Palestinians have been struggling for a homeland for seven decades. This struggle has taken on many forms and has raged in several continents. Following a long armed struggle for the liberation of all of Palestine, it became apparent to all involved that peace is the only viable option with mutual acceptance by Palestinians and Israelis of each side’s right to exist and prosper.
At one point in history, father figures, not simple leaders, stepped in and convinced their people that it is not easy but possible to dream of security and peace. They spoke of sacrifice, reconciliation, and concessions.
In retrospect, those were unique times for the world: Polarization was not as lethal as today, and the Arafat, Hussein, Rabin blood friendship, born out of the struggle, cannot be replicated.
Had peace found a fertile ground in the early 90’s how things would have been different today!
There is no doubt that on each side, there are those not interested in peace. They are usually the ones living in prosperity elsewhere and with nothing to gain or lose from an end to the conflict. They are joined by ideologues that make a living selling ideas and inciting the excitable crowds. Then, topping the list are the militants and terror groups who need the conflict as an excuse to exist.
No matter where in the spectrum of war and peace you stand, the plight of the Palestinian people cannot be a bargaining chip. Nor can it be an occasional outburst of morality when Israel raises the level of its aggression.
Gaza is indeed an open prison in which Palestinians are paying the price of Israel’s insecurity and Hamas’ desperation. When the indiscriminate Israeli killing spree and apocalyptic destruction of homes, hospitals, schools and businesses hits a raw nerve and sends us in a frenzy in defense of innocent civilians, is the moral thing to do; but without consistency and follow through, it becomes a dishonest reaction to a rightful cause.
We have a moral obligation to speak up before tragedy befalls people everywhere. Arabs have lent their blind eyes and deaf ears to Palestine for far too long. They have done the same in Iraq and Syria and other struggling countries in the region. The world simply followed their example.
Across the board, extremism is growing not only on battlefields, but among civilian populations as well. If action is not taken today towards humility and cooperation, it won’t be long before our entire world, will look a lot like Gaza.