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Breaking the Cycle: Why Humanity Is The Only Path Forward In The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Sure it is complicated, and of course Israel must defend itself from terrorists. But what is painfully absent is leadership from all sides asking how can we put an end to this cycle of violence.
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May 11, 2023
Israel Rockets Iron DomeToday in Sderot, Rafi Abecassis

T.S. Elliot might have reconsidered his famous line, “April is the cruelest month” had he dropped by Sderot in the south of Israel today. It appears that the dozens of rockets fired into Israel this April were only a small preview of the hundreds that are raining down from Gaza as I write this.  

Israel’s supporters who are pointing to the importance of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operation to counter terror groups are overlooking the elephant in the room.  Civilians on both sides are caught in the crossfire. This is what happens when radical leaders anywhere prioritize holding onto power over all else. Sure it is complicated, and of course Israel must defend itself from terrorists. But what is painfully absent is leadership from all sides asking how can we put an end to this cycle of violence. 

Sure it is complicated, and of course Israel must defend itself from terrorists. But what is painfully absent is leadership from all sides asking how can we put an end to this cycle of violence.

That answer starts with acknowledging that there are conflicting truths. I am a deeply patriotic Israeli. That is the truth. No less true is the fact that I passionately believe in the freedom and dignity of Palestinians. Just as I advocate for the well-being of my country, I have consistently advocated for reconciliation and peace. We must advance that truth with the same certainty that we vehemently condemn anyone who suggests that Palestinian rights can or should be attained through the mass murder of Israeli civilians.

We must advance that truth with the same certainty that we vehemently condemn anyone who suggests that Palestinian rights can or should be attained through the mass murder of Israeli civilians.

Which brings us to the question, why did we initiate this recent operation? After 104 rockets were fired two weeks ago in April, Israel responded with a delayed action, focusing on eliminating top leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This approach however proved ineffective in the past, as we undertook a similar operation nine months ago.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad should not be confused with Hamas; they are two distinct terrorist groups. While the former relies on funding from Iran, it is well known that both groups share resources and collaborate closely in their attempts to terrorize Israeli civilians. Despite Israel’s statements claiming Hamas was not involved in this round, Hamas itself claimed responsibility for some of the rocket attacks. Israel did not want Hamas to fully engage because, contrary to what Prime Minister Netanyahu is saying publically, he too wants this round to end quickly.

That is why he reached out to Egypt, requesting assistance in negotiating a ceasefire.

With a ceasefire likely, the question that must be asked is what did we achieve? Yes we eliminated three top leaders of a vicious terrorist group.  It may be hours or days, but they will soon be replaced by equally violent leaders. Meanwhile, through this operation, several Palestinian women and children were killed in our attacks. Even apologists for the lives lost have to acknowledge that Israel’s image has suffered significant damage internationally. In addition, millions of Israelis have sought refuge in bomb shelters, causing substantial economic damage in the paralyzed south. If that weren’t enough, each Iron Dome rocket costs over $50,000.

Above all, this operation has widened the divide between Israelis and Palestinians, intensified tensions, and left Israeli Arabs feeling more isolated. And no one living in the south or center feels any safer, including my parents and my grandmother in Tel Aviv. No one wishes more than me that this operation had achieved something to promote peace and security. Regrettably, it did not. What it did do is further draw focus away from finding ways to improve the situation. 

Just as Palestinians must reject the dehumanization of Jews and the hateful ideology of their leaders, Israelis and Jews must openly state that Palestinians deserve a life free from fear, and the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives.  

Just as Palestinians must reject the dehumanization of Jews and the hateful ideology of their leaders, Israelis and Jews must openly state that Palestinians deserve a life free from fear, and the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives.  

It should not be controversial to affirm that, for the sake of our children and the future of our land, we must recognize each other’s humanity, acknowledge our own faults and resist hate.

 

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