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Gaza is Longing for an Arab-Israeli Spring

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Plato may have inadvertently summed up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 2,500 years ago when he is thought to have declared: "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."

The cyclical bloodshed in the Arab-Israeli conflict is a direct consequence of the rigid postures of the jaded and faded leaders on both sides. On one end, we have the Palestinian codgers -- with thick accents and thin visions -- vowing for the annihilation of the Zionists. They know it's impossible. And on the other are the Israeli sly foxes -- with slick strategies and silly logic -- vouching to "flatten all of Gaza." They, too, know it's impossible.

From my standpoint, all the six key players on both sides - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas; chief Palestine Liberation Organization negotiator Saeb Erekat; Hamas' leader in exile Khaled Mashal; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Israeli President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak -- should be retired. These grouchy old men -- with a mean age of 68 -- are incapable of seeing the light of the future without inserting the darkness of the past into the equation. Every compromise to them is a sellout.

That's why I long for an   Arab-Israeli Spring. I long to see the streets of Gaza and Tel Aviv pouring with Palestinian and Israeli youth leaders, who value the safety of their grandchildren more than the legacy of their grandfathers.


Arab Spring in Tahrir Square (photo by Gigi Ibrahim)

If my dream came true, such a leadership would have to hit the ground running. I would suggest they make the following four unpopular decisions -- decisions the current leaders are incapable of:

1)   The Palestinians should immediately accept Israel's sovereignty. Guys, do you really believe denying Israel her right to exist has any meaning left to it? And please, invest in brand development. I mean, who would negotiate a peace deal with an organizational name like Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)?   Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigade? And lest I forget: Stop shooting those medieval rockets at your own future, please.

2)   The Israelis should stop building new settlements. Friends, they generate enormous amount of resentment and the international community overwhelmingly considers them illegal. Even President Obama remarked in his   2009 Cairo speech, "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop."

3)   The Muslim Palestinians should never use the word "jihad" to justify attacking or killing Israeli civilians. That Google churns out 11 million matches for the term "Palestinian jihad" in 0.16 second should be embarrassing to a true Muslim. Calling such savagery "jihad" mars the true Palestinian jihad: the struggle of existing without sanitation, crawling around barriers and facing daily humiliation. Disseminate this jihad through social media. Throw a rock and it only goes a few dozen feet; but publish a   heartfelt op-ed   in the New York Times and it rocks the highest echelons of the U.S. policymakers.

4)   The Israelis should embrace Mitt Romney's credo of, "We cannot kill our way out of this mess." Disproportionate use of force against innocent civilians has gained Israel nothing but violent resurgence. Fewer people buy into the argument of terrorists using civilians as human shields. Put yourself in their shoes. How can turning these stateless and homeless people into hopeless people ever benefit Israel?

Taking these four steps will build trust, allowing for a peaceful two-state solution to sprout in this wishful Arab-Israeli Spring of mine.

It's not that wishful though. Such young leaders exist on both sides of the check posts.   One Voice Movement   boasts over 300,000 grassroots voices, each from Israel and Palestine, supporting the two-state solution. And   Global Giving   mobilizes over 4500 youth leaders to teach them leadership skills in non-violent activism.

Children are not as afraid of the dark as we think. On the Israeli side, they have made playgrounds out of the concrete pipes used as bunker shelters. And on the Palestinian side, they don't stop kicking the ball as F-15 jets fly over them. It's the older generation of the Arab-Israeli leaders who are afraid of the light. And that's the real tragedy.

Dr. Faheem Younus is a clinical associate professor at the University of Maryland. He is the founder of   Muslimerican.com. He can be reached at faheem. Email address removed and follow him on Twitter at @FaheemYounus.

This article was originally published here

 

www.Muslimerican.com

Dr. Faheem Younus serves as the Adjunct Faculty for Religion and History at the Community Colleges of Baltimore County and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland. He is a recipient of the prestigious Presidential (more...)
 
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but  I would also advise:Dear Israelis and Pa... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 12:06:28 PM
Of your 4 points, #1 and #3 make sense.  The ... by Bob Hurt on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 3:44:45 PM
The Japanese and Germans lost WWII!... by Maxwell on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 9:10:53 AM
Exactly, The US won by giving a murderous, horrify... by Bob Hurt on Thursday, Nov 29, 2012 at 10:22:04 PM
Germany and Japan were major industrialized nation... by Maxwell on Friday, Nov 30, 2012 at 8:45:42 AM
all Palestinians with IQ below 100"I hope that you... by BFalcon on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 10:17:02 AM
Well, let's figure out this "joke." Jews have pra... by Bob Hurt on Thursday, Nov 29, 2012 at 10:27:12 PM
Happens to be to treat all human beings equally, n... by BFalcon on Friday, Nov 30, 2012 at 6:43:52 AM
"Einstein may have been smarter than Moses but I a... by Maxwell on Friday, Nov 30, 2012 at 9:10:16 AM
If you continue making claims like those above you... by BFalcon on Friday, Nov 30, 2012 at 7:00:37 AM
WHO is the bozo who flagged my comments "Nasty Fas... by Bob Hurt on Thursday, Nov 29, 2012 at 10:40:46 PM
 But it seems to me that forced sterilization... by BFalcon on Friday, Nov 30, 2012 at 6:33:21 AM
We should not (and can't) "designate" the homeland... by BFalcon on Friday, Nov 30, 2012 at 6:52:24 AM
That is such a good wish, that both Israeli and Pa... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 3:48:42 PM
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, a fairly balance... by E. J. N. on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 3:32:35 PM
Bob Hurt, was right the good doctor needs a histor... by Kostas Fourtounis on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 8:46:08 PM
"who value the safety of their grandchildren more ... by Paul Repstock on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 9:13:27 PM
The author of this article makes at least two glar... by Richard Pietrasz on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 10:36:04 PM
Whenever someone in this negative world proposes i... by Paul Repstock on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 12:40:52 PM
and notice, how   great the author was t... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 1:01:46 PM