While Israelis are mourning the kidnapping and murder of three teens, Palestinians are mourning the brutal slaughter of one teen and the killings of two others at the hands of Israeli security forces responding to the abduction of the Israeli teens. It seems the two sides, defined by their religious-based ethnicities, are taking to heart “an eye for an eye.” Although Israel has long reacted to violence perpetrated by Hamas and blamed the militant organization when bad things happen, Israel’s impulse to react in such a heavy-handed, uncompromising manner is the worst thing to do.
Certainly, Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to bring those responsible for these killings to justice, but a need for police action does not translate into a need for military action. Looking at what is happening throughout the rest of the Middle East, the war these heinous crimes are provoking will only lead to the destruction of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Taking into account the attempts of ISIL to form its own Islamic state after overwhelming Iraqi forces and provoking a sectarian war, it appears Israel is facing a very similar threat.
Indulging the impulse to attack, both the Israeli and Palestinian People are being baited into a mutually destructive conflict that is sure to incentivize and attract extremist activities. Given the events in Iraq and Syria, Islamic extremist elements will, in turn, likely try to use the forthcoming chaos to expand the so-called “Caliphate” in Iraq into a regional Islamic state. What the Israel and Palestinian Peoples, whose leaders must resist the political impulse to endorse violence over more constructive action, must do is use these tragedies to overcome the issues that divide them and use such heinous acts to justify peace.
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