|You are in: Talking Point|
Monday, 20 August, 2001, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Can the cycle of violence be stopped?
A powerful explosion in a restaurant near the Israeli coastal town of Haifa has left one person dead and injured up to 20 others.
The explosion on the outskirts of Haifa comes three days after another suicide bombing at a Jerusalem restaurant that killed 15 people.
The Israeli Government responded to that attack with air strikes on Palestinian targets and by seizing the unofficial Palestinian headquarters in Jerusalem, Orient House.
Can this cycle of violence be stopped?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Sara Solomon, United States
A nation of people who have lost everything - including their land, identity and basic human rights - know that they cannot lose any further. Such a life is worse than death. No doubt why so many Palestinians are willing to face Israel's bullets, tanks and sharpshooters. Unless a concerted effort is made to restore the rights taken away from this nation, the UNO and the world leaders stand to face the blame of being hypocrites. I would have liked to believe that Jews, of all the people, would be against any kind of persecution - but seems even history has short memory. And now persecuted have turned persecutors.
This cycle will not end till Israel is driven out of the area. The Palestinians and Israelis will come to an agreement and then it will be broken. No other country is doing anything about it. The West is with Israel and the East is with Palestine.
Religion is the root cause of these troubles. People should be asking themselves how to peacefully integrate and why in the name of religion they are fighting.
I think Jerusalem should be made an independent state rather like Monaco. People entitled to call themselves natives should be those who lived there prior to the setting up of the State of Israel and their offspring together with those who currently live there. This, at least, should stop part of the fighting since it could then belong to neither side.
Ed Sasson is wrong to say that Arafat is responsible for the failure of Camp David. According to Robert Malley, a member of the US negotiating team at Camp David, Barak and Clinton used the negotiations to set a trap for the Palestinians. The talks were "designed to increase the pressure on the Palestinians to reach a quick agreement while heightening the political and symbolic costs if they did not". This was done even though Barak had not implemented previous promises made by Israel to clear illegal settlements and give the Palestinians a State under the Oslo accords.
Clinton promised both Barak and Arafat that no blame would be apportioned to either side but true to form, he then pointed the finger at Arafat in front of the cameras. This is a general pattern with Israel: it breaks promises it makes and then blames Arafat for them. Israel blamed Arafat even while it was invading Lebanon in 1982. Israel should be careful. Without Arafat, do they think they will be able to negotiate with Hamas or Islamic Jihad?
Jeff Garner, USA
Israel's feet-dragging over the implementation of the Oslo accords and numerous UN resolutions respectively is the prime reason for the violence we see. Why is Iraq continuously bombed and starved for not complying with UN resolutions (Israel doesn't) and "developing weapons of mass destruction" (Israel possesses nuclear weapons)? Oh, sorry, Israel is a strategic ally of the West. Double standards anyone?
It's obvious from reading the comments that there are people who will blindly support and rationalize the wrong and immoral actions of whichever group with whom they identify. There will only be peace when enough people on both sides refuse to accept violence as a solution and admit they both have made mistakes. Peace is not simply a goal - it is also the means to that end. To get peace you have to act peacefully and honestly.
It's too bad that 53 years ago the Arab people were unable or unwilling to accept the Jewish settlers returning to their homeland. With all the economic advances in Israel the Palestinian people would have been much better off today had they been integrated into the Israeli state.
They have just to learn that they have to live along with each other. The solution is to have a government that represents both the Arabs and the Israeli like many other countries with different ethnicity. We have to face it that there are both Arabs and Israelis and we cannot say to any of them go away
It's clear to me that the biggest hurdle in the whole peace process is the fact that the Palestinians are split into so many factions and there is no one group to have peace talks with. Arafat can't control any of them, he is just a figurehead, Hamas and Islamic Jihad both pay him no mind. They need to become a real nation with the people actually united and willing to follow someone's lead before any peace negotiations can go anywhere.
The only honest Arab point of view openly proclaims a war against Israel. There is no cycle of violence, other than the endless attacks that never needed "justifications". This website records a history of bomb attacks against Israel. From 1994 till 1998, there are fifteen dates, all during the height of the so-called "peace process". What acts of "provocation" or "retaliation" did Israel commit to allow its enemies to justify their murderous attacks? None.
Israel gave up control of territory and the ability to act against its enemies. In return, the enemies continue to attack and to blame the victim for fighting back. There can be no hope for peace as long as the world confuses "aggression and defence" with "a cycle of violence". This confusion is a key element in the propaganda war being waged against Israel.
