Peace in the Middle East has always been illusive. For years, the US and the UN have tried to proctor peace treaties between Israel and her surrounding neighbors, and while the best of intentions are had, so far we have failed.
With the falling economy, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the current situation in Gaza is particularly worrisome. The situation is tense and complicated, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The Israeli’s and the Palestinians see the current predicament so differently that if one didn’t know better they could be speaking about different situations entirely.
The Israeli’s pulled out of Gaza over a year ago, however they maintained control of the borders. The Palestinians claim that Israeli border control effectively sealed off the area, denying Gaza inhabitants necessities such as food, medicine, etc. Thus Hamas (who controls Gaza) broke the cease fire and began firing rockets into Israel. Israel retaliated first with air-strikes and most recently with a ground assault.
Anyone watching the coverage has to be questioning Israel. The death toll on the Palestinian side is mounting quickly and the images of a desiccated and war torn Gaza juxtaposed against those of a green and intact Israel are stark – to say the least. As a Jew, I feel a special tie to Israel. I have family and friends who live there, and I think it extremely important that Israel remain safe and intact. The country is a symbol and a haven to Jews all over the world, and I fully support its right to protect itself. However, there must be a middle ground. Israel must be diplomatic in dealing with her surrounding neighbors. The hold on the land and the feelings around who it belongs to run so deep (on both sides) that I often wonder if peace can ever be reached.
What is the end goal here? The demolition of Hamas? The reoccupation of Gaza? A re-instatement of the cease fire? I would feel better about supporting Israel if I knew what their end goal was. I think that both sides need to take a step back and come to the table. If they are truly concerned about their citizens and their country’s safety they will sit down and try to negotiate an agreement that is acceptable to them both. Neither side can have all their demands met, but the fighting must stop. The world and the region cannot take another war right now.