Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Land of Promised Conflict

One for the paper, yeah?   

            For some, the timeline begins on November 8, when Israeli soldiers paraded their way to Gaza to fatally strike down a 12-year old boy. For others, the timeline begins on November 10th, when 110 rockets were fired over 48 hours, lobbed from Hamas hands into Israeli land. No matter where you begin the timeline, faults can be found on both sides.
            For this particular event we will start the clock on November 14, when Israel defiantly named their mission after the Pillar of Cloud; the one that once watched over them during the exodus and thus declares their commitment to God's land. The recent clash began with the assassination of Hamas’ military chief, Ahmed Jabari. Over the next eight days, Israel launched an offensive (or defensive, depending on perspective) against the 360 square-kilometre Strip. Palestinians, including Hamas loyalists and Islamic Jihadists, returned the assault by firing rockets into bordering cities. In all, 162 Palestinians and 6 Israelis lost their lives. While some terrorists were killed, so too were martyrs, as the majority of deaths were civilians caught in the crossfire between warring governments. A ceasefire was declared November 21, but let us keep in mind that a ceasefire by no means equates with a peace agreement.
            Although I am (and believe we all should be) more pro-justice than pro-any-particular-side, I have developed a tougher attitude against the state of Israel. This is not for any anti-Semitic or pro-Hamas reasons, but the result of spending 6 weeks in both nations and having been exposed to the reality of the situation. It's simply because I believe Israel has more options than Palestine. When terrorist acts occur against Israel, they cry out, and the world turns their heads towards them. TV stations are tuned in and international politicians pay attention to the injustice at large. However, when the terror goes the other way, so do the reactions. Everyone turns their heads away and Palestinians are left wondering what they have to do to get attention to their cause and what to do with under Israeli injustices. So when Israel clenches its fists around the Gaza Strip like it recently did, it leads me only to frustration. They have international leverage, they have strong voices who speak to ears that willingly listen, and most importantly they actually have the power to initiate some kind of peace process. Now, I'm not saying Gaza's only option is to fire rockets and thus their killing of Israelis is justified. Not at all. I'm simply saying they have fewer options on what to do to get international attention than the nation with the upper hand. Israel has an incredible power over Gaza that Gaza simply does not have (and may never have) over Israel.
            Furthermore, if Israel continues to pursue the same kinds of actions over and over, can they truly expect a different reaction from the other side? If they continue to pursue settlement building and then demand Palestinians only road to peace is through negotiations with them, can they truly believe that peace (of any kind) is attainable?
            Just because Israel seems to have the upper hand in this situation, it does not mean they have not experienced horrific war and hostility. They have, and unfortunately will continue to unless someone decides to fill the role of the “bigger man” and initiate reconciliation. We cannot allow countries, even the nation we view as promised and chosen, to use this potential and power for injustice rather than good. Especially since Israel is a people that we revere as God’s chosen, we must be willing to question their actions and hold them to a higher standard of righteousness. And for this, I ask us to challenge our current perspective on the recent Gaza assault.

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