[Letters] The greatest obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peaceDuring the final week of 2008, hundreds of civilians were murdered. Some were hacked to death with machetes, others burned alive. Children were kidnapped and raped. Did the international community take much notice of these atrocities? No, because it was too busy being outraged by Israel killing roughly the same amount of Islamic terrorists during the early days of the war in Gaza.
There is a vast difference between killing a number of unarmed peace activists trying to deliver food to starving people and killing baton-wielding religious extremists who declared their wish for martyrdom before embarking on their journey. Why does the world have this obsessive nature when it comes to Israel?
There are many possible explanations - Islamism, anti-Semitism, the fact that demonizing Israel has become a fashionable cause, European guilt over the Holocaust (Europeans no longer have to feel guilty when they can point the finger at Israel and say “look - they are no better than us!”) or countries trying to hide their human rights record which would be off the scale compared to Israel’s record - if the world would dare to look.
The obsessive focus on Israel is unjust - it is unfair for Israel, on the Palestinians and certainly on other people who deserve the world’s attention, such as the civilians in DRC from the example above. When was it the last time the masses could be roused from their sofas to display their outrage over the situation in, for example, the DRC, compared to which the entire Israel-Arab conflict has suffered an insignificant number of victims?
Those who obsess over Israel typically do so under the pretext of an interest in promoting peace, but the reality is that this obsession actually serves as an obstacle to solving the conflict. While the world repeatedly cries “Israel is guilty,” the Palestinians are effectively absolved of the responsibility of addressing the (many) issues they need to deal with before they are worthy of having their own state alongside other civilized states.
The impression is constantly given that the Israeli-Arab conflict is the central conflict in the world. Well, here’s a piece of news for you: solving this small-scale conflict won’t make the slightest bit of difference when it comes to most of the current problems in the world, nor even the numerous other violent clashes in the Middle East for that matter.
The Israel-obsession has driven the civilized world to an insane situation where the world has its head in the sand concerning the real problems in the region. While world leaders try to further a peace deal with Palestinian President Abbas, they ignore the fact that he does not have the mandate of the Palestinian people, who voted democratically for Hamas - an Islamic terrorist organization which is anti-peace by its own mandate. If the world dared to address the fact that the Palestinians majority elected Hamas and assess how this can possibly define their desire for peace - they would be horrified to realize how far away peace is right now.
Michelle Moshelian, Israel
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