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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Stop The Gaza Carnage

Of all the problems confronting the world, none is more heartrending than the Israel/Palestine conflict. The tragedy currently playing out in Gaza ought to concern all men and women of goodwill because our very humanity is diminished by the sheer horror of defenceless children and women being sent to untimely graves. These children of Abraham (Israel and Palestine) seem committed to mutually assured destruction (MAD), the same philosophy of hate for which their ancestors played mongoose and cobra. It is time to put a stop to such avoidable carnage in the 21st century.

As usual, both sides have rolled out their propaganda machines to demonise their opponents and win the debate in the marketplace of public opinion. Hardliners on both sides would rather the carnage continued than finding peaceful ways of resolving the ancient conflict. Gaza, the theatre where all the current tragedy is playing out, has known suffering for ages. Governed by Turkey as part of the Ottoman Empire, it was ruled by Great Britain between 1918 and 1948 before Egypt took over. Then, in 1967 Israel took control till 1994 when the Palestinian Authority came into being. Seven years ago, Hamas forcefully took control of the territory, claiming to be the true representatives of the Palestinian people. Generation upon generation of Gaza residents and indeed the Palestinian territory have not known peace for any appreciable length of time.
We are convinced that the only sustainable path to true peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis is the much-trumpeted two-state solution proposed by the United Nations. Since 1994 when Israel granted Gaza the right of self-governance through the Palestinian Authority, it is regrettable that not much has happened to achieve the two-state solution. The path to achieve that is strewn with a string of concessions both sides have to make if they truly want to live in peace and allow their people to forge on with their lives.
First, both sides have to publicly commit themselves to a peaceful solution. Israel and Hamas should ease the stranglehold on Gaza. On the one hand, Israel must try to exercise restraint even when provoked. On the other, Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel. The United States and other intermediaries like Egypt and Turkey must sincerely bring both sides to work out the kind of arrangement they can live with under the principle of two independent states. It is a shame on the civilised world that we stand akimbo and watch the gory orgy playing out in that tiny area of 365 square kilometres habouring1.8 million people. We cannot accept that the Israel/Palestine conflict is beyond solution. Let Israel be; let Palestine be. Let the backers of both sides midwife a truce and a two-state solution.
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