Today the world is at war, in Palestine/Israel, in Ukraine, in Sudan. What lessons did we learn from the tragedy of the 2 World Wars, where 100 million people died, 100,000 of them under two atomic bombs? The tragedy 9/11 in New York when 2,900 innocent people died. The 7 of October 2023 attack where 1,300 Israelis were murdered, and, since then, 10,000 people from Gaza have been killed, including 4,000 children!
Today, thousands of NGOs and groups around the world, joining the SG of UN, Pope Francis and other leaders are saying NO TO BOMBING AS A METHOD OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION. And are calling for peaceful, negotiated settlement, not WAR. We join them!
Respect for human life is fundamental. All forces for good in the world (The United Nations, peace NGOs, the Red Cross, religious leaders) champion values which encourage respect for other human beings and a willingness to work together to find peaceful solutions, in discussion and dialogue, to community problems and conflicts. In the seventies, thousands of young people joined with Bertrand Russell to march against nuclear war, and we sang this phrase which went around the world and still resonates today: ‘Make love, not war’, young people’s way to re-state the fundamental message of ‘Love one another’. Most young and old rallied to this call at the time of the Cold War, when the threat of a nuclear holocaust was hanging over our world. Today it is as much needed as it was then.
Let us re-examine the fundamentals
Some Governments and heads of state seem to be saying that it is OK, it is within acceptable norms, to kill civilians, including children, with bombs (which detonate due to chemical reactions, hence are chemical weapons) dropped from drones and planes. That it is acceptable to kill (enemies) with rifles, guns and missiles, at times fired directly into residential apartments - but killing with a deadly but non-violent method using sarin or some other poisonous gas is not OK?. But they fail to equally and forcefully condemn the killing of civilians-by whatever means who flee by the millions for their lives and that of their children.
Let us go back to basics: the animal kingdom evolved on the basis of ‘kill or be killed’, on the survival of the fittest. Humanity, in its early development, followed the same pattern but gradually, with revelation, religion and culture, discovered the value of compassion, of love, of living together and forging a common future on this lonely small planet Earth, one of the millions of other exoplanets in this universe.
In case of conflict, we can strive for restorative justice: strive for reconciliation, forgiveness, non-violence, and moral growth, instead of retribution and punishment.
Both Rights and Obligations
Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or other condition. Indeed, human beings are all of the same species. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination.
With rights come obligations. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. At the individual level, while each person is fully entitled to his or her human rights, we equally have the duty to respect the human rights of others.
Are there any peaceful solutions for Palestine/Israel?
1. Complete withdrawal of massive arms stockage and aiming from both Israel and HAMAS. Then, in parallel, the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinians from Israeli jails.
2. The 2 parties to meet across a discussion table (organized by the UN and/or the Arab League, European Union and the SG of UN) to find peaceful solutions.
3. For humans to live in peace, we need access to basic human resources, namely land and shelter, food, fresh water, freedom of movement, navigation and communication (rivers and seas, roads and air travel, internet etc) as well as governance structures and services of education, health, industry and commerce, agriculture, media.
4. Thus, a sensible, workable solution to the Israel/Palestine problem is a 2-state solution based on fair sharing of these basic natural resources, which would enable both to do what Israel does very well today, namely exploit the environment for comfortable, sustainable human life, thus removing one of the major causes of conflict namely access to resources. Recalling that Gaza is one of the most densely populated land areas in the world, with limited access to fresh water, cultivable land, to habitat and above all free access and movement, which practically all citizens of the world today have.
This new Road-Map, which I would call an Ecological RM is based of course on Israel as it is now (in no way any threat to its existence and livelihood), but provides land, water, access etc to the new Palestine state so that BOTH states will have the resources to develop, produce and live in peace.
DR MICHAEL ATCHIA
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