Friday, February 15, 2013
Israel/Palestine Conflict Looks Bleak
For eight days in November last year, both Israelis and Palestinians launched rockets at each other, killing dozens of innocent civilians including children, and wounding hundreds of others. Both sides committed violations of the laws of war. Both have also committed human rights violations in the past year. Israeli security forces demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes within Israeli control, used what many consider excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators, and subjected Palestinians to unfair trials. Palestinian security forces made arbitrary arrests and tortured and denied detainees access to their lawyers. Many of these detainees were Palestinians themselves.
Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has been ongoing since the beginning of the 20th century. It is a heated and emotional struggle with deep roots in religion going back hundreds, even thousands, of years. As a result, neither side can put themselves in the shoes of the other, but until they do, this issue will never be resolved. There will never be peace and human rights will continue to be violated. Both groups have a claim to the area, but neither has the right to harm innocent civilians.
It is obvious that neither group is going to give up its claims. So what options are left? Complete annihilation of one or both groups is, of course, out of the question. The only possible solution is a successful peace agreement in which two separate states coexist side by side. That requires both groups to cooperate and trust that the other will uphold its end. Neither appears to be capable of such trust, and, to be honest, in a similar situation I don’t think the US would be either. So, it seems we are destined to continue to see war between these nations, and casualties, for the foreseeable future. Hopefully a third party will be able to inspire cooperation soon, else this could very well turn into World War III.