Israel/Palestine relations are very difficult to sort out


I was born in Israel and served in the Israeli Defense Forces as an infantry officer for three years. The character and acts of the prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, have been controversial. He made some serious political and military mistakes, which may not be forgotten, especially by those who were affected by these decisions. However, he learned from those experiences and adopted a modern policy.

Periodically, people across the world voice opinions and pass judgment based on sentiments rather than knowing the historical background and facts from the first source. I feel these resulted in injustice. Many claim Israel should or should not have done such-and-such to achieve peace in the Middle East and a few even force their ideas.

How could they be so definite or have the authority to tell what is right and wrong? They had not lived in Israel and were not familiar with the dynamics of life in Israel. Can they really understand those who were raised into a terrible continual struggle for survival, those who left home at age 18 to give three years to the Army, who fought seven wars and continued with the reserves every year?

There is no good or bad. The consequences lie in the balance between the two. The conflict is a very delicate and complex issue to which there are no simple answers.

For the last decade, it seems that Israel has tried everything, moving from giving up to not compromising. Sharon gave hope for a change. When Sharon fell into a coma, the whole nation fell into coma. Life stopped for the citizens who stayed home tuned in to the radio and TV. However, it was not so much the future of the nation that citizens were concerned about, but rather Sharon’s future and well-being. It looked like the nation was struggling with the question whether it would be fair to keep him alive with physical and cognitive paralysis. Was this the quality of life Israel wished for the courageous and dignified hero from a humanist standpoint?

Now, with an incapable leader, Israel faces another challenge: Hamas victory. History has proven again that in a land of poverty, lack of education and opportunities, money “talks” and religion wins. Hamas has denied the existence of a Jewish state and acted as a terrorist-militant governing entity. It violently rooted a rebellious voice to demonstrate its power. Hamas “bought” the elections by redirecting funds to support the people in their daily struggle for existence.

With nothing else to lose, the Palestinians were easy to be incited. Hamas promised better life and future, and in return, the people gave up their rights for freedom and democracy. Perhaps they naively believed (or wanted to believe) their dreams and hopes would miraculously come true?

Dr. Merav NagelFaculty