If you think that this battle in Palestine is about religion, then think again. This is about a nation that is battling to obtain fundamental human rights. We have seen what happens when you deny people what is naturally theirs. Remember the apartheid regime that caused so much pain in South Africa. Please look at the parallels that are occurring in Palestine today. Can this cycle of violence be stopped? Yes! Absolutely! But only when we learn to recognise and overcome our own prejudices.
As long as the settlements remain in the West Bank and Gaza and their highways criss-crossing the Palestinian territories, Israelis can only dream of security and peace. Settlers will always be a fair game and will always be targeted by the Palestinians. Peace or no peace, the settlers and their settlements must go, if there's any chance for peace.
Calling for peace now is like putting a golden crown on an abscessed tooth. And since the rotting and decay is kept in the Palestinian areas this will suffice for Israel. Israel's idea of peace is to keep Palestinians poor and economically reliant on Israel. Israel has never tried to improve the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, and never have they treated Palestinians as equal human beings. Since before the formation of Israel it has been the stated policy of the Zionist movement to clear the area of its Arab inhabitants. They were so efficient in doing so that the generals felt sorry for their own soldiers for having to commit such brutal acts.
In doing so Israel turned a peaceful Palestinian population of farmers into a population of resistance filled with hate. If Israel wants to know were the suicide bombers were reared they only have to look in the mirror. The Palestinian resistance "violence" must continue until the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine is ended. Why should the thief be allowed to sleep comfortably on the bed he has stolen and in the house he has stolen, while the rightful owner is sleeping in the street?
Israel is condemned for acting in self-
defence while innocent people are blown up on a daily basis.
What kind of arrogance, smugness and
ignorance is being displayed by all those
constantly blaming Israel for the violence?
There would be no cycle of violence if
Arafat was a man to talk peace to, if
there were no DAILY terror attacks in Israel,
if Arafat would stick to agreements and
seek a diplomatic answer. How much terror
does the world expect Israel to take?
How much would the world take?
Most people who write in these forums
have obviously never seen the aftermath
of a bomb. I hope for your sake it stays the
Violence will never end unless Israel stops the occupation of Palestinian land. When you have a people that have been living like animals for over 55 years, must have special licence plates to drive, special identification to walk, no flag, no passport, no country to call their own, no jobs, limited food and medical supplies, no freedom etc. What do you expect the Palestinians to do? Any logical person will fight on until their basic rights are preserved. This is the core of the Intifada "fighting for basic rights to live like everyone else in the world".
What is to be expected from Israel? How should they respond to the violence? Simply withdrawing from the West Bank and Gaza would only encourage Arab-Israelis to create their own Intifada. Should Israel simply bleed to death so as to appease the Palestinians? What concessions are the Palestinians willing to make, if any? What kind of peace is there to look forward to? The peace between Israel and Egypt, and with Israel and Jordan doesn't mean too much. Israelis cannot visit either country, and both countries spew anti-Israeli propaganda.
The only solution to the Middle East is to make the countries of the area economically tied to one another, so as to create a motivation against violent confrontations. However, I highly doubt that most of the Arab countries, whose population is mostly impoverished and poor, would like their people to focus on their own internal problems than the external ones of Israel. The same could be said of Israel as well. People would no longer have to be victims.
The violence can be stopped only if Israel stops annexing the West Bank and Gaza. The occupation should end. To build confidence, Israel should immediately lift the blockade of towns and villages so that Palestinian civilians can resume normal life. Talks between Israel and Palestinians should begin forthwith under the mediation of the United Nations to work out a peace agreement based on equality between the two peoples. All UN resolutions should be implemented and there should be an immediate cessation of hostilities between the two parties.
The trouble with an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is that everyone ends up blind and toothless. The violence will stop the day everyone involved realises the truth of these words. Or when everyone is dead. The choice is theirs on both sides.
Well said Bob Brown of Australia. I couldn't have put it better! Look at all the wars based on religion, Ireland (Catholics against Protestants), ex-Yugoslavia (exterminate the Muslims), WWII (exterminate all the Jews) Sri-Lanka and so on and so on. Religion seems to be the root of all evil. Politicians are next to religion - they only seem to make things worse.
I don't believe there will every be a solution in Israel during my lifetime!
Israel tells the Palestinians to collaborate in the fight against terrorism and to hold the extremists at bay etc. All Israel does meanwhile is destroy Palestinian police headquarters and so on. How do they expect the Palestinian authorities to do anything??
