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midnight musings: the middle east

August 24th, 2002

The Palestinian/Israeli problem… It’s unfortunate that the lessons learned by our parents can so easily be forgotten or overlooked as we march down the same wrong paths others have trod for years simply because they are familiar and well worn. The path to change and attention most often seen is the one marked by the dead, by the victims of the quest for change — from both sides of the conflict.

Hamas and The Islamic Jihad may achieve their goals one day, they may destroy Israel but the road will be long and hard their way. It will be lined with the bodies of countless Palestinians and Israelis. It is unfortunate that their interpretation of their religion gives them the excuse to pursue a bloody path.

As Robert frost observed; in the woods, there are two paths, and one is less traveled. In this case the people who took the “road less traveled” have names we all know, names like Gandhi and King. People who captured the attention and sympathy of the world by their methods and their results.

Gandhi struggled for the freedom of India and the welfare of his people in a time before CNN; he shook the British Empire to it’s knees and he won his peoples freedom. Palestinian leaders should imagine the impact on Americans and Europeans watching Israeli soldiers struggle trying to figure out how to deal with constant sit-ins and non-violent rallies. What could Israel do? It could arrest them, or beat them, or kill them. All where done to the followers of Martin Luther King, and in only a decade his followers achieved so much. The Israeli army is the one of the best equipped and trained in the world, but what could they do if the Palestinians removed violence from the equation?

Hamas and The Islamic Jihad will not stop, they will not cease till Israel is no more or they are no more. And non-violence may not work. But perhaps someone should suggest it to the Palestinians, Someone like Kofi Anan or Jimmy Carter or Crown Prince Abdullah. Someone.

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