On Oct. 13, a cement tunnel was discovered leading from Gaza into Israel. The next day, a second tunnel was discovered, rigged with explosives. The tunnels are 1.7 km long and 18 meters deep so they could allegedly facilitate military travel. The 500 tons of concrete that were used to build these tunnels of terror were building materials delivered by the Israeli Defense Forces to help rebuild homes, schools and other civilian areas in Gaza.
This manipulation and misuse of humanitarian aid shows Hamas’s priorities quite clearly: they are more concerned with causing Israeli terror then putting roofs over the heads of Palestinians. This warped perspective of values is one of the main hindrances to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Living in Canada, where citizens can enjoy equal rights, it is possible to comfortably imagine two states for two people: an Israel where Arab citizens enjoy equal rights as Jewish citizens and a Palestine where Jewish citizens enjoy the same rights as Arab citizens. Fortunately, the first one exists. Israel is a democracy where Arab citizens vote, work and hold government positions, whereas the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization Mahmud Abbas has stated, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands,” he told the media back in July.
The responsibility of finding peace falls on both sides. As Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu stated at the UN, “You say it depends on me, that we promised peace [but are not delivering it],” he began. “But you also need the other side…It doesn’t only depend on the Israeli side,” he said in an Oct. 15 article for The Times of Israel. The Prime Minister is asking that the PLO acknowledge the existence of Israel.
Israel has made offers in the past. In 2000 Israel offered up Gaza and 97 per cent of the West bank as a potential Palestinian state in exchange for peace. In 2005, in an effort for peace, Israel removed over 8000 Jewish citizens from their homes in Gaza but this only increased rocket attacks. There has never been a compromise reached because many Palestinians deny the historical or legal right of Jews to live in Israel. In many songs and chants the line can be found, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” calling for the complete control of what is currently the Jewish state.
As a moral country, Israel is caught in an immoral situation: providing aid and support to civilians who need it, but delivering it to a government who calls for their annihilation. The tunnels discovered earlier this week tunnel through and destroy any hopes for peace in the near future. All Israel can do now is defend her borders and wait until the second state in the two state solution is ready to acknowledge the first.
Michelle Soicher is a Concordia Student and a CAMERA fellow. CAMERA is the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.