As the Gaza conflict intensifies with rocket attacks from both sides, some people are promoting friendship on social media with the hashtag, "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies."
Ynet reports that about 300 people protested the rocket attacks on Gaza by the Israeli government on Saturday July 5 in Haifa, shouting and holding signs, "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies."
Photos show that the people suffering from the ongoing violence are demanding an end to it, with people all over the world supporting them in solidarity.
— Nazrana Yousufzai (@NazranaYusufzai) July 13, 2014
— Abraham Gutman (@abgutman) July 13, 2014
Some point out that the hashtag, while admirable in its promotion of peace, encourages a reductive view of the conflict.
Confused by the hashtag #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies it implies a leveled playing field & relegates the conflict to petty racial tensions.
— Farah A S فرح السويل (@FarahAlSweel) July 13, 2014
Egypt has proposed a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas after a week of air strikes which have killed at least 185 Palestinians, at least 3/4 of whom were civilians, according to the BBC. Though no Israelis have been killed, the government says that almost 1,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza, injuring several.
The Facebook page explained:
The Facebook page was started by Abraham Gutman, an Israeli currently studying at Hunter College, and his classmate Dania Darwish. He told The Huffington Post via email, "Dania and I don't always agree when we talk about politics," but always managed to hold a discussion without ever becoming rude or angry.
He explained, "In the last month it was hard for us to open our social media accounts. Our feeds were full of hateful comments. We wanted to create a community of people that oppose this kind of speech and to remind people that in the bottom line we are all just people."
This isn't the first time that the people of Israel and Palestine have declared that they do not want to be enemies. In August 2011, a silent protest for victims killed in Gaza was joined by people shouting "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies," according to The Real News.
Even if a ceasefire is successfully brokered, it will take much more to create and sustain real peace in Gaza. "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies" are just one way of promoting co-existence on a grassroots level.
— Nicole L Shevloff (@NicoleLeyla) July 23, 2014