Today marks the passing of a great man, Prof. Edward Said. He was a Palestinian-American writer, a concert pianist, and an outspoken critic of Both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He once even criticized Arafat and had his books banned from Palestinian bookstores. Oxford-educated, he wasn't just a Rhetoric-spiller--his arguments were soundly rooted in the Western intellectual tradition. Pay your respects and maybe read about him @ here at Electronic Intifadah. Personally, my thoughts are with his loved ones and the millions of people in that part of the world (both sides have a right to exist!).
Hopefully, the new generation of Israelis and Palestinians will be committed to living in harmony, even if their leadership is armed to the teeth and craving conflict for their own reasons. One example of freedom and hope triumphing over terror is the 27 Israeli pilots (9 active, the rest retired or reserve) who refused to conduct the "precision strikes" over the Palestinian territories. This brave act will send a message to the Palestinians that not all Israelis are the "enemy". Some of them are tired of the fighting and are willing to make concessions to the oppressed Palestinian population. Likewise, maybe a few Palestinians will come forward and refuse to participate in the suicide bombings (I suppose Hisbollah et al. would have something harsh to say to them, maybe kill their families, I don't know...).
Israel may have to demolish this wall they're building. It violates the 4th Geneva convention (Article 53) because it is forcing the evacuation of many Palestinian families from their homes. Also, it won't exactly foster a sense of security for either side (have you ever seen how people act when they're "caged in"? They won't cease to strike back--it will only galvanize their sense of anger and probably encourage more attacks. Imposing punishment on a people will always swell the ranks of whichever Resistance Movement (or Terror Organization, depending on your opinion of Islamic Jihad & Hamas) claims to defend their interests.
To move a thousand kilometers or so east, Iraq is proving to be a violent, chaotic place for the American/British occupation. The shooting of Akila al-Hashemi (she passed away yesterday) marks a serious development in the battle to control Iraq. It means that the people responsible will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. It also means that the Americans should transfer power to a United Nations team and get their tanks out of there, ASAP. Polls conducted have shown mixed results and the Western media are spinning it to whichever direction they prefer (for example). Even though most Iraqis believe that Saddam was a despot who had to be removed, they also feel that for the time being, their situation is more desparate than when Saddam was in power. They do have optimism for the future (the majority believe things will be better in 5 years in Iraq) but it is tempered by the constant presence of American/British troops, the lack of access to basic needs like water and electricity, and the fear of attacks (from their fellow citizens and from the Occupying forces).
Every person on the planet should be allowed to live in peace and liberty. Any country, "terrorist organization", multinational, or individual who inhibits peace in the world is responsible for Terror, no matter whose dictionary you have in your bookshelf. Tell me the difference between the impact crater of a Cruise missile or that of a suicide bomb--they both kill people, they are both set off for the wrong reasons, and they both incite anger and fear in our hearts. In other words, let's put our guns down and use our mouths to speak. Speaking never kills but it does sometimes illuminate the truth.