Volume 94, Issue 25
Friday, October 13, 2000
Golden Boy asks if peace may be golden calf
Tom Clancy wrote a book called the sum of all fears right now the equal sign is pointing to the Middle East.
After several years of hard negotiations, it is becoming painfully clear that the peace process has been all but destroyed. After the visit of former Israeli general Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount, the entire area exploded like a barrel of dynamite. Right now, stones, gunfire and blame are being exchanged, all the while the death toll slowly mounts.
At this point, it seems both sides are trying more to save political face, rather than put a halt to the violence.
Many Palestinians reacted to Sharon's visits by throwing rocks, committing arson and other kinds of violence. In the past few weeks, the rocks have slowly turned to guns and the death toll has steadily risen.
While I can sympathize with a soldier defending himself and opening fire when his life is in real danger, whether it be against a 30-year-old man or a 13-year-old boy, chances are a flying stone isn't going to do much against a well equipped soldier.
Why the need to bring out heavily armoured tanks defies any real logic. This has only enraged the rioters in the region now the rocks have turned to guns. Israel's overreaction can be seen in the death toll, which is almost 100-1 in Israel's favour. It seems obvious that Israel's actions have been more than in self-defence.
An international inquiry is definitely necessary.
The Palestinians and many others in the region, while exceptional at pointing fingers, aren't without their own share of the blame. While enraged, peaceful protests, despite what many would have you believe, do not include throwing rocks. Remember Ghandi, or look at the recent events in Serbia peaceful protests can be effective.
Where is the logic in throwing stones at soldiers? Especially at a military with Israel's record.
Israel pulled its troops back to help ease the situation. The Palestine reaction involved the destruction of one of the most holy Jewish shrines. That does not help.
The sum of all fears still rings loud and clear, while politicians grapple with their unending game of chicken. Both sides seem to believe that when all is said and done there will be a clear winner ultimately the only losers will be themselves.
More importantly, Israel is a country surrounded by political enemies. Most of its neighbours want nothing more than to see Israel wiped off the map. There have been six wars in the last 50 years to prove that point, the last one being in 1982.
As the violence increases in Palestine and spreads to neighbouring Lebanon, the pressure will build on the Isreali government take action. Very soon tanks could be rolling into Lebanon and the guns on the Golan Heights will be prepared for another battle.
Both sides must be willing to make huge compromises in this deeply rooted conflict before peace can even have a chance. That means swallowing one's pride in the face of enemy. The entire region, without the proper intervention or action, could find itself on the verge of another war and this would be the sum of all fears.
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