Izzeldin Abuelaish Guardian/UK November 18, 2012
I was shocked to read of it. Another massacre. How many more massacres can Palestinians stand? How many can onlookers tolerate? Surely, now it's time to face reality: military means and violence will never put an end to this conflict. The notion of occupied and occupier must finish. The Israelis cannot claim self-defence. It is invasion, using all means from all directions –air, ground and sea. Rather than self-defence, it is escaping responsibility. By contrast, is it not the right of the occupied to fight and free themselves from occupation and the continuous invasion and humiliations? . It's time for political leaders to be courageous. What are they going to say to their children when they watch other children killed. Where's an international system built on justice and human values?
This action endangers the life and future not only of Palestinians but also of Israelis. For this act is suicidal as well as destructive. The ultimate enemies are ignorance, arrogance, fear and greed. And the real courage would be to implement the peace treaties and plans. As I write, 39 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed and more than 300 people severely wounded. The killed include eight children, three women, including one pregnant, and four elderly. Of the severely wounded there are 102 children. It is, again, a human tragedy.
The political and military leadership – including all Israeli generals – know that military means will never put an end to this violence. We also know that occupations end and this one will eventually finish too. So, let's call a halt now to this craziness. Instead of using force against civilians, why not invest energy in moving forward in the peace treaties? The wound cannot heal while all the time there is a great commitment to deepening it and to add salt to it. My family in Gaza are not safe; and the same can be said for all those innocent people in Israel.
"No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire," argues the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces an election in January. What about the Palestinian people who have suffered for decades?
The military was ordered to conduct "surgical strikes" in Gaza, said Netanyahu, but Israel would take "whatever action is necessary to defend our people." There were also reports of rocket fire on Gaza overnight. It's news to me that Netanyahu is a surgeon.. We, as doctors, practise constructive and curative surgery, not the destructive and traumatising sort. That is the kind of surgery he needs to learn and practice.
In the midst of the escalation in violence, to be courageous would be to create, to build and construct; and to save lives. There's no courage in using power against innocent, unarmed civilians – or civilians armed just with their faith and their will to live independent lives. Nor is there courage – on either side – in manipulating the situation for limited political and individual interest.
The doctor's role is to help, to minimize the suffering and to deliver safely the children of the future. It's time for the international community to help and support Palestinians in this beautiful project. The world is plagued by violence and conflict. We need to move forward and emphasize the dignity that each human being deserves regardless of gender or race. The freedom should not stop at Palestine borders, and we can endure through truth and justice. Let us hope this is a turning point, and a way towards Palestinian freedom. © [Abridged]
Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian doctor and infertility specialist. In 2009 three of his daughters were killed by Israeli shells. He now campaigns for peace and teaches at the University of Toronto