Originally Posted by Puck
As I write there is an Indian Raga playing out in Late Junction. Radio 3 seems to be featuring digestable bites of Indian classical music rather a lot this late in the evening. A Nigerian friend off mine recently told me how much he has grown to love Indian classical music having shared a flat with an Indian student for a while. I found it strange that this sort of music appealed to his more accustomed to rhythms far more defined. Then I remembered, a friend of mine Ellen who had lives in an Islamic country during her teenage years found the sound of 'azan' so very theraputic. Apparently, she felt a spiritual connection with the 'muazzin' lying in bed listening to the dawn call to prayer. Some 'things' have a universal appeal. Lack of exposure is the only barrier to appreciation. Peace is not an idealised abstract noun. The problem is that is comes wrapped in historical religious differences between the Jews and Muslims.
The conflict actually is two pronged. There is a religious aspect to it and then there is the simple materialistic desire to own land. Legitimacy to that land ownership is played out on religious grounds. I believe that religion is used by the extremists on both sides to continue this long running dispute. Generations have grown up distrusting each other. I have often noticed a deep sense of hostility amongst the young generation of Muslims (at the age of 35 I don't consider myself young any more) towards Jews. This hatred makes the Jewish extremist stronger and keeps the moderates from getting to know the moderate Muslims. Somewhere along the line both parties need to leave religion and guns at the door and engage in peaceful dialogue as fellow human beings. There needs to be cultural dialogue with the Jewish nation. Perhaps, some form of recognition of Israel's right to exist could be a starting point. Once there is cultural exchange on both sides a sense of deeper understanding should follow.
You are young. Don't give up hope.
Compromise, by definition, is something that is supposed to be difficult. Ariel Sharon mentioned "painful sacrifices" or something along those lines. I think even Netanyahu reiterated the same position although his actions contradict those words. Extremists will always exist, they have to be ignored no matter how loud and prominent they might be. And extremism of people en masse is always fueled by conflict. Right now, maybe 75% or more of Gazans support Hamas. But if a real peace deal was achieved, or if Israel showed a willingness to engage in honest dialogue, I doubt if even 10% of Gazans would care much for what Hamas thinks about Israel. Hamas will always exist; Israel is merely an excuse for its being. But its the people that count, and Palestinians are not very different from the vast majority of Israelis.
The Palestinian Authority, the official and accepted representatives of their people, have agreed to accept Israel. Yet the impasses continue. There seems to be no motivation from the Israeli side to attain a peaceable agreement. They have security, strength, prosperity, and international backing already. What more could peace bring?