Every day more lives are lost in the country some call Israel and some call Palestine. Israeli gunfire kills Palestinians everyday, many of whom are small children or young teenagers who still have their lives ahead of them. The Israeli's suffer similar casualties on a daily basis due to Palestinian attacks. Many innocent lives on both sides are continually at stake.
Although far easier said than done, I believe in the possibility of peaceful co-existence between the Israelis and Palestinians. The first thing that should be done is to educate the world, especially America, about the situation. It shocks me that, even in the most heated political arguments, I hardly ever hear this issue discussed. It should not be a subject people avoid talking about simply because it is too controversial. Talking to one another affords us an opportunity to become better informed and to shed off the prejudices and misconceptions which many of us have about either the Palestinians or the Israelis. If we are unable to get rid of our biases and unable to objectively consider this problem from all angles, then every effort we make to resolve the problem will be doomed to failure.
Unfortunately, most of the American media incorrectly portrays the Palestinians as malicious terrorists who hate the West and are out to kill the Israelis. In viewing the Palestinians this way, we are only sustaining the problem we are trying to solve. Not all Palestinians are terrorists. Those of them who are joining resistance groups are doing so because they see fighting back as the only way to salvage much of what they have lost. For many, fighting has become the only feasible means by which to make any improvement in their extremely difficult lives. The Palestinians do not have living conditions equal to those of the Israelis. Furthermore, many innocent Palestinians have lost homes, jobs, friends, and family members due to the Israeli occupation and Israeli attacks. It is illogical to think that somebody in a situation like the Palestinians find themselves in would simply just sit and do nothing. It is difficult to blame someone for joining a militant organization if that person has lived in an environment of violence, destruction, hopelessness, and fear, since the day he or she was born.
The Arab side of the coin is not much different than that the Western side. Many Arabs, much like we in the West tend to view the Palestinians, see the Israelis as heartless and inhumane murderers. This is incorrect. Not every Israeli seeks to make life for the Palestinians unbearable. Many Israelis are nothing more than people who have made settlements and are trying to live their lives in peace. Their fears of intermittent, unpredictable, and often extremely violent Palestinian attacks are completely legitimate.
The way to reduce and hopefully one day end the problem of Palestinian "terrorism" is not to build a wall around it, but rather to do something that will make day to day life better for the Palestinians. America and Israel, under close scrutiny of the UN, ought to do more to improve Palestinian life. Funding should be appropriated to implement programs to rebuild Palestinian homes that were unjustly destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, and to allocate sufficient resources to the people made homeless. America and Israel should ensure that the Palestinians retain all the essential elements of decent lives, such as good medical care, sufficient drinking water, legal rights and protections under the law equal to those the Israelis receive, the equal opportunity for good education, and much more.
If the Palestinians receive these essential things which they now very much lack, they will be able to live increasingly normal lives. If the Palestinians see that the Israelis and the Americans are trying to help them by providing them with aid, then it is more likely that the hostile Arab view of the Jews and Americans will subside. Radical Islamic groups will lose their influences over people, because a person living a happy and sound life is far less likely to go off and become a member of a group like Hamas than one who simply has nothing much else to live for.
My proposed resolution to this conflict is not going to work overnight. The UN must be very serious in ensuring that equality and understanding exist between Israel and Palestine. Both countries must take extra care to obey UN resolutions and international law. Hopefully, one day, the two groups will live in harmony with one another.
© 2004 - Michael James Fares / Kaftoun.com