EVER SINCE the United Nations quoted the Holy Bible and passed Resolution 333 to create the state of Israel in 1948, death seems not to take a holiday in the Holy Land.
The ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip are worrisome indeed. More than three thousand Palestinians killed and still counting? Dear Lord, deliver us from this quagmire.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has warned that “if there is rocket fire against the south of the country, there will be a DISPROPORTIONATE (emphasis mine) Israeli response to the fire on the citizens of Israel and its security forces”.
This statement has sent cold shivers down my spine. Anytime an Israeli leader makes such a statement, they make sure it is carried to the letter.
But can one blame the Israelis? The answer is NO because surrounded by about eighty three million hostile Arabs, the Israelis are fighting for survival. Just look at how Israeli forces, responding to the intolerable provocations of the Hamas forces, inflicted lopsided casualties on Palestinian civilians.
They remembered what happened to them during the Holocaust, hence their resilience.
In a situation where more than six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, you don't expect the Jews to lose their guard again.
Since the creation of the state of Israel, they have fought and won all wars waged against their Arab neighbors. They can not march the Arabs in terms of population but when it comes to fire power, I can bet with my last Ghana Cedi that the Israelis are superb. They have the resilience, will power, firearms, the ability to bear pain and the fighting spirit.
That is why the Palestinians must swallow their pride and go to the negotiating table. If they think they can wipe away the state of Israel from the face of the world map as their leaders wrongfully informed them, I am afraid they will rather be the ultimate losers. Pharaoh, Adolf Hitler and Anwar Saddat tried and woefully failed.
I still insist that the Palestinian leadership must inspire their people to understand reality and build on their imperfections. You see, no matter the merit of the grievances of the Palestinian people, the world has continued to move on.
Since the escalation of the conflict, Palestinian rockets have been able to kill only three Israeli soldiers while the whole Gaza city has been turned into rubbles by Israeli air bombardments.
Who is the loser here? Since this conflict started many years ago, the Palestinians have had this funny feeling that the conflict can be internationalized with an outside force interposed between Palestinians and Israelis, creating advantages.
That has been a delusion and will continue to be so.
When Yasser Arafat was alive and kicking, he chose to use the Tanzim and Force 17 to shoot at the Israelis indiscriminately, thinking that could cow down the resilience of the Israelis.
That was a miscalculation, because the more they did so the more the Israelis responded with more venom. In those days the Aqsa Intifadeh did little to break the back of the Israelis. As the stone throwing continued, the Israelis fire power increased.
Arafat at a point in time feared to give orders to the suicide bombers to stop, because he knew his orders would not be obeyed. Arafat died with his dreams.
Hamas for now have failed the paramount test of leadership. They have failed to make a choice. Now that the body-count continues to rise and a hardened Israeli government seems to be uncompromising so far as the security of the Israelis is concerned, the launching of rockets will not solve the crisis.
Probably, the only hope out of the current hell being experienced by the poor Palestinian civilians is that new leaders may emerge.
Leaders who can actually make a choice for an independent Palestinian state, living peacefully alongside Israel. Leaders who may understand the reality that war has never been the answer and will never be the answer to the aspirations of the Palestinians.
In fact, new leaders may emerge who will see violence as the reason why they have not been able to achieve statehood.
Followers of the three Abrahamaic faiths in the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) must begin to look at the possibility of putting the past behind them and move forward since more than six decades of hostilities have brought nothing but misery and pain to their people.
I am very much disturbed by the plight of women and children in the Gaza Strip, who are being used as human shields to ward off Israeli attacks instead of being shielded from Israeli attacks. Whereas the Hamas leaders hid in the basement of hospitals, these poor civilians are left to the mercy of Israeli bombardments.
I have a suggestion to make to the Palestinians and Israelis: Put three Palestinian women and three Israeli women in one apartment. Provide food, water and other basic necessities.
Give them two weeks to come out with a proposal for a peace accord and see the results. The truth is that, the ordinary people of Palestine and Israel are tired of war and will like to get out of the mess.
The children of Palestinian and Israeli women are being killed day in and day out but the end of the war seems to be far away from their tearful eyes.
If Esau whose birthright was clandestinely stolen by Jacob could forgive his brother, why can't the Jews and Palestinians forgive each other? Indeed, if the dogs and cats could forgive each other and live in one house, why can't the Palestinians and Israelis who worship one sovereign God? Shalom!!!