Will there be peace if Palestinians lay down their arms? | +972 Magazine:
by Marc Gopin and Abu Aziz Sarah
"The irony of Israel’s argument is that Hamas is using a similar concept. Hamas’ argument goes like this: The PLO’s recognition of Israel and renouncement of armed struggle has achieved nothing. The PLO has laid down its arms, and still there is no peace. Hamas argues that its violent 2012 confrontation with Israel was able to achieve more than PLO diplomacy and negotiations have achieved. The reason Hamas is able to gain support nowadays is Abbas’ failure to achieve peace with Israel through negotiations.
Palestinians find themselves today between a rock and hard place. They know they have no chance of winning with armed struggle. They also know that negotiations are unlikely to lead to an agreement (at least not with the current Israeli government). Even non-violent initiatives like the BDS movement and weekly village protests against the West Bank wall are quickly accused of being anti-Semitic. It is absurd that Palestinians are expected to ask Israel, “What form of protest should we stage that you find acceptable and not anti-Semitic?” Many Palestinians feel that the world is blind to their grievances and aspirations for freedom.
So, let’s set the record straight. Palestinians are not Nazis. Palestinians, like everyone else in the world, seek freedom, recognition of their national identity, and an end to the occupation. They long for peace and reconciliation, and are exhausted by this never-ending conflict and pain.
It is ridiculous for the world to expect millions of people in Gaza and the West Bank to happily and quietly live under occupation. While laying down arms is a positive step towards peace, it is not enough to end this conflict. There must be a clear vision that ends the occupation and guarantees security and freedom for all.
Marc Gopin is the James Laue Professor of World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University in Washington D.C. He is also the co-founder of MEJDI Tours."
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