Sunday, January 4, 2009

Isreal in Gaza

The past week saw an invasion into the Gaza strip by the nation of Israel, who cited several hundred attacks on Israeli soil as their cause of action. These attacks were apparently made by Hamas, a political party that is currently the leader of the Palestinian National Authority. Hamas is, however, considered by the nation of Israel to be a terrorist organization. So, on Saturday December 27th, Israel launched an air strike on the Gaza strip, killing hundreds of innocent civilians as a precursor to the current incursion by ground troops.

The ownership of the region of Israel has been in contention for nearly all of written history. Since long before the Roman Empire rose to power, the nation between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River has been disputed, from the time that Abraham walked into it's borders on the promise of his God to the Crusades of the Middle Ages. From the promise by Britain that their Arab colonies would become self governing to the creation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1947 by the United Nations, this region of the world has been contested on mainly religious grounds by Islamic, Christian, and Jewish groups as it is considered to be the birthplace of all the aforementioned religions.

And I would hope that someday, all of these religions and countries could someday find a way to bring about a lasting peace in the region that would allow members of all faiths in and out of the holy places and sacred grounds that make Israel so sacred.

It escapes me what exactly the beef that various people have with Israel or it's neighbours is. Maybe those of Muslim faith are angry because Britain broke their promise to them after both the First and Second World Wars, the promise that promised the Arabians self-governing Independence. Maybe those of Jewish faith are concerned that if they lose the homeland that they have been given, they will be in danger of another anti-Semitic tragedy like the holocaust. And maybe those of Christian faith in the Western World are simply too proud or too worried about their oil stocks in the middle east to give up any ground to further the cause of peace.

But the waters of the Mediterranean and the sands of Galilee are soaked with the blood of Jew, Muslim, and Christian alike. It is the responsibility of all parties involved, especially those with the power to make a difference, to find out what the concerns of the other parties are and try to reach a compromise so that the fighting can come to an end. Even a conflict of epic religious proportions can be stopped, and anyone who says otherwise better take a close look at how Canada has lived in peace with two different predominant religions for so long. Every day that there is inaction there is more suffering. Call me naive, but it is not beyond two or more groups of grown leaders to come together and say sorry to each other. The United States and the U.S.S.R. did it after the Cold War, and those two countries were about as black and white as you can get.

We have been fighting for too long over this region of the world. It must stop. Because if we don't, another child tomorrow in Israel will wake up without a sibling or parent. Because if we don't, another angry, confused, and scared kid is going to be convinced to strap a bomb to his chest and blow up anything that has the American flag on it. Because if we don't, that parent of the soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan is going to break down in tears as the officer comes to his or her door with the news that their child is dead. Because if we don't, another citizen of the United States, Canada, or any given country that is considered to be "the Western World", is going to end up prejudiced, bigoted, and angry against the radical Islamics that did that to that family's child. Because if we don't, that dead child's younger sibling beats up a Muslim student at school. Because if we don't, that incident gets reported to the media who then paints all the Islamic people in the world with the same brush. Because if we don't, the radical Islamics in Hamas launch rocket attacks against Israel.

Because if we don't, another child tomorrow in Israel wakes up without a sibling or parent.

The cycle continues, dividing the world at a time when we need to be worrying about bigger problems, like how to feed Africa, China, and India, and how to stop global warming from flooding all of Manhattan. If we cannot unite, then we cannot solve our biggest problems. The problems that threaten to consume us all.


~Julia said...

From my understanding, the problem had been onging since 1947 when the British created Israel. Most Muslums lived in what is now the Gaza strip, and those who didn't moved there. Essentially it is one of the last places Muslims reside in Israel.

Israel has dealt with rocket attacks, suicide bombers ect... from both Gaza and Palestine, and someone decided to launch an offensive while the US is transitioning from Bush to Obama. When the US is focused at home, there is not as strong an international voice, and no doubt Israel was hoping to have accomplished their mission by the time Obama is in office, because he will not stand for this kind of an attack, while the Bush administration chose instead to turn a blind eye.

Its become a tradition almost, a fight for land, justified by religion, Muslum against Jewish. Too many groups want a piece of the Holy Lands, and children are brought up with animosity for those of another faith. Its as much a problem of international politics, as it is in the homes of both nations.

In this particular skirmish, those who have suffered the most are those who live in Gaza. ~13 people have died in Israel from rocket attacks, while hundreds have died in Gaza. The blood shed will likely only stop once Obama is in office. Sad as it is.

The US-Russian Cold War only ended with the fall of Russia due to excessive spending on nuclear armament, and the inherant failings of Communism. The US survived, and is trillions in debt. Russia went from one of the most powerful nations to one with a much decreased standard of living. The cost in dollars is many trillions, and in lives unimaginable. Money that could have helped people in their own country went towards arming themselves against a possible threat, trying to prove who was stronger. There was only an end once one party lost by default. I don't know if even that could end the bloodshed in the Middle East.

I feel somewhat helpless, because it seems like it should be simple. Sort out the problems, negotiate, make concessions, and reach an agreement. Yet I'm not in a position to help really. I'm also fairly objective, so far removed from the bloodshed, vendettas, and constant war that has become a norm of life.

World Peace. There is nothing so elusive, ideal, and wonderful. If we could be united and live in peace, image what kind of world it we be.

I think I understand your sign off even more than before now. In a small way, it spreads that idea that maybe we can achieve it if we all try...

J-Ray said...

That's my hope at least. I've always been told that one small voice can teach the world a song. Thanks for your comment Julia!

World Peace