by: Mitri I. Musleh
The Palestinian/Israeli conflict, which began in the twentieth century, continues today without a resolution. The US Secretary of State Kerry's initiative to guarantee a secure Israel while maintaining a sovereign Palestine seems to show very little progress. While at school, I have made it my goal to study the conflict and find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. I documented my research in my 1st book, "The Ambiguous Triangle" which was published November 2011.
People, who are very familiar with the historical development of the region, can perhaps provide political, economic, religious and military reasons why this conflict remains without a resolution.
Until recently, I was one of those people until I discovered that while all the above listed reasons are valid and solid critical components to finding a solution, we all missed the real reason why this conflict remains without a resolution.
Please allow me to explain:
Like many other world thinkers and intellectuals, I thought that the absence of peace in the region was the result of a direct presence of war, occupation and human greed. Again, I may have overestimated the causes of the conflict and yet, these are legitimate causes that cannot be overlooked.
As I followed the Kerry initiative and its lack of positive results, I began to see a clearer vision as to why this problem has never been resolved.
While borders, security, Jerusalem, settlements, occupation and many other issues remain pillars in any future peace initiative between the two foes, the major problem that currently exists in seeing a long and lasting peace in the region is related to all sides' lack of understanding of the term 'PEACE'.
You see, Israel's idea of peace means total control of every Palestinian man, woman or child daily lives. Israel must control their movement by dictating its limitations. The Israeli leadership believes that the security of the Israeli state lies within the absence of every Palestinian freedom of movement and self-expression. For Israel to establish peace with the Palestinians, the Palestine must be kept oppressed by Israeli forces from all four directions of its territories.
On the other hand, the Palestinian leadership peace vision lies within the establishment of a sovereign state that is free of any Israeli presence. However, the obstacle that continues to be valid today within the Palestinian ranks is the ideological difference that separates the Palestinian leadership's vision of a peaceful settlement. While the Fatah leadership believes that it can achieve a state through diplomatic dialogue, the Hamas leadership believes that their state can only be achieved by force and armed struggle. Israel capitalizes on this issue to further prolong and maintain the current status of occupation.
So, here is the problem. There is a definite lack of understanding of the word 'PEACE'.
I took to the dictionary in search of a meaning of the word peace. This is what I found:
Peace means the cessation of war or hostilities. It also means a settlement to end a war or hostilities. It is also a mental, emotional or spiritual tranquility or contentment.
To put it all in perspective, anyone can to speak of peace until hell freezes over, but only a few understand its deep meaning and rewards.
Both the Palestinian and Israeli leaders must understand that if and when peace is to exist between two nations, it has to exist for an indefinite time into the future. Another word, it cannot be for one day, month, one year or twenty years. The challenge is not only in establishing peace, the challenge rests within having the ability to maintain peace and build on it. It also means total cooperation, understanding, sharing, respecting, and accepting of one nation towards another without any barriers or restrictions.
But, before any of this can happen, the Palestinian leadership must unite in their quest of how to achieve a nation.
It is only then peace may become attainable.