Selasa, 08 Mei 2012

The conflict in the Middle East: will it ever end?

For many decades, there has been continual conflict in the Middle East. When the State of Israel was formed, in 1948, partially in response to the Holocaust, it was hoped that peace would ensue. This has obviously not been the case.

The Palestinians who had lived on this land for centuries, were suddenly displaced. Some became refugees in neighboring countries, but weren't exactly welcomed with open arms by the various countries that granted refugee status. Some Arab countries refused them entirely. Many formerly prosperous Palestinians were cast into ghettos and instant poverty. It's no wonder that resentment and hatred flourished.

The Holocaust survivors now had sovereign land and many emigrated to Israel to begin a new life, free of the persecution they'd suffered for centuries, all over Europe and in Russia. For a while, many Israelis and Palestinians lived in a semi state of peaceable, but difficult harmony. The Israeli economy prospered and the society solidified, somewhat.

However, ever since 1948, there has been a variety of dissident points of view, some pushing for war and others for peace. However, the conflict in the Middle East has never truly subsided. In fact, over the years, more and more Arab countries have taken a role which has ultimately expanded this conflict in the Middle East. Today, almost every country in the Middle East has taken a hard line position in opposition to Israel.

Despite efforts by the United Nations and a panoply of so-called peace plans and road maps, the conflict in the Middle East continues, at great cost in lives, wounded on both sides and human misery. The United States has long been involved in diplomatic efforts towards a lasting resolution, without results. America has supplied weaponry to Israel for a very long time. As a legal point, when America supplies aid in the form of weapons and technology, it is only to be used in defense. Aggression is not allowed in these agreements. This has become a sticking point today, partially responsible for fueling this terrible conflict in the Middle East region.

Prisoner exchanges between Israel and certain Arab countries were the norm, for a period of time. This was standard operating procedure when each country wanted to regain a captured citizen. There was a radical departure from this peaceable practice when two Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanon by Hamas. What ensued was the virtual destruction of Lebanon, which had only recently begun to achieve prosperity. It's notable that the U.S. essentially looked the other way, diplomatically speaking while this three week war continued. The destruction was massive.

Most recently, in response to rockets fired into Israel from Gaza, Israel launched a massive attack on Gaza, killing a thousand people to date.

It's not difficult to see why the hatred between the two factions continues to grow, perpetuating the long days of conflict in the Middle East. From an ordinary person's point of view, it's hard to understand why diplomacy seems to take a back seat to killing. Surely there are many gifted diplomats who might bring everyone to the table of peace. We can only hope for the future generations.

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