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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

The Middle East After Gaza

Bombs Over GazaI wanted to share a few ideas and comments about the recent war in Gaza, in the hope that it may help to find the right solution to this very dangerous situation in Gaza and in the Middle East.  This war has achieved nothing for Israel or for the Palestinians, except the killing and maiming of over 6,000 innocent civilians and raising the level of anger and even hatred against Israel and its main backer (the U.S.) in the region.

  1. It is very dangerous and counter-productive for the US to be always siding “unconditionally” with Israel.  Yes, of course, Israel has “the right to respond”.  However, to be fair and balanced and therefore help bring peace to the middle east, the US must also acknowledge that the Palestinians also have “the right to respond”, and that the blockade, the embargo, the targeted killings and bombings, the illegal settlements, and the incursions that Israel has been imposing on Gaza for the past two years are also “acts of war”.  So the question is “who has been provoking whom?”.Read More
  2. Israel also has the duty to be responsible in its response.  The rockets launched by Hamas have killed 8 people in the past seven years.  They are illegal but also highly ineffective.  The response of Israel has killed over 1,100 people and injured over 5,000 people in the past 21 days, most of them innocent civilians, women, children, and bystanders.  This has become a humanitarian tragedy of monumental proportions and means that a cease-fire must be imposed immediately if the international community expects to have any legitimacy in the 21st century.
  3. Israel has always resorted to a policy of “deterrence by force”, and in most cases by overwhelming force.  While this policy may work against states and regular armies, it does not work against non-state actors who can easily hide between the civilians.  A policy of overwhelming force against them inevitably means huge civilian losses, which in turn will create more hatred against the people who are killing the civilians.  Israel is hoping that the Palestinians will blame Hamas and turn against them, but this is simply wishful thinking and it has never worked this way.  In the short and even long run, this will only encourage more violence, extremism, and terrorism, and will not solve the problems of the Middle East or of Israel.  Israel and the US have no choice but to negotiate with Hamas.
  4. The media coverage of this humanitarian tragedy has been disproportionate too.  While the Arab public has been bombarded by 24 hour coverage of the mayhem in Gaza, and not just by al-Jazeera but by over 30 Arab news and religious channels, the western public and especially the American public has been treated to extensive coverage of the damage caused by the rockets in southern Israel.  This will only help to increase the schism and the hatred between the Arab and Muslim public and the western public in general.
  5. Finally, we are witnessing some of the largest mass demonstrations in the Arab and Muslim worlds that we have seen in the past 30 years.  In Morocco and Turkey, for example, demonstrators have numbered into the millions.  These huge demonstrations have occurred not just in the capitals but also in every city and small town.  Again with very little coverage in the western media, these demonstrations clearly illustrate the exploding anger and frustration of the Arab and Muslim public, and increase the risk that they will turn against the West and also against their own corrupt and oppressive regimes at any moment.

Dead Child in GazaThis war will clearly have a huge impact on future relations between the US and the Arab and Muslim world?  It has tarnished the image of the US in the Arab and Muslim world much, much more than the previous eight years of the Bush administration,

We need to act quickly and forcefully – but with strategic and long-term vision, patience, and perseverance – to:

  1. End the massacre and carnage in Gaza and Palestine, and bring a peace with justice to the Middle East conflict,
  2. Bring democracy to the Arab/Muslim world, as it is the only way for long term peace, development, and stability,
  3. Improve relations and understanding between the US and the Arab/Muslim world.

I hope you agree with me that these three goals are very important but also highly connected.  We, at CSID, continue to do our best.  This is the agenda that CSID has been working on for the past 10 years, but we need your help and support.

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