Friday, March 07, 2008

Violence Begets Violence

I'm sad today. So many horrible things are happening in the middle east. I've been watching the developments in the Gaza strip for quite some time. The people there are suffering... dying... silently. What has been happening there is despicable, criminal behavior on the part of the Israeli government.

Now, an Arab gunmen entered a Jewish rabbinical seminary yesterday in Jerusalem and shot and killed 8 people, injuring many more. This is also a despicable act. The seminary is heavily associated with the settlement movement in the westbank. (Meaning the process of 'settling' Jews in Palestinian territory for the purpose of expanding the territory claimed by Israel for it's state.) This is not important to the dead or the grieving, but it is important to understanding why it was selected as a target. Not a justification by any means.

The bottom line is that violence begets violence. It will never beget peace. Violence is never 'justified.' No matter who is doing it. No matter why they are doing it. No exceptions.

Acts of violence, whether by a Palestinian gunman shooting Jewish students in a library or bombs being dropped by the Israeli military on innocent Palestinian children in Gaza are equally barbaric.

The people celebrating the attack against the Jewish seminary in the streets of Gaza are people who have themselves been the victims of great violence at the hands of the Israeli military. They are acting from a distorted perspective - warped by oppression and violence.

The seminary students chanting 'death to Arabs' in the wake of the attack, suffer from the same delusion. They capitulate to their fear and anger and lash out at the perceived 'cause' of their suffering.

Both of these behaviors are sick and both contribute to perpetuating the very situations from which they seek to escape. Both reactions are primitive and primal.

Both reactions are 'understandable' from a 'human nature' level of reasoning, but both reactions are not going to resolve the underlying problem that exists: Fear, aggression, craving for power, a sense of entitlement, desperation, helplessness, hopelessness, anger, paranoia and fear of annihilation.

In reaction the shooting, Israel's Foreign Ministry said, "Israel expects the nations of the world to support it in its war against those who murder students, women and children, by any means and with respect for neither place nor target."

One person committed this crime and Israel's Foreign Minister wants the world to join it in a 'war' against the group to which this person belongs, with 'respect for neither place nor target.' This frightens and upsets me more than any of the other events. What human being could suggest that they have the right to act in a way with 'respect for neither place nor target?' It's is horrifying to me and it gets worse.

Condoleeza Rice said, "This barbarous act has no place among civilized peoples and shocks the conscience of all peace loving nations. There is no cause that could ever justify this action."

I agree with the statement that there is 'no cause that could ever justify this action' as it relates to the shooting. But, where Ms. Rice and I part company is that I feel the exact same way about the blockade of the Gaza strip that has caused near starvation and excruciating hardship for over a million people.

I also feel that way about the assault waged by Israel on the people of Gaza in the last week that has killed 120 people, at least half of them civilians. There is no cause that could ever justify this action.

They are equally abhorrent acts.

Until ALL forms of violence are viewed as equally abhorrent, we are trapped in a cycle of endless pain.

Israel needs to stop humiliating and controlling the Palestinian people. The Palestinian militants must realize that violence only makes it easier for the Israelis to hide their deplorable actions. Celebrating in the streets makes it easier for Israel to justify their aggression against the population as a whole. It doesn't help the cause of freeing the Palestinian people. It prolongs their agony.

Israelis and Palestinians should unite in denouncing ALL the violence that is occurring: the blockade of Gaza, the rocket fire into Israel from Gaza, the continued settlement activities by Israel (taking Palestinian land), attacks like the shooting in the seminary, preventing Palestinians from working and reaching medical aid, etc. ALL of it is equally deplorable.

All of these acts destroy the fabric of humanity.

Justice and peace will only come when all forms of violence are treated equally. Dropping a bomb on people is just as horrible as a suicide bomber blowing up a bus. There is no difference. Not in the eyes of God... and not in the eyes of civilized humanity.

Until we look at it this way, we are doomed to an endless cycle of pain and killing.

May we all wake up.

No comments: