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Peace is better than war

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, yesterday. A series of airstrikes killed seven aid workers from the international charity, leading it to suspend delivery of vital food aid to Gaza (Photograph by Ismael Abu Dayyah/AP)

The Israeli conflict in Gaza and East Jerusalem has highlighted racism in ways that have universalised the idea of apartheid at one time thought to be attributable only to South Africa and places such as Namibia.

The paradox is that Israel became a state owing to what was considered a prejudice against them, which was brought to a head by Nazi Germany. The world that was enraged by the attacks by Hamas on November 7 has now become more enraged by the scorched-earth, retaliatory actions of Israel, leaving Gaza virtually annihilated and uninhabitable.

The phrase “50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong” is certainly applicable here — not only are the French but so too is just about every recognised nation of the opinion that the occupation of Gaza and East Jerusalem by Israel is illegal, and that annexation by force and denial of the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people must end immediately and unconditionally.

All, of course, except the United States of America, which before its belated acceptance that a ceasefire is needed had become complicit in the terror visited upon the Palestinian people.

The subject there is racism, bigotry and its limiting effects on growth, genuine peace and prosperity. Contrary to popular thought, the vast majority of Palestinians just want the security of having a home to raise their families. If peace was given a chance, the development of the Gaza and East Jerusalem potentially would bring prosperity to the entire region, including Israel. A free, independent and developed Palestine is far more advantageous to Israel than a Palestinian occupation under apartheid. Yet bigots with the notion of superiority believe only they can or have the human intelligence to bring civilisation, and do so even at the negation of others. We may refer to this as entitlement.

This is not only true of Israel, but everywhere. We have one humanity, and life is meant to be an experience. However, most people limit their potential to grow humanly when they limit their exposure to people other than their race or ethnicity. Having an identity is important, but when it becomes the sole operational force in their life, it can be problematic. The inability to see or think outside of one’s own cultural, racial or ethnic arena is a form of narcissism. To be dismissive of opinion and thought purely on the basis it came from another leads to mental poverty.

Leaders, in particular, are dangerous creatures when they combine their prejudice with power. Binyamin Netanyahu is a prime example of bias combined with power; this time and in this case with the use of the most powerful and effective weaponry available on Earth. History is replete with lessons of those with hatred towards others armed with weapons. Any form of power combined with prejudice is dangerous. If no other people, the Jews of Europe know this too well.

Political power in the hands of the wrong person is dangerous. Whether it is a racial or religious bigot or a degenerate, their association with power usually ends wrong. No country or people are spared that risk, and it is the reason why systemic measures must insist on transparency and accountability. Any leader who exercises absolute power tends to be absolutely corrupt.

Democracy is not perfect, but it is the only instrument and vehicle that protects society from dictatorship.

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Published April 03, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated April 03, 2024 at 7:16 am)

Peace is better than war

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