21 January 2009
The roots of this conflict are many and varied but include the very circumstances of the establishment of the state of Israel in 1947, the 1967 military annexation by Israel of areas outside the UN determined boundaries of the state - East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank - the terror attacks by Palestinian resistance groups such as Hamas and the economic blockade of Gaza initiated in response to continued rocket attacks from Gaza.
Whilst the recent Israeli action has been widely condemned as being excessive and counterproductive, there is no solution in sight to this seemingly intractable problem.
Nevertheless some things seem clear, one of them being that the way of non-violence (often derided as impractical and unrealistic) offers a far better chance of securing a lasting peace than engagement in a never ending cycle of violence.
This is among the points raised by American peace activist and Jesuit priest Fr John Dear writing recently in the National Catholic Reporter.