In previous weeks, Dan Hanson ’12 and Joseph McCarthy ’11 wrote about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.† On one hand, Hanson shared an extreme view of Israel’s Zionism ideology. On the other hand, McCarthy portrayed Arabs as extremist and legitimized Israel’s actions.

Let me start by expressing the need for the creation of a Palestinian state. A two-state solution is the only option we have today that can secure the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. But, if we wait, this goal will become harder to achieve. Let us assume that we have a one-state solution. This would be the downfall of a Jewish state, since Muslim and Christian Arabs would represent the majority of the population in a democratic country. The only way for a Jewish one-state scenario to succeed is by implementing an apartheid system. Of course, the international community, particularly the United States, would not support an apartheid system. It is in both parties’ interests to choose the pathway of a two-state solution. They have to get back on the negotiation table without preconditions. This is not a new idea, but one that helped Sadat achieve peace between Egypt and Israel more than 30 years ago.

I would also like to emphasize that violence is not the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. McCarthy argues that the 2008-2009 Gaza invasion was successful because “Rocket attacks dramatically dropped in the months following the operation, proving that for Israel, the use of force is far more effective in stopping terror.” I strongly disagree with this opinion. I believe that the Gaza invasion bolstered the international public opinion against Israel, while at the same time gave some sort of legitimacy to Hamas’ ideology. It provided more justification for extremist ideology throughout the region. Israel will never defeat Hamas’ ideology with force, but rather by working with moderates like Fatah in the West Bank. The only way to defeat ideologies represented by Hamas and similar organizations is to work hard for peace and encourage moderate and democratic elements. I doubt that violent actions will help Israel and extremist Palestinians in the future. I am convinced that dialogue and negotiations are the pathway to peace through the creation of two nation states.

The U.N. Goldstone report details the disproportionate use of violence against Palestinians in the 2008-2009 Gaza invasion. It emphasized Israel’s and Hamas’ crimes against humanity. McCarthy mentions Justice Richard Goldstone’s recent retractions of his charges against Israel. However, the three other authors of the U.N. report responded in a long statement published in The Guardian. They explained, “We regret the personal attacks and the extraordinary pressure placed on members of the fact-finding mission since we began our work in May 2009. This campaign has been clearly aimed at undermining the integrity of the report and its authors. Had we given in to pressures from any quarter to sanitize our conclusions, we would be doing a serious injustice to the hundreds of innocent civilians killed during the Gaza conflict, the thousands injured, and the hundreds of thousands whose lives continue to be deeply affected by the conflict and the blockade.” I believe the report still carries significant credibility and provides accurate insights into the crimes of Israel and Hamas.

Furthermore, I was very disappointed about the negative portrayal of Jewish Zionists and Arabs in the previous articles. The majority of Jews would like to see a Palestinian state. Also, not all Arabs are violent and share Hamas’ ideology. I disagree with McCarthy’s conclusion concerning “Arab’s desire to see Israel ëwiped off the map.'” Coming from a diplomatic family that has sacrificed for two generations for the cause of peace with Israel, I consider McCarthy’s statement to be false.

There are extremists on both sides of the equation who advocate for violence and war. But there are more who call for peace, dialogue and moderation. A group like Hamas does not represent Arabs. In fact, Egypt and Jordan, two Arab countries, have peace treaties with Israel. The Arab League put forward an Arab Peace Initiative proposal in 2002, in which one could see the willingness of Arab states to officially recognize Israel.

Today, some are pessimistic about the future of peace in the Middle East. The facts on the ground show a minority of extremists on both sides who are advocating violence and a majority who are calling for peace. What do we do? Do we give in to the extremists or encourage the moderates? Dialogue and negotiations are difficult, yet I believe this is the only path to achieve a just and secure peace for Israel and Palestine.