Let me point out an interesting dichotomy. Israel has been using the media for many years to promote peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs. A simple glance at Israeli programming proves that. On the other hand, official Palestinian television encourages children to become martyrs and kill Jews on a daily basis. How can we then speak of Israel and the Palestinians at the same level?
I am in total rejection of any talk of peace without the stopping of violence from the Palestinians! Let them stop the suicide bombers then the Israelis can talk to them. That is the bone of contention - security for both peoples. I say with no reserve whatever. If the Palestinians want to play hard then the Israelis should play hard. Who doesn't want peace? We all do, but not when one sparks fire and calls the fireman who is trying to put out the fire an arsonist.
You may think I am a Zionist but I am far from that. The world is being hoodwinked to blame the Israelis. But haven't the Israelis stretched and overstretched way back to great limits and made very brave concessions? Come on U.N who is the real aggressor? Arafat is powerless to stop his people. The only reason he is still living is because nobody wants to think of a Saddam taking hold of power in the Middle East!
Ibrahim, London, UK
It seems insidious that a protagonist of the current wave of violence, Mr. Sharon, is now voted Prime Minister; that Israeli strikes at Palestinians who MAY undertake terrorist acts are viewed by Israeli politicians as legitimate at the same time as they berate Palestinian attacks. Can the cycle of violence be stopped? Only when moderate politicians on both side carry the majority of their people with them and terrorist acts are seen for what they are acts of war by both parties on each other.
Peace cannot be achieved in the Middle East for the simple reason that Israel occupied Palestine, forcing Palestinians to seek refuge. They are carrying out an assassination policy against Palestinians. How can Sharon ask Arafat to stop his "terrorist" attacks, when he, himself, has begun an assassination policy. To me, what Sharon is doing is worst, because he's a hypocrite; he says one thing and does another.
That land belongs to Palestinians and anyone who says that they should give up fighting for their land has no idea what it means to love one's country. Most Palestinians can only defend themselves again the bullets with stones. To ask them not to retaliate is absurd, because we have seen Israel retaliate repeatedly.
Neither side wants peace because neither has stopped the violence. Palestinians want their land back, and Israelis have nowhere else to go. Therefore, it's a deadlock, with little hope.
The violence will stop when Arafat is held accountable for the war he started last year, and when the world forces him to stick to the agreements he signed yet consistently breaks.
The cycle of violence probably cannot be stopped. It continues in the Balkans, in Ireland, in Rwanda and Burundi, in Afghanistan, and in dozens of other places. There is no hope of peace in Israel, and those who wave olive branches are wasting their energy. These two peoples hate each other deeply, and will not be happy unless they are creating pain and suffering in each other's camps. Killing one's enemies brings a certain satisfaction to embattled people, and both camps feel embattled.
There can never be peace between Israel and the Palestinians unless the fundamental issues of Jerusalem is resolved. The failure by either party to acknowledge the right to exist of the other, will forever, negate any peace accord or treaty. It is pitiful that the Israelis and the Palestinians see it fit to destroy the lives of their children and their children with irrational hatred, and saddle generations to come with the misery that they and their forefathers have had to bear. All for no other reason than blind religious intolerance.
This must be one of the saddest episodes of human history. Israelis and Palestinians, how shameful is it to have history record your futile and callous attempts at annihilating one another. Surely, Jehovah or Allah never meant for his followers to bring such disgrace to his name.
This is a reply to Mr M M Zaman and his lovely stories - instead of complaining about Israel reaction why don't you ask the PLA leadership to stick to political negotiation without supporting terrorism at the same time. Without terror Israel will not have to exercise its military power and you could refer to the discussions in Camp David where your beloved chairman made up his mind not to decide and ever since he has been hiding behind terror and incitement. The blame is on your own people who choose the route of a physical fight rather than political negotiations.
If you think that one-sided terrorism is justified than think again - Israel has the power and will use that power in order to secure its safety and the big looser will be the Palestinians.
Mark Morris, USA
What is behind a suicide bomber, I wonder? Well, I gather that they tend to be males under 30 with no wives and children. The sort of people who are vulnerable perhaps. They have not experienced the joys of life and perhaps are unhappy. They are heavily pressurised into "doing the honourable thing" and are driven there by car, perhaps by their mentors. They are Palestinians, brought up to hate Israel, and dumped in the middle of Israel with a bomb. Well what choice do they have at that point? By then I expect it is too late. The simplest way out for them is to pull the cord that ends it all.
Once they realise this, perhaps they will have more options.
