New Castle News

Editorials

July 8, 2014

Our Opinion: New round of Mideast violence threatens to expand

NEW CASTLE — Anyone looking for peace in the Middle East will have to wait.

Probably for quite a while.

We refer specifically to the long-simmering conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. It’s well beyond simmering at this point, as the latest round of violence threatens to flare out of control.

Because one tragic event tends to prompt another in this region, it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific start to the latest round of bloodshed. But certainly the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens is a reasonable place to start.

Although the deaths are still under investigation, it’s presumed that they were politically motivated. When it was first reported the three had been abducted, the radical Hamas organization praised the kidnappers.

And when the bodies of the three teens were discovered, outrage across Israel was swift and understandable. And it appears to have led to at least one revenge killing, where a Palestinian boy was killed by being set afire. Several Israelis have been arrested in that murder.

In these circumstances — when the acts of extremists or fools threaten to dictate policy — strong leadership is necessary to ensure proper perspective. But both Palestinians and Israelis are sharply divided within their own ranks.

As if we needed proof of this, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be in danger of collapsing. A right-wing faction of Netanyahu’s conservative Likud coalition has broken away, claiming the prime minister has not been tough enough in dealing with rocket attacks launched on Israel by Hamas from Gaza.

To say there is distrust and animosity between Israel and the Palestinians is an understatement. And despite years of efforts — frequently guided by a variety of American administrations — efforts to attain a meaningful peace remain beyond reach.

For peace to occur, various things must happen. But first and foremost are effective political structures in Israel and Palestine that support an end to the ongoing conflict and have the ability to challenge and contain extremist elements.

Rest assured that even if a broad-based peace accord is reached, there will be factions on both sides determined to thwart it.

Despite the recent flare up in violence, it’s worth noting there are voices on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide that are condemning the bloodshed. These are the people who speak for reason and are the ones who must stand up and challenge the bitterness and desire for revenge from those around them.

If you want to find a reason to hate in the Middle East, you don’t have to try very hard. But the evidence demonstrates that continued distrust and retribution are literal dead ends.

The heroes in the Middle East aren’t those seeking revenge. They are the ones striving to overcome it.

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