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For a Preferential Option for Peace and Justice in the Middle East

Israelis and Palestinians must find a way to live together in peace and mutual tolerance. The conscience of the world shall make it a priority to find an end to this human tragedy that remains, with South Africa’s racial apartheid gone, one of the few blatant, political plagues that our world still faces. The Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands is the source of the current conflict in the Middle East; the occupation, with its 75-year duration, is one of the longest-running in modern history.

Rivalry in cruelty is not the best way to resolve a conflict between neighbors. Israel’s bombing of entire civilian buildings and hospitals in Gaza are crimes against humanity, and Hamas crimes of resistance against civilians are still unacceptable crimes. Throughout history, peoples’ resistance has resorted to very violent means to affirm the radical refusal of their oppression, as the Haitian Revolution and Algerian independence movement have shown, but the end should never justify the means, for the end finds its legitimacy in the ethical and humanist quality of its finality. Another disturbing element of this conflict is the common bias of most US media reports. They lament, as they should, the horrors of the massacres and hostage-taking of Israeli civilians by Hamas on October 7, while reporting the daily, continual siege and massacres of Gazan civilians by the Israeli army as objective, inevitable collateral casualties of war, a “war” that looks like more like unilateral killings of mostly civilians (men, women, and children) who had nothing to do with Hamas terror, just as Israelis who were massacred on October 7 had nothing to do with the fascist regime of Netanyahu that oppresses the Palestinians.

Furthermore, most US media report on the current crisis as if the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict were caused by the Hamas attacks of that day, rather than a result of the 75-year old occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands. Perhaps most astonishing is the lack of forceful condemnation of the daily massacres of Gazans and destruction of entire neighborhoods that are taking place under the world’s glare, which impelled Queen Rania of Jordan to ask, according to CNN on October 25: “Are we being told that it is wrong to kill a family, an entire family, at gunpoint, but it’s OK to shell them to death? I mean, there is a glaring double standard here. It is just shocking.” As reprehensible as the Hamas attacks against Israeli civilians on October 7 doubtless were, let’s hope that their horrendous specter might remind the Israelis that oppression and subjugation of another people have their costs for both oppressors and oppressed. It’s also a reminder that if you institute a system that deprives and dehumanizes people, you should not be surprised that they commit inhumane acts.

History sometimes reaches a point where a solution must be found for a problematic human calamity. Chattel slavery was one of them, as were the polio virus or Hitlerism. The Israeli occupation and subjugation of the Palestinians remains one of the remaining political plagues of our time. It’s no wonder why these recurrent crises flare up in repetitive cycles. For the sake of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, a serious, preferential option for peace with justice must be found, implemented, and followed. That is the only solution, and it can begin with an immediate cease-fire to stop the daily carnage.

—Tontongi Boston, October 30, 2023

Boston Jews say free Palestine Protesting in front of the Boston Public Library for a free Palestine

Demonstration in Boston on October 22, 2023, against the Israeli occupation and military attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. —photo Tanbou

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