions more closely and that you are supposed to be a perfect role model for everyone else.

Believe it or not, the same applies with Israel.

Now, imagine that you are Israel and Egypt is your little sister, who gets away from the scrutinizing media even though “she” carries out much harsher actions.

Egypt has recently begun working on the expansion of its Gaza buffer zone; it will now expand up to two kilometers in an effort to protect Egyptian citizens from terrorism within the Sinai Peninsula. With this expansion comes the displacement of hundreds of Gazan families in Rafah. These families were each given short notice before which they were to evacuate their homes in order to make room for this border expansion. It should be noted that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi said that along with potentially building a new city, the families will receive some sort of compensation for their homes, yet the exact amount has yet to be decided.

Why the need for this expansion? The same reason for the Israeli-Gaza border: to help protect the Egyptians from terrorism stemming from Gaza. In this scenario, the Egyptians are facing a war against the fundamentalist Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group — a new addition to the Islamic State. The Egyptian intelligence services had discovered that Sinai terrorists have been receiving weapons from the Gaza Strip to then use against Egyptians. In fact, a 1,200-meter tunnel connecting Gaza with Sinai was discovered, through which smugglers have crossed; this tunnel was created by Hamas terrorists.

Egypt is trying to protect its citizens from the wave of terrorism across
the Sinai, which has reportedly been fueled by Gaza. This is an effort that will subtly creep across the media unnoticed. However, when Israel tries to protect its citizens from the suicide bombings and war sprung upon them from Gaza, it’s scrutinized in the media for months. In fact, anti-Israel activists both exaggerate the composure of the barrier by saying that it is entirely cement and claim that the barrier is proof that Israel is an apartheid state. Little recognition is given to the fact that this barrier is directly correlated with a decrease in suicide bombers who entered Israel, and that Israel is never the one to start rocket fire into Gaza.

Just as tunnels were found between Egypt and Gaza that were used for weapon smuggling, tunnels were found connecting Israel with Gaza – only these tunnels were used with the intent of abducting Israelis. Hamas had planned a massive murderous assault during which it would send 200 fighters dressed as IDF soldiers into Israel to both capture and kill innocent Israelis. These tunnels were complete with a complex and intricate maze-like design through which hundreds of Gazans could freely and slyly enter Israel. These tunnels threatened the entirety of Israel’s security even more so than the rockets, as they added a means for several Gazan soldiers to enter into Israel in a surprise attack, murdering two IDF soldiers. Yet, when Israel began to destroy these tunnels and target the terrorists who entered the land with goals of demolishing Israelis, it was scrutinized in the media for its actions in Gaza. In fact, because Hamas hides among its people, innocent Gazan lives were lost during this time of the war.

Just as Egypt was protecting its people against the smuggling of weapons, so too Israel was protecting its people against the bombing and ground threats rooted in Gaza. The difference is that Israel is always the older sister: scorned for actions taken to defend itself even though other countries are doing the same. The measures that both countries have now taken should be appreciated for bearing the interests of the greater good of their nations. Yet Israel goes to great lengths to avoid harming innocent people and civilian lives — can the same be said for Egypt? The media needs to gain a little perspective.

It annoys every older sibling when they take the heat for matters their younger siblings get away with. Don’t let Israel take the fall for trying to protect its people when every other country is doing the same.

Lindsay Hurwitz is an LSA sophomore.