In this current round of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it seems that leaders from around the world have embraced one of two stances: supporting the extremes or ignoring them completely. It is no wonder people follow these dangerous trends. Both doctrines weaken the sane majority and allow extremist to dictate the agenda.
For the past couple of weeks I've had to explain and re-explain, and argue, and explain again the idea that to be both pro Israel and pro Palestine is not an obscenity. It does not make me a traitor to Israel -- quite the contrary, and it does not make me anti-Palestinian -- quite the opposite. It makes me a sane, thinking person.
There are things that I am against and things that I am for. I am against extremism, no matter who it is. I am against violence, no matter the excuses. And I am against a one-sided view, no matter how convincing you think it is.
One-sided supporters have had a devastating affect on the conflict as they strengthen victimhood, a sense of entitlement and reasoning for extreme violent behavior. They crush the million voices of reason -- because reason is not as exciting as hate or violence; reason is not news.
I see so many Israelis and Palestinians fall into the trap of propaganda and hate, of taking sides and damning the other. Posting horrific photos that they have not verified, re-tweeting lies posted by the same entities that have put us in this situation without questioning them, and lashing at each other with complete disregard to who the person is in front of them is.
Our governments preach unity at times of war, but that is the last thing we should practice -- unity will only provide our governments more fuel for the fire.
Being an Israeli or a Palestinian doesn't make us incapable of thinking for ourselves, and should most certainly not push us into mindless hate for one another. That is called fascism, and we all know how wonderful that worked out in the past.
Here are some of the things you can be, without them reducing from your support for humanity, equality and justice:
Against Hamas Tactics
Not hate Jews
Recognize the right of Israel to exist
Against airstrikes and war
Not hate Arabs
For a Palestinian state
These simple things seem to get completely lost in the mess that has become this conflict. So I am here to state who I am and what I believe in, in the hopes that many will be brave enough and follow. We must strengthen ourselves because our governments are too eager to sacrifice us.
My name is Dana Agmon.
I am 37 years old.
I was born and raised in Israel.
I was born Jewish. I don't believe in religion.
I believe Palestinians not only have the right to a state but also deserve it.
I am against the oppression of the Palestinian people
I am against Hamas tactics of targeting civilians, no matter how hard it is to resist.
I am against Hamas using children in war, and against Hamas teaching them hate and violence.
I believe it is wrong of Israel to bomb civilians and children even if Hamas is the one to put them there.
I think that condemning only Israel time and time again without condemning the U.S. and UK for their actions in Iraq, without condemning Syria's brutal treatment of their civilians, without condemning almost every other country in the world that has committed such atrocities, is wrong and hypocritical.
I am against racism.
I am against this war.
I am against bombardment of any kind.
I am against the people who make money off this war.
I am against our governments that refuse to talk to each other.
I believe in always talking to everyone all the time -- yes, even Hamas.
I am for lifting the siege on Gaza.
I think it is high time for Arab nations to step up to the plate and help the Palestinian people rebuild.
I want the United States to stop selling weapons around the world disguising it as aid.
I am against religious coercion.
I am against women being second-class citizens.
I love football (soccer).
Mainly I am against remaining a prisoner of this conflict. A captive of propaganda and opinions that I am forced to believe in.