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The Long Term Solution to Middle East Crisis? Examine Perspectives

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The current crisis in Gaza is based on several differing perspectives. 

   1. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist organization and differentiates between Palestinian authorities and Hamas which controls the Gaza strip. For Israel the Middle East crisis is a problem between Israel and the Hamas.
   2. Hamas in turn refuses to recognize the statehood of Israel and continues to attack Israeli civilians.
   3. The world thinks otherwise. The media considers the Middle East crisis as a political crisis between Palestine and Israel and the Arab community perceives this as a religious struggle.

The Middle East crisis has no easy solution and has remained a problem for decades due to the many differing perspectives. It takes a huge religious dimension with the Arab world uniting to protest against Israeli Jews no matter what course of action Israel takes or Hamas takes. The US and West are perceived as friends of Jews rather than Muslims although many UK and EU ministers have called for a permanent ceasefire on both sides.  The Middle East crisis has been all along a question of perspectives with Hamas considering it as having legitimate control of Gaza and Israel projecting Hamas as a terrorist group; the world seeing the problem as essentially between Palestine and Israel and the Arab world and whole Middle East perceiving the problem as a growing crisis between Jews and Arabs.  So let's say there are three perspectives.

   1. The Media/World perspective – as projected by the media and seen as a political crisis between two nations. 
   2. The Arab perspective – as seen by the Arab world and the entire Middle East with Gaza being seen as a religious struggle between Arabs and Jews.
   3. The Israeli perspective – the Israeli viewpoint that Hamas is essentially a terrorist organization and denies peaceful existence of Israeli Jews.

As far as the recent bombing in Gaza is concerned, Israel has in turn tried to project that it is bombing Gaza and the Hamas weapons storage facilities, Palestinian authorities believe that the civilians in the Gaza area are being targeted by Israelis and the world media project that both the Palestinian and Israeli authorities are enmeshed in a perennial hostility with attacks on both sides resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties.  
Considering a more detailed picture of perspectives, Tony Blair, now Middle East envoy, widely criticized for keeping a low profile has been trying to work out a ceasefire with a proposal supported by France along with a deal to end weapons smuggling into Gaza and opening up borders to allow humanitarian aid.

The UK MP Nick Clegg and foreign secretary David Miliband have condemned the situation in Gaza almost speaking out against Israel's aggressive stance suggesting that this could lead to escalation of violence and further extremism. On the other hand, the US has been holding the Hamas responsible for the Gaza attacks and Condoleeza Rice issued a statement that "Although the US is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Gaza, it also condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the previous ceasefire and for the renewal of violence." The Arab League representatives met with UN leaders to urge for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza . UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recognized Israel's responsibility to protect and defend its citizens against Hamas attacks, condemned the "excessive use of force" by Israel. The UN and UK seem to be against Israeli attacks in Gaza and the US is still focusing on condemning Hamas attacks against Israel. Considering the present situation, the UK's strong criticism of Israel's actions and US blame on Hamas attacks are both incorrect.

If the Hamas attacks are appalling, the Israeli attacks have been equally bad considering the number of civilian deaths in Gaza.  The problem in Gaza would never be peacefully resolved if there are so many differing perspectives and the first step towards peace would be to find a convergence of perspectives and trying to define the Middle East crisis as a single unified problem. Of course all problems are seen with different perspectives but solutions are hardly possible if these perspectives vary greatly. The world leaders including EU, US, and UN leaders along with Arab and Israeli leaders should focus on finding a common ground and try to translate each other's "language" and try to understand what the Middle East problem really is and whether the crisis is primarily religious, political or otherwise. 

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Saberi Roy is a writer and independent analyst and publishes articles on a wide range of subjects including psychology, politics, social issues,trends, religion, sciences and philosophy. Her work is quoted and republished extensively and is also (more...)

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