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June 11, 2003

About a week or so ago, I found myself somewhat emotionally attached to the whole mess over in the Middle East with the Jews and the Palestinians. I really feel like it's imperative that peace is established, and I find myself caring about it. I'm not really sure why.During Bush's visit, there were great signs things would happen to push everyone to peace. Everyone involved in the summits in Jordan and Egypt were optimistic and willing to work towards peace. In attempts to move towards peace, both leaders (Ariel Sharon of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine) alienated some members of their constituency, but compromises must be made in my opinion.Unfortunately, there are still some stupid people involved that have power. One of those is Yasser Arafat. He's old, prideful, and unwilling to make any concessions for peace. He's still the president of the PLO, but he reluctantly (at intense international pressure) allowed a prime minister to be established: Abbas, who commenly goes by the name Abu Mazen. Mazen seems to truly want peace, but he's in a constant power struggle with Arafat and the Islamic militants like Hamas and Al Aqsa. He's been trying to negotiate with Hamas to create a ceasefire with Isreal, but they have been mostly unresponsive. Unfortunately, Mazen also lacks the strength and support needed to force them to stop.On the other hand is Israel who typically only strikes in retaliation to terrorist strikes, but when they strike, it is with a lot of force, often causing innocent casualties. They are also illegally creating outposts and settlements that were banned in the Oslo Accord in 1993. However, while Israel isn't off the hook, I'm more willing to take their side since they aren't using terrorist tactics like suicide bombing, and I see Palestinian militants being the aggresor.So, thanks to Bush's efforts, along with the Roadmap planned by the U.S., the E.U., the U.N., and Russia, peace was looking possible. Now however, things have been compromised by the actions of more stupid people in Hamas. They just blew up a bus, killing 16 people. That comes after a shootout a couple days ago where several people died. Israel responded with a helicopter attack, apparently killing the leader of the Hamas militant wing. Unfortunately, Hamas has many followers and as you can see from the following quote by Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi, things do not appear to be near the end:

At Hamas, we will not drop our weapons, even if all leaders are assassinated. We will not drop our weapons. This is the only option for the Palestinian people."
I find myself personally annoyed by hijacking of the peace plan by Hamas. Bush, Sharon, and Mazen have all condemned the attacks, but it's important to note that Bush has also rebuked Sharon for some not-very-nice moves he's done. I think it's important for Israel to tone down their retaliations and give peace more of a chance. Yes, it creates some big risks, and they might have some tragedies, but it also may be enough to trigger some peaceful action on the other side. That other side, the Palestinians, must also do whatever is necessary to stop the murders and terrorist attacks while Israel lets down its guard.

Posted by charr at 11:59 AM
Reader Comments

I personally don't believe that we will have a swift end to this chaos in the middle east. It's terrifying to imagine how much innocent blood has been spilt, and will be spilt due to some power-hungry leaders. My comfort is that God will be their judge.Perhaps piracy is our only option. Well.. maybe not.

Posted by Mel at June 11, 2003 2:03 PM

Do you think Israel needs to be in existence for the prophecies in the Bible about the End of the World to come to fruition? 60 Minutes just had a story about evangelical Christians being really into Israel and very supportive of the Israeli government because of this issue.
I think Israel should give back all of the Palestinian lands. (Do you know if any of the land that Israel holds is undisputed by the Palestinians - that the Israelis could keep without much of a problem?)
Israel's whole existence as a modern state hinged on one vote at the U.N. - I don't even think it should have been created!

Posted by Ellen at June 11, 2003 4:17 PM

This is an interesting question, since some Israelis believe they have full right to the land (and are upset at Sharon's statement that they are "occupying it"), while groups like Hamas insist that Israel has no right to be there and that they'll keep fighting until Israel is gone. Personally, I think Israel is there to stay and I'm not in favor of trying to move them out. I think the fact that Israel exists helps to bring about biblical prophesies, and that may be one of the reasons it does exist -- though please note that I'm not God and don't know how He's planned things out :). However, I've also never understood how a nation can just be created and imposed on someone else's land, like Israel was done.

Posted by Cameron at June 11, 2003 4:32 PM

I'm with Ellen. I don't understand why Israel was created. Recompense for the holocaust? If that is the case, who's compensating the Palestinians who lived there first.On the other hand, moving people has went on a long time and it's all questionable. What if the Native Americans decided that reservations don't cut it and demanded the bulk of the the U.S. land back? We gave the Israelis land they hadn't occupied in what, a couple thousand years? I won't pretend to know the specifics but it's seems suspect.

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