Enough is Enough
Our Patience is Running out
I look at the decades-long suffering of Palestinians and Gazans and I cannot help it but sympathize with them. I look at the centuries-long suffering and prosecution of Jews and I also cannot help it but sympathize with them as well. I think the whole world one way or another sympathizes with both sides. Each side has a touching story to tell and a number of seemingly good claims, be it religious, Biblical, Quranic, legal, civil, birth-right or otherwise.
But this sympathy, our sympathy, did not seem to have helped either party.
Palestinians and Israelis are somehow like cousins. Many Israelis and Palestinians look alike, cook alike and they even sound alike! But they have been fighting for decades and they seem to be determined to go on. I am not suggesting that they enjoy it, but it just seems that they will still go on fighting like that for a while.
Some friends ask me: “What is it to you? Why do you write or even bother to think about this? It is ultimately the Israelis and Palestinians who suffer and get to lose the most. So, it is up to them to find a solution.” In fact, they sadly point out, that the more they, Israelis and Palestinians suffer, the stronger their urge would be to find a settlement.
The trouble is, the bloody scenes are very disturbing. They haunt you. I mean, if the World will close an eye on murdering Gazan children or blowing up Israeli civilians, where does it stop? If the world had decided to close an eye on gassing Jews on the hands of the Nazi regime, the genocide against the people of Kosovo or Darfur where would we be today? Moreover, we are literally getting injured in the crossfire. When your neighbor’s home is on fire, you are bound to take an interest, lest the fire may spread to your own home and burn your own children too. And this is not just because we, in Egypt, are their next-door neighbors. Neighborhoods much farther away around the world in this global village, where borders and distances are ever diminishing, are also getting injured in the crossfire. The conflict has spilled over to many lands. It is fueling hatred and maniplulating extremist religious sentiments North, East, West and South.
In any conflict, a solution or a PATH, a strategy towards a solution, be it negotiation, arbitration, resorting to the Internal Court of Justice or the UN, should ideally come from the parties in concern: in this case Israelis and Palestinians. But this does not seem to be the case here. It simply does not work. Even wars, for many decades, did not work.
Several countries in the region, including Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Israel waged or got entangled in one war after another but wars never brought about a settlement to the original problem, the Israeli-Palestinian problem. So, they, or some of them, abandoned wars or pretended to be doing so and chose the path of peace, or appeared as if they had made that choice. Yet not a dawn of a solution even seemed remotely apparent at the horizon. We waited and waited, patiently hosting one round of negotiations and mediations after another, yet, the situation seems to only deteriorate.
Israel claims that Hamas is a terrorist organization which fires missiles indiscriminately at Israeli civilian population. That Arafat was a no-good greedy negotiator who showed no gratitude to generous Israeli offers. Palestinians claim that Israelis are using their military advantage to impose an unjust solution. Hamas says that it is a resistance movement which started with kids throwing stones facing armed soldiers who crushed the children's bones. Hamas further reminds us that such violent tactics were first used by the founding fathers of Israel including prominent members of successive Israeli cabinets, such as former Premiere Menachem Begin, also a former Irgun’s member, who was involved in the mass-murder of civilians in incidents such as the one which occurred in Deir Yasin in 1948 as well as the bombing of King David Hotel, Jerusalem, which was filled with civilians including women and children at the time, in 1946. If these were the heroes and founders of Israel, Hamas is following their seemingly successful example. After all, Israel managed to erect a state in 1948 through the use of such tactics and others. The other side claims that several warnings to evacuate King David Hotel prior to bombing were made and ignored. The dispute goes on.
I am personally getting fatigued by this whole situation. I no longer believe that negotiations can bring about a settlement which is deemed fair and acceptable by both parties. Maybe it is because of the power-parity, maybe because each side is clinging to its story and holy claims or whatever. Each party always complains that the other party is the one responsible for the failure of negotiations.
OK, how about we adopt a new direction, settlement through Binding Arbitration, say with the International Court of Justice. Arbitration seemed to have worked well for the Taba dispute between Egypt and Israel. Why shouldn’t it work for Israelis and Palestinians?
I think that the World Patience will one day soon come to an end. It will reach its limit. Our patience will just run out. And if the conflicting parties cannot reach an amicable solution, the WORLD must step in, find and impose a solution on their behalf, through the UN or through ICJ or whatever special court, where both parties are invited to make their claims and substantiate their case and are required to abide by the ruling. The International Community must have enough balls to enforce such a verdict/solution perhaps if necessary through economic sanctions, even blockade or by whatever means deemed fit.
We should tell them clearly and we should tell them now:
Find a solution or a solution will be imposed upon you by the International Community. Patience, sympathy and compassion are all great virtues. But everything has a limit.