In response to the letter from Jack USA about Britain's response to mortar attacks. Well, we've been bombed before by the IRA, but you don't see us occupying the Republic of Ireland, bulldozing Catholic houses in Ulster, using air strikes against Sinn Fein or assassinating Sinn Fein/IRA leaders. Please don't try to characterise the rest of the world according to what Israel (or its sugar-daddy, the US) would do.
Ian Richards, UK
The "cycle of violence" will cease when the world forces Arafat to cease his war. When the aggressors stop their attacks, those defending themselves need not retaliate. WWII stopped when Germany and Japan surrendered. This war will stop when Arafat is too forced to do the same.
The violence will never end until religion is recognised as a dangerous mental disease and those who attempt to inflict this horror on children should be prosecuted with the same fervour decent societies prosecute any person deliberately spreading a physical disease. Religion is Aids of the mind, horrible in the misery it causes.
In short there is no law, in its civilised meaning, behind the Green Line, and the law and the accountability of the Palestinian government is the only prerequisite for peace.
Kirill Gokhberg, Israel
What a lot of people don't realise when they say that Israel has to get out of "the territories" is the small size of Israel. If you were to take all of Israel you could lay it between Lands End and Dover almost exactly. Now take a big bite the size of Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Berkshire out of the middle. That's the size of "the territories".
Israel expects that the Palestinians accept without resistance the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, whilst Israel itself is in breach of the Geneva Convention in settling the occupied territories and defies all U.N resolutions which it dislikes. As long as this continues, there is not much hope for peace
The last suicide bombing is nothing but a retaliation to the recent Israeli assassinations of political Palestinian figures. If Israel wants to break the cycle, it could. The problem is Sharon is too far involved to stop it. The issue of 'when' remains the most crucial but remains bleak in the foreseeable future.
Raghda Azizieh, Jordan
I can only repeat words of Former Prime Minister Golda Meir: "We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than hate us".
The terrorists who kill innocents in Jerusalem are the made of the same cowardly stuff as the IRA murderers here in the UK. They murder innocent and defenceless people in order to perpetuate a circle of violence and further their aims of destruction. No country can allow itself to give in to terrorism, only dialogue can solve problems and dialogue can only happen after the thugs have been contained by their own people, who should be decrying and denouncing them.
J. Williams, USA
The cycle of violence will not cease with the current attitude of Ariel Sharon. With each passing day, his policies are deepening the hatred of the two peoples against one another. The proposals put forward by the Mitchell report need to be fully implemented by both sides. I don't think this situation will be resolved any time soon. Both sides have growing support for hard-line groups and this will only make things worse. I would also like to express my deepest sympathies to all the innocent victims of this terrible conflict - both Palestinian and Israeli.
How can Israel tolerate watching innocent men, women and children being
murdered just because the Arab nations do not agree with Israeli government policies? The UK does not tolerate the IRA's acts of violence. Why should Israel tolerate Hamas? There is NEVER any excuse that can justify killing innocent civilians.
George M. Jee, Malaysia
Palestinians should follow the Mahatma Gandhi's principle of peaceful resistance rather than the violent means they follow. Unfortunately, violence creates more violence, which will never end for a long time.
The solution to this has been alluded to in one of the earlier emails - American resolve. Instead of words, the US should cut off its donor aid to Israel, which strangely exceeds all the donor aid given by the US to Africa. Since violence requires weapons and fuel to perpetuate it, then denying the stronger side weapons will rapidly put a brake on matters. However the only people losing out in this struggle are Israelis and Palestinians, and the US military machine gets fatter on the proceeds of arms and keeps consuming more cheap oil from the pathetic Arab regimes. Hey, but what the heck, the US economy is booming! God bless America.
Israel should now kick out the Palestinian Authority once and for all. Enough with trying to satisfy the rest of the world. Kick out the PA and make real security borders away from the 1967 borders so that the Palestinians can't strike at Israeli cities.
Wasn't it the UK who refused to talk to terrorists? How the legitimate government can be expected to talk to the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad when the official aim of both is the destruction of the State of Israel? As long as those organisations act freely in Arafat's territory, as long as he refuses to announce a zero tolerance policy towards them, as long as hate-schools exist in Palestine, he - Arafat - is responsible for the killings. Israel should retaliate and give a direct signal to all the Palestinians, that the state is not prepared to talk to those who endorse the bomb attacks.
Yes, these cycles will be stopped when people start thinking and stop following somebody or some book blindly.
