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Social Media Can Move Israel-Gaza Mountain

Global citizens -- journalists, women, youth -- can use social media to move Middle East leaders from intransigence to compromise, to effect long-term peace.

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.

U.S. SUPPORT

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.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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?

Other blogs by Molly Darden

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Terry Funderburke November 23, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Dear Ms/Mrs Darden, don't you think your conversion/reversion to the Muslim faith might be important to your readers so they have a better understanding of your point of view? Some of your writings appear to be carefully worded to avoid direct contradiction of Sharai Law.
Molly Darden November 23, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Throughout my writings run the theme of multicultural harmony, conflict resolution and respectful negotiation to achieve win-win situations for all parties. If you see that as a Muslim point of view relating to Sharia law, then so be it. I hope you found much to be thankful for yesterday, as I did with my multireligious, multipolitical family. I wish you well.
Jim Bobber November 25, 2012 at 06:44 PM
The US also funds the UNRWA, which in turn props up Hamas and al fatah--even though both are genocidal disciples of Hajj Amin al Husseini's movement to genocide the Jews of palestine. For the unfamiliar, Husseini was the mufti of Jerusalem and was Eichmann and Hitler's helper in the rounding up and slaughter of Jews, Christians, and Roma in Yugoslavia during WWII. In short, hamas is nothing more than a nazi-allied group that seeks to kill Jewish civilians, and to create yet another ethnically clean Muslim-only apartheid state. Darden's article is pure taqiyya.
Molly Darden November 25, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Looking at the situation realistically, we have several self-interested players here. Hamas and Fateh, both lawfully elected entities; Israel and Egypt, also lawfully elected. The United States funds, directly or indirectly, a huge number of global peoples and organizations. Despite historic blame, and there is plenty to go around on all sides, we have a political situation which we must address as it is today. If we keep looking at past grievances on all sides, our vision will be backward. We must look at it as it is today, encouraging involved leaders to find the most equitable solutions for all parties involved. That is the thrust of my blog; that solutions can be found if leaders have the moral determination and the will to find them -- ideally, through conflict resolution and negotiation. Our responsibility is to encourage them to seek those solutions, and one of the best ways to begin is to stop labeling and applying adjectives; rather, we should see issues objectively, and stick to seeking resolutions of those. To do otherwise is both childish and non-productive.
Molly Darden November 25, 2012 at 07:17 PM
You use the word, 'taqiyya', Mr. Bobber. Would you kindly explain your use of that word here, specifically how it applies to this blog. Please feel free to quote portions of the blog to which you feel 'taqiyya' would apply.
Jim Bobber November 26, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Are you a Muslim? If so, then this hamas-apologist tripe would be taqqiya. If not, it's just the usual Arabist hogwash. Israel's not the problem. Neither are Americans. Supporting civil rights and human rights is not the problem (and not surprisingly, MLK was a Zionist). Propping up oppressive, anti civil rights quisling regimes such as hamas/fatah is the problem, as well as domestic US policy shills that pretend that supporting human rights is the problem. There's really no objective evidence that the majority of gaza residents want to be lead by hamas, which uses the residents as shields. US media *does* state this--but US media lies a lot when it comes to its quislings.
Molly Darden November 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Uncharacteristically for you, Mr. Bobber, you are unable to reply to this issue courteously, rationally and respectfully, so I am puzzled. At any rate, I stand by my previously stated position. I wish you well.
Jim Bobber November 26, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Your article provides misinformation with an objective of confusing and bamboozling the reader. For example: "[the US] pours billions in direct and indirect aid into Israel every year and has supported Israel unequivocally for decades - no matter what they do." You fail to tell the reader that the US also pours hundreds of millions of dollars into hamas and the PLO, even though both are offshoots of WWII naziism and have no objective beyond killing Jewish civilians. Further, you state 'no matter what they do', an appeal to ignorance fallacy that makes reference to alleged evils done by Israel, even though Israel is not actually doing any evils at all. Israel contributes wildly disproportionately to health, medicine, biotechnology, and even to taking care of wounded palestinian Arabs. Are there any palestinian Arabs that would gladly treat Israeli citizens? Or would they instead kill Israeli citizens and kill any palestinian Arabs that do want to live in peace? You know, kind of like the way that pro civil rights gaza Arabs were slaughtered and pulled through the streets by motorcycle last week? I wish that you were able to strive to improve the world, as Zionists like Arthur Blank, Bernie Marcus and numerous others have done, instead of posting one-sided bigotry-whitewashing articles.
Barry Flanagan September 22, 2013 at 11:45 AM
I wrote an extensive commentary here only to have it disappear into the ether upon hitting the 'post comment' button. Suffice it to say that Jim's and Terry's 'accusations' of you being a Muslim are mere ad hominem attacks. Consider the reverse - that you accused them of being Jewish - that's how preposterous it is. Besides, to defend the human rights of Palestinians - one need not be of any religion - in fact, Palestinians themselves are a national group - and can be of any religion. Pretty much all of what Bobber says is absolute poppycock, likely gathered from Zionist links - and has only the most tenuous relationship to reality, whether historical or current. While your own analysis I'd say is rather too hopeful, I can only find one flaw in it factually. Hamas is on record as recognizing an Israel behind pre-67 lines. Unfortunately, they have no negotiating partner. Israel needs to do what the world demands of it - go home to Israel. We'd all be better off for it.

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