An Israel flag in Jerusalem.
Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash
Israel has a right to live in peace as do the Palestinian people
October 12, 2023
Supporting the legitimate concerns for the long-term security of the Palestinian people does not translate into support for the horrific actions taken by the terrorist group known as Hamas.
A two-state solution making neighbors of Israel and a Palestinian state is the best long-term solution. There may be many legitimate fears on both sides of this geographic and historical debate. However, efforts to achieve this political and diplomatic solution should continue. There are millions of Jewish people in Israel and around the world who embrace the legitimate concerns of the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.
Meanwhile, what cannot occur without worldwide condemnation is the slaughter of hundreds of young people at a music festival, the kidnapping and hostage taking of elderly women and infant children, the beheading of civilians including babies, the raping of women on the streets in full public view, families burned alive in their homes and shot as they rushed out to escape the flames, and the stomachs of pregnant women being cut open and their fetuses ripped out.
What happened in Israel last Saturday and continues to this moment is an inhumane, unjustifiable, and atrocious terrorist attack that must be condemned by all people of good will.
As a result of the surprise attack by Hamas, the prospects for a two-state solution have been damaged. The reprisals by Israel in response to the horrific terrorist attack on their cities will result in the death of a great many innocent Palestinians who have nothing to do with Hamas. The potential now exists for an expanded war reaching north near Lebanon, south near Egypt, and west near Jordan. All of that must be laid at the feet of Hamas.
The objective of Hamas is not a peace treaty and a two-state solution between Israel and a Palestinian state. The objective of Hamas is the total obliteration of the state of Israel from the face of the earth. Israel has a right to live in peace as do the Palestinian people. The path to that peace cannot include a group like Hamas that seeks the annihilation of an entire country.
Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been and continue to be deprived of the quality of life that we desire for ourselves. Some in the Israeli government have exacerbated the problem by continuing to build Jewish settlements in areas that had been reserved for Palestinians. Confining 2.5 million Palestinian people in Gaza City has caused some people to refer to that area as “an open-air prison.” All of these are legitimate concerns that demand a just solution that respects the safety and security of both the Palestinian people and the state of Israel.
However, what happened in Israel last Saturday and continues to this moment must be viewed through an entirely different lens. It is an inhumane, unjustifiable, and atrocious terrorist attack that must be condemned by all people of good will. When our country experienced a terrorist attack on 9/11, we welcomed the support and the condolences of people from around the world. We owe nothing less to Israel at this moment.
Dr. Marvin A. McMickle is interim executive minister, Cleveland Baptist Association, American Baptist Churches, USA. He served as president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, New York, from 2011 to 2019.