The Israelis have full right to protect their citizens. They have full right to target terrorists even without a trial - in such a war there is no time for trials - "he who arises to kill you, kill him first". The only way out is for Israel to take a hard line and stand up for itself. We saw that after the six-day war all the Arab countries lay still. The world should realise that all Israel wants is a country to live in and that includes all of Israel which was given to us by g-d. The Arabs must know that, if they continue, hard retaliation will follow and the Israeli government should do exactly that and not with some pathetic response. That is the only way for peace!
The only way left for a lasting peace in Middle East is total and complete withdrawal of Israelis from the area occupied since the 1967 war. No Muslim and Arab country can accept peace till that happens. Meanwhile the Israelis, having all the weapons in the world, could go on slaughtering the Palestinians in retaliation. This will lead to even bigger tragedies, for Palestinians have nothing more to lose except their lives. I believe many people in Israel oppose what Sharon's Government is doing to Palestinians. I don't see any hope for peace till a bigger tragedy brings some sense to the current administration in Washington to actively push for a lasting settlement.
S. A. Joseph, UK
As long as Palestinians have access to Israel there will be a very few who will successfully carry out acts of suicide/terror.
It's a nightmare that's impossible to prevent without denying all Palestinians access to Israel. Somehow I think that might be seriously considered right now.
There are groups on both sides of this conflict that hold extreme views that cannot be a part of any compromise. And these groups (I believe they are minorities) have power and influence. The Palestinian extremists demand the "Jews be pushed into the sea." The Ultra-Orthodox Jews believe the whole of Palestine must be united under Jewish rule in preparation for their Messiah, hence the settlements. Religious conviction can't be rationalised away. I am afraid this cycle of violence will continue until both Israelis and Palestinians find themselves exhausted, afraid, and tired of life. Only then will these peoples be ready to make the painful compromises necessary for a lasting peace.
I grow tired of seeing Israelis killing Palestinians, then Palestinians retaliating. It's obvious that these two sides will never reach an understanding. Their leaders should either call its quits or settle this with war once and for all. Stop beating around bush!
While every right thinking person will deplore terrorist bombing, it must be understood that the Palestinians feel an overwhelming sense of frustration at the total lack of progress towards a just settlement. The West, and particularly the US, base their responses on the voting power of the eloquent Jewish lobby, rather than an equitable solution, and violence seems inevitable. Arafat's position is precarious and any sensible negotiator would realise that he has to deliver something to his 'constituents'.
It's simple and easy...hate produces hate and attacks produce revenge and the cycle goes on. Sharon is looking for unrealistic goals, his policy of a complete stop to violence before negotiation won't get him anywhere. If he thinks that security can be achieved but destroying homes and confining people, he's wrong and his "security plan" is obviously not working.
David Hamer, Wales
I don't understand how any sane, free-thinking individual can possibly characterise a suicide bombing as "resistance" or "protest". Call a spade a spade: these acts are mass murder, and there is no excuse for them -- whatsoever.
Yes, cycles can be broken. We are human beings and can say enough is enough. Politics and not force can break this cycle.
The first ingredient for resistance is occupation. Israel has had 50 years in which to work for peace but on her half century elected a leader promising more land and delivering only blood from both sides.
We have seen many fingers pointing to the Palestinians for the cause of the violence. However, the cycle of violence is evidently caused by Sharon's use of excessive military force. How can violence be stopped if it is being instigated on bigger terms through the use of helicopters and tanks against the Palestinian people and their children?
The cycles of violence can be stopped. Both Palestinians and Israelis need impartial observers to verify instigators of violence after a period of calm. Unfortunately, the blood thirsty radicals on both sides; Ariel Sharon on Israelis side and Hamas + Islamic Jihad on the other, are reluctant to see peace in the region. "Dogs of war", tearing each other's apart.
Dallia Abdel-Moniem, Egypt
I lived in Jerusalem for 6 months 12 yrs ago, and often went about my business in the very area the bomb went off today. The Palestinian terrorists are targeting Israeli civilians, which is clearly wrong, but they must feel that since so many Palestinian civilians have been killed, it is their only answer. The Israeli response in all this has been nothing but provocative and incendiary. Sharon has no interest in making peace, never has had and never will have.
The Palestinians must realise that the world doesn't look kindly on terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. If the Palestinians really want to win concessions, they should protest peacefully in front of the TV cameras. Then, when the Israeli army does what it does best and murders unarmed Palestinians, the tide of opinion may swing back their way.
Faraj Al Mahdi, UK
09 Aug 01 | Middle East
Suicide bomb causes carnage in Jerusalem
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Other Talking Points:
Links to more Talking Point stories
|^^ Back to top
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education | Entertainment | Talking Point | In Depth | AudioVideo
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy