Israel needs a Gandhi
Israel has been hogging all the world news channels for a long time now. The crisis at the Gaza strip (and lets not forget the West Bank) does not seem to be at a very promising position. There are many cases of violent reaction from either sides – often leading to very little or zero impact to the other. Why? Whats the point?
A little history would always help here. Israel was carved out by the British as a Jewish state right after the First World War. And since then, a large number of Jews have arrived from all corners of the world as part of the “exodus”. They have crammed themselves into a state that is half the size of Switzerland, but with twice the population density, clustering themselves into “settlements” that convert the unproductive swampy land into an agricultural heaven. And amazingly, within the 60 years of its existence, it has transformed itself into a technologically-advanced nation that ranks amongst the best in the Middle Eastern region in terms of human development and GDP.
But this massive influx of people also displaced its original habitants – now those who claim themselves as Palestinians. Whats important to note is that the presence of Israelis did have a positive impact on these Palestinians, since the new farming methods that have increased productivity (like drip irrigation, for instance) would have also helped them economically. Both groups would have mutually benefitted.
But clearly there was no intention of cooperation from the political class. Both sides considered each other as their enemy – while their cooperation with each other would have helped both sides in the long run. This whole war, along with the previous wars, was a result of misguided propaganda that will take many decades to correct.
But what about Non-Violence?
The whole premise of almost all the actions taken by both the sides is this – violence and oppression will ultimately achieve their goal. Looking at it plainly – it seems simple and easy to understand. But give me one example where such a step resulted in victory with no further repercussions in the future?
What Israel needs is a Gandhi – a great political leader who pioneered using non-violence as the ultimate weapon in removing British colonial rule from India. By this I mean two things – first, that Israel needs a great political leader, especially in these times, someone who is grounded, down-to-earth, and able to direct his countrymen to a greater cause. And secondly, Israel needs a political leader who believes in non-violence. Someone who is convinced that for the country’s ultimate growth in the long run, mutual cooperation sought out by non-violent means should be the country’s immediate goal.
The current Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, shows support for a roadmap for peace, but also gives the green signal to completely raze houses belonging to the Hamas leadership. He is clearly not the man for the job.