The complex and violent situation in Israel & Palestine deserves our attention and action. In the Middle East and elsewhere, war, terrorism, and violence destroy communities and people as they consume vast amounts of economic and natural resources. This alone would be reason to look for better solutions—especially for the U.S., since our country now spends more on weapons and the military than the rest of the world combined.
Israel-Palestine is certainly not the only area plagued by major violence and human rights violations, but it is one of the longest-lasting conflicts and is somewhat unique in the lack of open discussion here.
Unfortunately, the discussion here in the U.S. is much less informed and open than it is in many parts of the world—including Israel. Part of the problem is that the media here fails to report the details of what is happening in this conflict and tends to put actions by the Israeli government in the frame of a ‘response’ to Palestinian actions; rarely do they present Palestinian actions as a response to Israeli actions.* Dialogue here is also shaped and suppressed by the extremely effective efforts of AIPAC [American Israel Political Action Committee], Israel’s lobby in the U.S. AIPAC often treats everyone who disagrees with the actions of the Israeli state as anti-Semitic. Some critics, of course, may be anti-Semitic, but many are simply expressing honest disagreement with political or tactical actions, not with the Jewish people or religion.
Again, the intent of this section is not to present the ‘complete picture’—that would take dozens or hundreds of pages—but to represent viewpoints that are typically omitted from the media and public discussion here in the U.S., in the belief that we need more discussion, especially between and among those who do not agree.
It is difficult to conceive of a long-term solution that doesn’t start with respect for human and natural rights and recognition of the need for security for both Israelis and for Palestinians. Justice, peace, and security for all are difficult to achieve, but they should be primary goals for all parties in any process that tries to resolve the conflict.
While other nations can and should support and facilitate such a process, the appropriate solution has to be determined primarily by the Israeli and Palestinian people. We do believe that a viable solution requires open discussion and free access to information and divergent views.
The Israel-Palestine conflict is a reminder of how often violence is used in attempts to resolve conflicts throughout the world, despite the fact that it tends to result in a continuing cycle of violence. Looking at the level of violence throughout the world today leads to the conclusion that it is vitally important to stop diverting the majority of the world’s resources [both economic and natural] to war and violence.
* If you have any question about the bias in media coverage or about disproportionality of violence by the state of Israel, please take the time to visit the If Americans Knew website, since it is primarily concerned with accuracy in reporting.
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