People should not live in fear


Occasionally on the evening news — or for some Comedy Central — you will hear about the Israeli-Palestine peace process. After three wars, countless attacks and multiple armed engagements, this unsolved conflict looks like it was meant to remain in deadlock for eternity. So to some it may feel like I am beating a dead horse. Unfortunately, some of us this year have been eagerly watching developments in the Middle East only to be disappointed — again. Earlier in the year with the reelection of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came the promise of reconciliation. After he took office, Netanyahu outlined a process for working toward a settlement to the conflict and the possibility of a demilitarized Palestine alongside Israel. After President Barack Obama in Cairo challenged the world to a "new beginning," it looked as if Netanyahu would oblige. It would seem like such a noble cause, and a little peace in the Middle East could finally begin.

Regrettably, during all these years, the greatest minds with the best of intentions have been unable to broker a peace. The United States has pursued negotiations with the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas. But the Palestinian Authority has been divided between two distinct political factions, Hamas in Gaza Strip and the U.S.-backed Fatah of the West Bank. The United States' backing of Abbas against the terrorist-like Hamas has just worked to deepen the divide between the two parties. It doesn't help that the United States is on the losing team. Hamas has been gathering local support over the years with a simple strategy: They take action. Whether it is terrorist rocket attacks, organizing local communities or creating opportunities for youths, they understand the need for action and resistance. In some kind of twisted way they have created a misguided YMCA for the youth of Gaza. In contrast, the U.S. allies have been stuck in the quagmire of political tape, legal action and state sovereignty. Our handle on the situation, Abbas, is threatening to resign out of frustration. Even if he doesn't his power is fading. Our other allies in the Middle East have also invested themselves in a peaceful resolution, but with future bloodshed brings more opportunities for loonies to take power.

Christiane Amanpour of CNN released a documentary entitled "Generation Islam," which had a section that focused on the children of Palestine. It showed a child crying in his school yard, calling out not for his parents but for the Hamas militia. This is a child scared by violence his parents cannot protect him from. He is just another boy in a generation lost in violence. But is it too late now to turn back the clock? Every day through blockade, congestion and war the Gaza Strip diminishes further into poverty. Closed in on a strip of land not meant to contain so many "refugees," these people live in limbo. Battling sanitation difficulties in the war torn providence is a task in itself. Drinking water has to be imported into Gaza, as local water conditions can be considered a catastrophe. The area's poor have to decide to rebuild from Israel's assault into the region or use their meager resources to eat. People are not meant to live in this way, and as a result terrorism can progress.

It is not fair to name call without a basis. The word terrorist has been thrown around very loosely. But you need a reason to call someone a terrorist. Terror is defined as "violent acts which are intended to create fear, perpetrated for an ideological goal." An early terrorist in the 19th century was the Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins, who understood that there is no means to an end in terrorism. This holds true. Terror is perpetrated by the weak to vocalize their cause.

Abbas' regrettable choice to step down will be seen as a major setback, as he is one of the few remaining ties the West has. Hamas, with its misguided but effective measures, will need to suffice for Palestine and the world. While the Gaza Strip is degrading further every day, it's time for the West to pucker up and accept Hamas because there will be no peace till Palestine.

Stephan Liszewski is a School of Arts and Sciences junior.


Stephan Liszewski

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