Friday, July 18, 2014

260 dead is the beginning of the second catastrophe

Someone said to me recently, “So what? The Israelis are just supposed to let down the Palestinians in Gaza continue to shoot rockets at them?”

And I said, “Yes.”

And he said, “Because Israel and can handle it? Because no one is dying in Israel like they are in Palestine?”

He got it. We had just been looking at the death toll for the current Palestine Israel conflict. Today, there have been more than 260 Palestinian deaths in the past week; there have been 2 Israeli deaths, and one was caused by friendly fire. Israel has now invaded the Gaza Strip.

This is not to say that the Israelis should just accept this shower of rockets from Gaza. And this is not to say that the situation isn’t dangerous for Israel. But as a country with a superior air force, which support from the US government, with a strong, stable economy, Israel should be able to deal with the danger of Palestinian militants in a different way than just blindly killing scores of Palestinians.

The aggressive acts by Hamas-affiliated Palestinians are committed out of desperation. The Palestinians have nothing. They do not have access to building supplies. The Israelis collect taxes for the Palestinians but will not disburse it to them. The Egyptians have withdrawn support. The Palestinians have limited access to the rest of the world other than what can be smuggled from Egypt and Iran.

What Israel and the world must learn is to be charitable even to our enemies. Israel has pressed in upon the Palestinians and have offered little support for the people they have displaced. Israel is not going away. Palestinians must accept this, but Israel must be a little more accommodating.

Negotiations have between the Israelis and Palestinians have been continuing for decades. I do not expect these peoples to come to any accord anytime soon. But in the mean time, Israel can aid a suffering people who are their neighbors and with whose history theirs will be forever entwined. Israel can provide monetary aid. They can provide building supplies. They can provide food and water. Alleviating the stress and suffering experienced in the Gaza Strip may alleviate some of the pressure that contributes to these missile attacks. Not only would this be a humanitarian gesture, but it would be strategic to continuing negotiations, to compromise, and to finding final peace.

What has happened instead will probably be remembered as a second catastrophe. Palestinians continue to die; Palestinians will continue to suffer; nothing will be solved. With this latest aggression, the world needs to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.

No comments: