Saturday, July 08, 2006

Iran Threatens To Retaliate if Israel Attacks Gaza, but the Muslim World Does Not Follow the Lead

When Gilad Shalit was taken prisoner by Hamas nearly two weeks ago, I was taken back to a post I wrote many months ago about the dangers facing the world today. However, in these very tumultuous times, I have always maintained that these dangers are the precursor to a better tomorrow. Perhaps we are seeing the first small signs of that better tomorrow today.

First off, the capture of an Israeli soldier, a teenager, is flat out wrong, and deserves the punishment that it incurs from the Israeli military.  I understand completely why Israel would target Gaza in retaliation. In many ways, it’s a matter of survival; if Israel allows a soldier to be captured like this, what happens next?  How far will Hamas go?  Israel must protect its soldiers and its youth, because that’s the only way to protect the country.

But I am not blind to how many of Palestine’s Muslim allies might view Israeli’s reaction to Shalit’s capture, including Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza. They see the thousands of Palestinians captured by the Israelis, thrown in jail with no hope of release, the youth and future of the Palestinian people rotting away in the Israeli jails. And yet the capture of one Israeli youth turns into a major offensive into Gaza.

But up until now, most of the Muslim nations have been the voice of calm, urging Hamas to return Shalit, and pushing for a resolution that will save face for Hamas while ending the crisis before it escalates.  They see the danger of a large-scale conflict in such tense times, and look to avoid it.  Those people who think that all Muslim nations are only out for war should take note of this.

The exceptions have been Iran and Syria, two countries whose alliance has strengthened in recent months, and who have been trying to widen the divide between West and Middle East while pushing their role as the leaders of the Muslim nations. And yet this whole incident has shown that the Middle East is unwilling to blindly follow these countries towards a conflict with the US and EU.

I have long spoken of the world being at a crossroads.  I believe there are great times ahead of us, times of great promise and hope, but that we can only arrive at these promises by working our way through the chaos of the crossroads.  These tumultuous times are a necessary step to achieving a brighter future; working through these times make us stronger as a society. Could we be seeing the light at the end of this long tunnel?

I pray for the peaceful return of Gilad Shalit, the victim in this whole incident.  I’m optimistic as I see that most Islamic countries pushing for a peaceful resolution to the present conflict. But most importantly I’m hopeful that this incident points to the beginning of the diminishment of at least one of the major conflicts we face today, the rift between West and Middle East.

technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted by Scottage at 1:43 AM / | |