The crisis in Gaza and Israel, like other global crises, continues because of the lack of will to solve the problems. I’m no expert but I am a caring, thoughtful observer, and these are my thoughts, simplistic though they may be. Perhaps they may serve as a starting point for effective actions. As the situation evolves, some of the facts here may have changed when you read this, but the central point remains.
ESSENCE OF THE PROBLEM
Leaders impose impossible situations that evoke violent reactions. Then they make intransigent demands that all their conditions be met in order to form peace or even a ceasefire, despite the suffering of people who elected them.
No one stands to gain in the immediate future, except the war industry. Money fuels this conflict. According to at least one report, the United States (you and I) pours billions in direct and indirect aid into Israel every year and has supported Israel unequivocally for decades - no matter what they do. Reasons for this are simply unfathomable to me and to others.
Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu said no short-term agreement would be possible without a long-term agreement. Obviously, that will not be immediately forthcoming, so they feel justified in continuing to pound Gaza, which they have occupied for years.
The Gazans feel justified in firing rockets at Israel because they are frustrated, fearful and angry. Hamas drives the Gazan side - with complications. The Gazan people lawfully elected Hamas, so they are a legitimate presence there, but apparently Hamas oppresses the local citizens as well. Gazans fire rockets at Israel, thereby indirectly provoking and prolonging Israeli reprisals.
The most horrific victimization of all this is the youth because this is not only their Today, but their Tomorrow as well.
Despite Secretary Clinton’s efforts at cross-diplomacy, results may not change, at least not long-term. Netanyahu demands a long-term solution before a truce. Hamas, apparently, says Israel is not a legitimate state; their heels are dug in, each side saying all of their demands must be met so solutions are not possible.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is up for re-election in January of 2013. How will the Israelis speak on his actions?
Ironically, the war machine, while profitable for some, does not produce long-term prosperity. Peaceful, free environments can. Prosperous, free countries produce youth who can focus on education leading to other long-term investments for propelling the socioeconomic order along for the good of all.
Of course, it’s much more complicated than that - the complicated intertwining of mutual interest among disputing countries - the land issue, Iran’s part, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey - but today’s focus is on Gaza and Israel.
The essence of it all is self-interested intransigence of will, and that must be changed. People globally, using social media, can exert tremendous pressure to move the leaders toward peace, on economic, electoral and moral grounds.
It worked in the United States when, during the last four years, Republicans blocked every proposal of Pres. Obama, assuming they could later blame him for lack of progress. It backfired when, after a massive social media campaign, the American people re-elected Obama. Now GOP leaders say they are willing to cooperate.
Perhaps, the Gaza-Israel solution will come from youth who are not only technologically savvy, but also passionate about their present and future. They have written powerfully about their plight in Gaza. (Their language is strong; they are young and passionate.)
Women can also play a strong role, uniting on both sides, to pressure their men to do all in their power to effect peace - even if it’s only in the home, where influence begins. The Oscar-winning film “Some Mother’s Son” (1996) depicted growing understanding between mothers on both sides of the Northern Ireland conflict, now shakily resolved.
And look how women led in the Arab Spring! They were an unrelentiingly magnificent force for bringing about those ‘impossible’ changes leading to the toppling of leaders.
While the powerful influence of youth and women can lead to loosening of intransigent will, perhaps the most powerful influence at this time is that of courageous journalists, who keep getting the message out despite the danger and uncertainty they face. Like Ayman Mohyeldin, who covers Gaza for NBC News, and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin , formerly with Al-Jazeera, who tirelessly keeps the message alive on HuffPost Live, Twitter and Facebook every single day.; citizen journalists like Emily Hauser, an Israeli Jew who tweets unrelentingly about the situation, and why she cannot support her government’s actions. These are only a few, but they do shine.
As citizen journalists, bloggers and other ordinary, caring people around the globe can also utilize social media to inform all involved government leaders that peace through compromise is the solution, and the time is NOW.
I’m on board; are you?