Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Find another way in Middle East

   It was little surprise that war broke out in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians again. Rockets were fired into Israel by Hamas, the group that rules in Gaza. This time, the Israeli response involved not only the expected response of Israeli aircraft, but a troop incursion into Gaza neighborhoods.
    As always, there’s been death and destruction. As always, the United States finds itself once again seeking a just solution to an unjust situation. As always, it is a search that is likely to prove both frustrating and fruitless.
    For those who seek solutions, a peaceful future seems possible, but is not guaranteed. All involved have been here before. In 1937, the English Peel Commission made the early suggestion of a two-state solution, one Arab and one Jewish. In the end only the British government accepted this recommendation. Neither Jews nor Arabs would accept it, a precursor of how things would go in the Middle East.
    Many today are issuing calls for the United States—as Israel’s oldest, staunchest, and likely most influential supporter—to find a way out of the current violence. President Jimmy Carter successfully acted as broker for the agreements between Israel and Egypt that have held since 1979. Surely, the same role for the president is possible again.
    History is no friend here. Once again, both Palestinians and Israel can be faulted; both can be justified. Solutions have, as always, been proposed and proposals have, as always, been rejected, often before any chance was given. Secretary of State John Kerry urges talk, compromise, agreement. Yet, the violence continues.
    The only real question for both Israelis and Palestinians at this point is how many children have to die before all involved finally just say, “Enough.” How many before all parties look beyond their past hatreds, current fears and political agendas to find a way to live peacefully.
    No one else but the Israelis and Palestinians can decide what that way is. It cannot be imposed from the outside. The rest of the world might help set the stage by refusing to take sides, choosing instead to support a simple message for both: Killing innocents is not a solution. Find another way.

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