Yalla Peace: Free us from this bondage of violence

After tragedies such as that in Itamar, it becomes even clearer that we need leaders to maneuver us out of this horrible conflict.

By RAY HANANIA
March 15, 2011 22:23
2 minute read.
IDF soldiers close off Itamar junction

Soldiers at Itamar settlement 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

 
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The murder on Saturday of five members of a family, including two young children and an infant, living in a West Bank settlement is a heinous crime that PA President Mahmoud Abbas called “despicable, inhuman and immoral.”

But even that massacre is not enough for the monster called the Arab-Israeli conflict. It thirsts for more innocent blood.

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who doesn’t utter a word when Palestinian civilians are killed by settlers or the military, says the denunciation from Abbas is not enough, even though no one yet knows who committed the murders.

Netanyahu asserts that there is an atmosphere of hate-mongering among Palestinians against Israelis, but is silent about the hate-mongering among Israelis against Palestinians.

The fact that both sides have suffered killings and are targets of hatred and vicious physical assaults seems to have escaped the prime minister, who instead of showing leadership is patronizing the growing Israeli anger and trying to appease it by expanding settlements. Will that solve anything? He should be pointing to such murders, not to stereotype Palestinians, but as something that can be prevented through achieving peace.

ISRAELIS SHOULD not be condemning all Palestinians. Such condemnation often embraces racial stereotypes, reflecting the racial divide that exists between Jewish and Arab Israelis.

The settlers are part of a bigger movement that has created more provocations and conflict, who move into areas inhabited by Palestinian Arabs in an effort to prevent compromise. They have also been increasingly prone to incite violence against their Palestinian neighbors.



The settlers claim they are there for religious reasons, but no religion embraces human folly clearly intended to block peace, fuel conflict and spark revenge-driven violence.

We don’t know who murdered the victims. But the assumptions of hatred have already cast aside investigation. The Middle East conflict is no longer insured by professional fact-finding.

THE KILLERS of the Fogel family should be brought to justice and punished according to the rule of law.

Justice should be blind, and not have religious or ethnic considerations. Such considerations are tools used by politicians and activists (who are legion) in telling us why peace can’t be achieved.

It’s almost as if some are hoping for such tragedies so they can be used as “evidence” that Palestinians and Israelis are incapable of living together as neighbors.

I believe we are capable of it, but so far we lack a true Moses of peace, someone who can free our peoples from this bondage of oppression, hatred and revenge. We lack a leader who is fearless in taking our people through the most treacherous prejudices to an oasis of tranquility.

It’s easy to stand up and point fingers when someone is murdered. It is far more difficult, although more admirable, to stand up and find a way to lead people away from the vacuum of hatred.

The writer is an award-winning columnist and Chicago radio talk show host. www.YallaPeace.com

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