Israel and the Palestinians have been at each other's throats for what seems like an eternity. Peace between the two people groups has been unattainable and today they are as distant from a peace agreement as at any time in their violent history. Both sides are antagonistic toward each other and consistent retaliation seems to be their only common ground.
Of course each are equally to blame for the continuing animosity towards each other. As in any disagreement, both sides present what they feel are valid arguments for the death, destruction and violence they continue to perpetuate on each other. If history has taught us one thing, an eye for and eye simply leaves both combatants blind in the end.
For their part, the Israelis continue to elect folks like Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu to lead their nation knowing full well these leaders only offer a hard line in handling the Palestinian Authority. Benjamin Netanyahu in particular has a reputation of brutality when dealing with the Palestinians who he considers as nothing more than terrorists. He supported the building of “The wall" closing off the Palestinians from Israel. He supported the bulldozing of private Palestinians’ homes located near to the wall. He supports the arbitrary bulldozing of all the private homes of Palestinians located anywhere near a suspected missile attack launch area. Netanyahu supports the wholesale bombings of residential areas where missile attacks are launched by Palestinians hiding among innocent women and children. In his effort to protect Israelis from attacks he has enraged the Palestinian civilians who have often been innocently caught up in the violence through no fault of their own.
The Palestinians in turn have elected a mostly Hamas government knowing full well that Israel would never negotiate with a group which has initiated what the Israelis consider to be "Terrorist" attacks on their people in the past and who the Israelis believe are conducting current terrorist attacks against Israel. Recently the Palestinian Authority announced they were attempting to form a "New unity government" between Hamas and the Fatah. This move on the part of the Palestinian Authority is being seen as an effort to make the possibility for peace negotiations more acceptable to the Israelis. The problem is that the Israelis will probably never negotiate for peace in good faith with the Palestinians while Hamas is still in power to any extent.
So the peace process quagmires in a stalemate, nothing changes, both Israelis and Palestinians die in attacks/retaliations. I say that a new approach needs to be implemented by new leaders on both sides. If the Israelis were to forever abandon the disputed Gaza Strip, turn it back over to the Palestinians, forever ban the building of Jewish settlements there and turn over the existing housing to the Palestinians, this would be a good start for a real peace process.
Page 2 of 2 - This should be followed up by Israel building new housing for all the Palestinian civilians whom lost their homes during the wall construction. Instead of continued bombing, Israel should begin rebuilding the Palestinian homes destroyed in past violent confrontations between their two nations. Israel should help rebuild the shops and businesses destroyed or closed down by the wall / destroyed by Israel. The Israelis should invest in Palestinians building a self sustaining economy. Give the Palestinians hope, give them self respect and obtain a lasting peace through a genuine positive partnership for success. Finally tear down that wall separating their two nations after peaceful cooperation becomes a reality. By implementing this new direction for peace, Hamas would lose its very purpose for existing and disappear as a political force in Palestinian government. Peace gained through non-violence by visionary leaders is the only hope in my opinion for the Israelis and the Palestinians.