Thursday, 22 November 2012

Credit to Egypt's Morsi for brokering peace

Credit where credit's due. In a short six months, Egypt's Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, has emerged as a statesman of international significance, most recently helping to broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel following a week of aerial hostilities during which there were deaths on both sides. Morsi was declared the winner of Egypt's first presidential elections in mid-June. His decision to act as a man of peace must be widely welcomed and Morsi must be credit given for doing so. The ceasefire involved many regional actors, as well as the United States, and serves to curtail aggression that threatened to spiral out of control leading to a reenactment of the three-week Gaza War of 2008-09.

Hostilities between Hamas and Israel poison the relations between countries internationally.

When the current hostilities opened I felt disgust and regret, and promised myself that I would pay no attention. If the Israelis think that it's OK to perform extra-judicial killings using US-sourced technology, I said to myself, then they deserve everything they get. And if the Palestinians think it's fine to commit suicide by sending rockets over the border from Gaza into Israel, I thought, then they deserve whatever the Israelis throw at them. In these situations the innocent suffer and on both sides the traumatised young again are left to grow up full of hate.

There are so many people involved and the mutual distrust and hatred runs so deep. When I think of the web of interactions that work on relations between the Palestinians and the Israelis I think of a huge machine. It's as if there is a machine that is operating globally but that brings its force to play in one, small corner of the world, along the borders between Palestinian territories and Israel. As in any functioning machine there is also a feedback mechanism that relays outcomes of events at those pressure points to the farthest reaches of the globe. The message from the world must be that killing is not the solution, and in regional actors like Mohamed Morsi we at last have a credible peacemaker willing to put his reputation on the line to further the message of compassion. In men like Morsi we see a reliable conduit for the wishes of the virtuous of the world.

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