Today as I write this, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on her way to the Middle-East, her objective? To aid in bringing the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table, her goal, to end the current conflict, and stop the loss of blood and death on both sides. Just to be clear, her objective is one that is of the now. It is of the moment. It does not lead us to an eventual solution. It does not bring the permanent peace. It stems the tide of conflict … just for a while. Unfortunately, this only increases the size of this human tragedy, for we are certain there will be another conflict, and another, and another. Clearly, this must end. At issue, is how.
I won’t go into a lengthy discourse. Others far more learned than I have waxed philosophic on this issue. There have been tomes written on the history of the Middle-East, and how we arrived at the current impasse. All I will say is there is a solution. This problem is not so intractable that it can’t be solved. We only lack the courage, the resolve to work together towards positive conflict, to give concessions in compassion, and acknowledge a mutual future together. This, is what we have such a hard time doing, and because we choose not to (it’s not that we can’t), we give in to our baser human instincts, and embrace violence. Violence is not the answer, and since we can’t promote genocide, and one side most assuredly cannot annihilate the other, the only logical answer is to pursue peace, or choose blatant stupidity and continue the current conflict into perpetuity.
Let’s be clear, there is enough wrong to go around. Both sides are wrong. Both sides can lay claim to some of what is right. Neither side has a claim to righteousness. Both sides have committed heinous acts of violence. Both sides are guilty of murder and rationalize it as defense against the aggressor. It must be said and accepted if we are to be honest and move forward. This is strong medicine to be sure but it must be served and taken if we are to make progress. Both sides have used violence to silence those among their own ranks who would propose peaceful resolution. Both sides entertain negative conflict, violence, and destruction as a viable means to solve their differences. Both sides must evolve. The only question of critical concern is who will be courageous enough to lead? Who can tear down the barriers to peace within their own party, and hold fast to true righteousness. And who among us in the wider world will have the courage to hold their hands, and walk with them down the long road to peace.
Hamas has a mandate to destroy Israel. Hamas has been labeled a terrorist organization. Hamas puts weapons emplacements on schools and hospitals in a truly disgusting and heinous attempt to leverage modern warfare limitations against civilian casualties as a tactical advantage. Hamas is not homogeneous and there are people within its ranks who are divided. Palestinians who lay no claim to Hamas must act. There are Palestinians who thirst for peace, but live in fear. They must rise.
Israel enjoys the absolute most-favored nation status with the United States. Israel possesses enough weaponry to turn Cairo, Tehran, and Gaza to glass. Israeli hawks have no compunction against using uranium depleted shells. Israeli hawks believe in the Occupied Territories, and sincerely believe the Palestinians have no home where they reside. Yet, Israel to some degree operates in self-conflict. There are those Israelis who loathe the actions of their nation. There are those who stand side by side with Palestinians who live on Israel, work in Israel, even serve in the Knesset, and they thirst for peace. There are those who want to recognize Palestine, who want to tear down the wall around the West Bank, and end the embargo on Gaza. They must rise.
Both sides have done wrong. Both sides have factions that would readily embrace peace, and seek to rush to the negotiating table. They must find the strength and courage to stand against those hawkish elements in their respective camps that would ensure the cycle of violence continues. They must find a way to overcome fear and stand boldly against those who would conspire to murder them for speaking of peace. This no easy thing to be sure, but after much blood, after much death, after generations of continuous conflict, they must find their strength, and stand on principle not for ideology, not for nation, not for prideful violent defense, but rather for the sanctity of all life, and the promise of a tomorrow where Israeli and Palestinian can at long last come together under the sun and embrace each other as beloved family.