Pulling Together


Where are the peacemakers?

It’s been a depressing three weeks. The world seems to go from one crisis to another with such little pause that it’s difficult to keep track of it all. The war in Ukraine is ongoing. Now we have war, or something akin to war and extremely destructive, in Gaza. That polarises opinions around the world even more than the Russian invasion did over two years ago.

On one side we have those remembering the victims of the original Hamas attack three weeks ago and commemorating those held hostage. On the other we see huge demonstrations by angry Palestinian sympathisers outraged by the fierce Israeli response.

Both of these look ghastly to any neutral observer. The military response to the terrorist incident has killed many times as many people as the appalling Hamas action, and is still being escalated. The population of Gaza wanders vainly in search of shelter, with essential supplies said to be so short. The Internet has been lost, making communication difficult, so we have limited knowledge of what might actually be happening there now.

This situation is dangerous, not just to the people of Gaza, where it is an immediate threat, but to the Middle East and the world as a whole. How much death and destruction can the world watch without someone else feeling compelled to intervene? The demonstrations in our own country of outraged, mostly Muslim, marchers and equally angry Zionist groups demonstrate the volatility of the situation. The closer to the scene of the action, the stronger feelings are likely to be. If this cannot be contained it could set the whole world at war.

What we need are moderate voices; those who recognise that the original terrorist atrocity cannot be justified by the history of Israeli mis-treatment of Palestinians and that the Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza, their homes and their civil infrastructure, cannot be justified by that original attack. Countries have the right to defend themselves, but what has happened since does not look much like defence. Defence would be securing the border. Defence would be precise attacks on rocket-launching sites. Defence might include limited commando raids to destroy specific installations, or extremely precise targeting of military targets. What we see are the devastation of whole areas, the destruction of entire blocks of flats where one flat might be used by Hamas, the displacement of a whole city’s population to an area where they continue to be attacked. This does not look like defence.

Where are the voices which recognise both sides have gone too far and need to be brought back to something more reasonable? Where are the people trying to calm those rightfully outraged and support the cause of peace. What can really be achieved by such a blanket conflict other than more human misery, more resentment, more anger, and more determination to fight? The idea that peace can be achieved by such total war looks absurd. Where are those who want peace? Where is the courage to say so? Am I alone, once again?

I hope not.

About the Author

K J Petrie has a Full Technological Certificate in Radio, TV and Electronics, an HNC in Digital Electronics and a BA(Hons) in Theological Studies.

His interests include Christian and societal unity, Diverse Diversity, and freedoms from want, from fear, of speech, and of association. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

The views expressed here are entirely personal and unconnected with any body to which he belongs.

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