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“The Conflict Has Left Israel’s Arab Citizens Explaining: We Are Not Hamas!

The Israel-Gaza conflict has been an ongoing point of tension between Israel and the Palestinian people for decades. The conflict has often led to violence, destruction, and much loss of life. Now, it has also forced a growing number of Israeli Arab citizens to explain to Israeli Jews that they are not Hamas, or affiliated with Hamas in any way. The response to the conflict in Gaza has been especially tense for the Arab citizens of Israel, and it has divided the Jewish and Arab populations of the country. Arab citizens of Israel have come under increased scrutiny, and even accusations of being sympathizers with Hamas, one of the parties in the conflict. This has been especially concerning for the 20% of the country that is Arab, who generally want peace for both sides. However, many Israeli Arabs have responded to the accusations firmly and publicly, asserting that they are neither part of nor sympathizers with the Hamas movement. They point to their strong commitment to the country of Israel and their acceptance of the law of the land, while emphasizing that they share no connections with Hamas. A recent example of this was seen when an Israeli Arab teaching assistant at Ben-Gurion University posted a statement on social media denouncing Hamas and any other violent organizations that threaten the security of the state. This was in response to his Jewish colleagues’ questions concerning his views on the conflict in Gaza. This has been a common occurrence during the Israel-Gaza conflict, as many Arab citizens of the country feel they have been unfairly accused of support for Hamas. As Israeli Arab activists and politicians have pointed out, many of them have served in the army, engaged in civil service that benefits their country, and participated in civil society in meaningful ways. These instances are proof that the intention of Arab citizens within Israel is not to carry out violence or act against the state. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has undoubtedly caused much distress and heartache for all involved. However, it has also ignited a sense of unity in many Israeli Arab citizens. They are fighting this accusation of being simpathetic with Hamas, and emphasizing that they share no connection with the group. In doing so, they are standing up for their rights and showing their commitment to Israel.