There are many people and organisations who are vocally critical of Israel. Whether that be its actions, comments or general policies, Israel has been attacked from all quarters, not only from the European Union but also supposed allies in Europe and the West. As a result, what I would like to focus on here is the reasons why the Jewish state is attacked and whether such attacks are justified. There are two main areas that I will look at.

The settlements

One major area of criticism has surrounded the building of settlements in the 'occupied territories'.

This has been a massively contentious issue that has brought on sticking attacks as a results, most notably from the United Nations (UN). As reported in the Guardian newspaper, Israel responded "furiously" to a UN security resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. However, even more damning was the actions and reactions of its supposed chief ally, the United States (US). Not only did the Obama administration abstain from vetoing the resolution, but the comments from those who at the time worked for the US president was difficult to absorb. In December of last year (2016) the outgoing US secretary of state John Kerry issued a "final warning" that the settlements building being carried out "were destroying hopes for peace" between the Israelis and the Palestinians, as the Telegraph newspaper stated.

In looking back, were the criticism of the said settlement building justified? In many ways I believe that they are. I live in Israel and I can say with certainty that there is ample space for all Israelis to live in. They do not need to live in settlement areas. Furthermore, such building is aggravating and provoking a large number of individuals and groups.

How can we pursue a two-state solution when there is not enough land for the Palestinian People to live in? The Israelis do not need to live in the occupied areas, and although there are those who claim that it is religiously based reasoning, I just see it as simple greed. However, the Israelis may argue, 'we gave up the settlements in Gaza and look what happened'.

Whatever way it does go, what is for sure is that the Israeli government should be focused on appeasing the world around them and not angering them. Then we may be able to secure peace in our time.

Its treatment of the Palestinian people

Another strong criticism of Israel is its treatment of the Palestinian people. Besides the presence of military tanks and personnel in parts of the West Bank, one major issue is that of the 'shoot to kill' policy. This has been recently endorsed by a number of leading Israeli officials who have encouraged soldiers and police officers to kill Palestinians, regardless of whether "lethal force is necessary", according to the Independent newspaper. Such action was illustrated just a couple of months ago as a Palestinian was shot dead at a Jenin camp in the West Bank, according to the Alarabiya website.

Such action was condemned by the Human Rights Watch organisation, who stated that force should only be used by the Israeli government, "in accordance with international force". In looking at the issue, the same question needs to be asked; is this criticism justified? I understand the need to act before being attacked but I just get a sense of the soldier's/police officers being trigger happy. I understand the need to repel threats to the security and safety of the nation but can they act differently? Although they may only have a second to think, do think and quickly evaluate the situation before acting. It will dramatically improve the perception of Israel around the world and essentially stop the criticisms that they are getting.

As one can see, Israel is not a very popular country at the moment. But that can all change if they change the way that they go about their business. Whilst I do believe that some of the criticisms levelled at Israel are unfair, overall I do believe that they are justified.