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Letter to the Editor: In Gaza conflict, both sides miss the point of peace

BY JEFF SIMON

Published January 15, 2009

In the recent viewpoints regarding the conflict in Gaza, the Daily asked pro-Israel writers Rachel Goldstein and Daniel Neumann (Israel’s defensive mission, 01/15/2009) and pro-Palestinian writers Andrew Dalack and Bre Arder (An appeal for human rights, 01/15/2009) to answer three questions: "What is the nature of the conflict, what can be done to stop the fighting in Gaza and how can both sides achieve lasting peace?" Instead of answering the most important question — that of achieving peace — both sides did the usual finger-pointing.

Dalack and Arder attempted to answer the question of achieving a lasting peace, but to no avail. Instead, they suggested that the root of the problem is Israel's "disproportionate and ... savage forms of punishment" which "compel" Hamas to fire rockets into Israel. Dalack and Arder cite this as an example of Israel’s "history of aggression and occupation", which suggests that they question Israel’s very right to exist, since it was this migration of Jews to escape the Holocaust that resulted in Israel’s founding. The question of why the rocket attacks, suicide bombings and incursions occur is a chicken-or-egg question that dates back to the founding of Israel in 1948 — and perhaps before. Thus to decide whether Israel or Hamas is justified boils down to asking whether the migration of Jews into Palestine in 1948, or the subsequent reaction by Palestinians, is justified.

Obviously, the question of peace is difficult to answer. In any case, Israel’s military actions have resulted in the death and suffering of many Gaza citizens, which must be seen as unacceptable. Yet, Hamas’ hiding of weapons in civilian buildings, use of human shields and failure to provide for the Palestinian people is also unacceptable. We in Ann Arbor and those overseas must, instead of blaming each other, try to work out a detailed solution. I certainly hope that groups like SAFE and AMI will spend more time discussing "how to achieve lasting peace" than presenting these one-sided arguments which do not further the cause at all.

Jeff Simon
LSA senior


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