In her recent guest column Eleanor Kinnaird, the former mayor of Carrboro, wrote about the “suffering of the Palestinian people.” They do suffer, but let us look to the persons at blame. The book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” had it right: When children misbehave, the responsibility lies on the parents. When a people suffer, why does not the problem lie on the parents, in this case the Hamas government, and for that matter Hezbollah and the muhlahs running Iran?
Bill Clinton, on television several days ago, said he brokered a deal when he was president where Israel offered the PA almost all of the West Bank, the entirety of Gaza and a portion of Jerusalem plus many other unspecified promises, if the Palestinian leadership would accept peace. And why did the Hamas, Fatah and Palestinian Authority leaders reject the offer? Because they wished Israel off the face of the map (denial of the right to survive). Hamas and Fatah need to wake up to realize that their common destiny lies not in some messianic vision coming out of Iran and Hezbollah, but from a real peace that offers all the right to thrive and prosper as they wish themselves to have.
We have all lived through too many wars. The Israelis understand a simple truth: when people say they want you dead, believe them. When Iran shows off its missiles on which is printed “Death to Israel”, it must be believed. Hitler spoke clearly. None of us like war. None of us like suffering.
Maybe Mrs. Kinnaird, you should ask the Hamas to stop making its people suffer. Ask them to stop stealing the cement and other materials meant to repair the Gazan infrastructure which they instead misdirect to make tunnels of terror. Ask the Palestinian generals to stop indiscriminately firing rockets meant to indiscriminately kill Israeli civilian population (Oh yes – collateral damage). You say “A few rockets a week fall into north Israel and if they hit an Israeli citizen, Israel attacks with an over-the-top force.” If a few rockets a week would fall on Carrboro and Chapel Hill, you seem to imply you would not respond forcefully to stop it. What would your electorate say? When this type of argument was said to Netanyahu, his response aptly was: “You live in Chevy Chase. Don’t play with our future.”
What we have in Gaza is a populace raised on victimhood and used as cannon fodder by corrupt leaders. They have extorted billions of dollars from various governments, which if it was invested properly could have built the infrastructure for a prosperous society. And how much of the monies now sits it foreign bank accounts of the refugees’ famous and flamboyant leaders, families and their lackeys?
Yasser Arafat first institutionalized a culture of hate through textbooks back in the 1980s. Today, that educational curriculum is still intact with the current Palestinian leadership promoting hate. And worse, it is well documented that the leadership is paying terrorists for their acts. Is this what we might wish to see here in our town?
Finally, if an article is to describe suffering, let’s ask why the Palestinian advocates who have written in these columns are so quiet about the mayhem inflicted by Bashar al-Assad. Five years have passed since the outbreak of the uprising began against him. Over 450,000 people have been shot, bombed, and gassed for the crime of not wanting to be ruled by a genocidal dictator. Only recently, chlorine gas or a related gas was again used. Are none of your friends concerned? Why do you not commiserate for the poor Syrians?
Dear Ms Kinnaird, I trust we can at least agree that we wish for all the parties in the struggling Middle East to enjoy peace, security and freedom. Let us stop the invective and demonizing of the other. In that spirit let you and I joined by our respective ideological friends send a joint letter to Hamas’ Gaza-based chief Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, President Bashar Assad of Syria, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Iranian Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Let us ask them to make peace with each other, and assure that their people enjoy the same basic freedoms as we do here in Carrboro-Chapel Hill. For in the end it is up to the parties themselves to forswear the destruction of the other and to instead build a durable peace. Will you join me?
Stanley Robboy lives in Chapel Hill. This column reflects the views solely of the author and not of the organizations with which he is affiliated.