Violence, imposed solutions cannot bring about peace

by Patriarch Michel Sabbah

Ed. Note: Patriarch Sabbah, Latin Patriarchate Emeritus of Jerusalem, was President of Pax Christi International from 1999 through 2007.

There is a war on Gaza, as it has been once, twice and more. Gaza and its people are in a state of permanent war. It has been under constant siege for 13 years, which is war imposed upon them every day.

Today, the month of Ramadan has started for fasting, prayer, repentance and good deeds. Instead, we see death exploding in and around Gaza. Israel itself complains of the war. Yesterday, Sunday May 5, the Israeli defense minister tweeted and cried out to the world to notice and see Israelis waking up for the second day in a row of rockets coming from Gaza and falling in Israel.

War is painful, after two days, in Israel. It is as painful and more painful in Gaza after 13 years of siege. War is an absolute evil both for the Israelis and for the Palestinians. O minister, the key to peace and the end of war is not in the hands of a world that we summon but simply in your hand and in the hands of Israel.

The issue is not only that of Gaza but the issue of all the Palestinian people. The issue is the injustice imposed on the Palestinian people since generations. Israel refuses to see Palestinians as human beings with same rights and equal to all human beings. Israel has tried the methods of war and violence repeatedly to solve the issue. So far, it has not succeeded and now, on the near horizon, there is talk about a solution wrapped in darkness and non-recognition of Palestinian rights. It will not bring a just solution. It will be another failure.

The solution is simple if Israel restores discernment, namely if it wants to recognize that the Palestinian people have the same rights as the Israeli people do, all being equal in humanity. It is in Israel’s hands, Israel is the stronger, to realize this equality. Avoiding this equality until now was useless. Israel itself today suffers from war launched on Gaza…

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