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.