West must help Israelis and Palestinians escape the cycle of violence – Scotsman comment

Prolonged conflicts can entrench a cycle of hatred and violence

Iran’s thwarted missile attack on Israel could be viewed as the creation of a second front in the global conflict between the “CRINKs” – China, Russia, Iran and North Korea – and the world’s democracies. When it’s not firing missiles at Israel, the Tehran regime is helping to provide Vladimir Putin with the means to level residential areas in Ukraine.

So the West and its allies – for all the growing isolationism of Trumpian Republicans – have an unavoidable interest in trying to calm things down and also convincing the world that democracy, despite flaws in its application, is always preferable to tyranny.

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Foreign Secretary David Cameron pointed out that Iran fired 110 ballistic missiles and 43 Cruise missiles, as well as drones, in a “very significant attack” on Israel. It’s hard for many in the West to imagine what living with the threat of such attacks over decades must be like for people there and the effect it might have on their psyche. Similarly, people in Gaza have experienced deadly Israeli military incursions in the past and the current horrifying war has claimed tens of thousands of civilian lives, causing grief to countless more.

Shemaa Abdullah, a 17-year-old refugee from the civil war in Syria, where Russia plays its murderous part, who is now pursuing her dream to become a dentist in Dundee, told The Scotsman that when she arrived in Britain her seven-year-old sister had never known peace and couldn’t believe there was a place “where there are no bombs and no explosions”. Abdullah added: “She was so surprised, and I just felt the same as well. I said, ‘actually I’ve lived in the war since I was ten’. The amount of stress that puts on us, the amount of danger on every single person...”

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Where war is a constant, the cycle of hatred and violence can seem inescapable. While the West may lack understanding of their situation, many Israelis and Palestinians would welcome an outsider perspective that offers hope of peace, in contrast to the malign influence of the CRINKs, and a much more concerted effort to achieve it.



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