Stop Gaza massacre

Zambia must add its voice to the growing chorus of nations seeking an end to the violent conflict in the Gaza strip.

The killing of innocent children and women in the Gaza strip is an affront to common humanity which must seek an end to it. Failure to do will be legitimizing extremism and the attendant instability that this will bring to the entire region and the world at large.

There should be no doubt that  young Palestinians are  not only being traumatized but are actually being radicalized and will serve to perpetuate the conflict for as long as the underlying causes of the problem are not resolved.

It is clear that there is no comparison between the highly technical, sophisticated and precision arms being used by the Israel Defense Force compared to the rudimentary rockets being fired by Hamas militants. One thing is however certain, Hamas militants are fighting for a cause that is deeply rooted in history and has to do with their identity and legitimate demand for a homeland.

At the moment the fight is one sided with Palestinians being killed by precision bombs that are destroying houses while the less sophisticated Palestinian rockets have not killed a single Israeli.  This is a  fight where might may be winning the battle but will never win the war that is imbedded in the minds of the Millions of  Palestinians whose land, they argue  has been  illegally occupied by the Israelis.

If anything the  more Palestinians are killed, the more determined and radicalized they become. Their fight will carry across millennia until and unless the injustice they have suffered is addressed.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned of a further escalation of activities with  Israeli land operation, which he said was imminent,  but that such action would only exacerbate an already difficult situation.

Meanwhile ever increasing waves of rocket attacks are striking Israel, with some fired from Lebanon and hitting northern towns. This escalation promises to elicit retaliation from Israel thus marking a broadening of the conflict, to draw in Lebanon.

The reality is that a solution to the Palestine issue lies in a negotiated settlement that should take account of the historical antecedents of the problem. This will not be easy for many reasons.

Many Palestinians reject the notion that thousands of years ago a Jewish nation existed in the land between the Jordan and the sea. They further refuse to accept that a Jewish Temple existed in Jerusalem. This is in spite of archeological evidence.

 Israeli Jews on the other hand also dismiss the reality of the Palestinian presence for centuries in the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. They claim sole ownership over Jerusalem. To make it worse they use biblical names of Judea and Samaria, to make the situation contemporary to the modern day.

The result is that the two parties are moving in parallel while retaining common features to suit their own narratives. That is why Jerusalem is at the centre of the conflict between the two peoples.

Rightly so also, the two groups feel victimized. The Jews victimized by the Holocaust which saw millions of them decimated in a pogrom that had nothing to do with the Palestinians while the Palestinians view the declaration of the Israeli State in 1948 as their major disaster as it resulted in thousands of them being expelled from territories they had occupied for centuries. They now ended up as refugees. Both sides have their roots in History and nothing less than equitable solution that meets the competing interests will solve the problem.

What is certain is that war will not solve the problem. The Israelis may pound and pulverize the Palestinians but that will not kill their aspirations, identity and quest for justice.