The inner Palestinian conflict

Only when Palestinians in the vast majority value the treasure of life more and abandon their hate for the Jewish democratic state will lasting peace be an option

by Saba Farzan on 23 November 2012 12:31

It is from the safety of Germany’s capital that I followed, and continue to follow, the recent events in the Middle East. My thoughts and prayers have been, throughout the last week, with dear friends and colleagues throughout Israel. And I stand firmly by Israel’s right defend itself and its citizens from continued rocket attacks by Islamists.

I should probably mention that I’ve a very personal opinion on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, not a professional one. My work is focused on Iran and many other crucial Middle Eastern affairs except this one. So I usually express my views on this ongoing conflict in private conversations among friends, family members, and colleagues.

But today – for the very first time – I feel I need to raise my voice. After Wednesday’s vicious terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, that left so many people wounded, I learned with deep shock how people on the Palestinian side “celebrated” the violence. On Tuesday, I saw footage of radicals dragging the body of an executed “collaborator” through the streets of Gaza.  

What is going on with a society that responds like that? Where has human decency gone?

I’m not only a sociologist myself, but also the daughter of a sociologist. Growing up in our family home meant that my parents and I were engaged in many beautiful conversations on how social groups interact with each other and on great philosophers and thinkers and what their work means for our time. It is to those conversations that my mind reverted this week.

There is something utterly wrong with a society when it celebrates the suicide death of its own children, when it celebrates the death of civilians and soldiers on the other side of the conflict, and when terrorists hide behind women and children as human shields.

A society misguided in such a deep way has nothing to do with Israeli occupation, Israeli military responses, and the creation of the Jewish democratic state as a whole and in the first place. This is an inner Palestinian conflict – a conflict between moderates and radical Islamists. And by moderates I mean secular, educated, and peace-loving Palestinians who want to live in decent coexistence with Israel.

While I believe this is a societal struggle the Palestinians must fight themselves I still can’t resist asking where institutions like the United Nations, the European Union, and political leaders have been over the past years to strengthen the secular and educated people on the Palestinian side.

Has Lady Ashton any record of such crucial work to show us? Has she found time in between neglecting human rights and appeasing the Iranian dictatorship to deal with a plan for real democracy for Palestinians?

The fact that I’m pro–Israel and consider Israel’s security to be most important to me is rooted in my Persian heritage. The Jewish people and my Persian ancestors carry the same core values – a bond of rich cultural and historic togetherness. It is my greatest dream that our two people will return soon to their partnership and this means finishing the Iranian regime.

Then Palestinians will then also have a greater chance to build a more just, educated, and peaceful society for themselves. Only when Palestinians in the vast majority value the treasure of life more and abandon their hate for the Jewish democratic state will the Israel–Palestinian conflict move closer to a just solution for both sides.

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