Ece Koc, Turkish TVThe writer is an interfaith activist and peace advocate, is an economist and a host on the "Building Bridges" show on Turkey's A9TV satellite television channel
Everyone has an opinion about the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Arabs. Some say that Palestinian Arabs started it with their rockets aimed at Israel territory, while others say that Israel was using disproportionate force and killing innocent people in Gaza. These points have been debated in the media all over the world.
We must realize that following the same paths of hatred and rage will always lead to the same results - pain for both parties, people dying on both sides and a life of fear with no ability to see the hope for the future. It is time for everyone to realize that the solution lies elsewhere.
The solution lies in adopting a humane approach based on the morals of religion. Both Judaism and Islam command love. Both parties should agree not to permit terrorist activities. There must be no killing. Such conflicts bring nothing but suffering to both parties. Happiness, justice, economic well-being and welfare can only be attained through peace and unity.
Palestinian Arabs need to know that firing rockets at Israel is incompatible with Islam, and that Islam is a religion of peace that forbids the killing of others. In this respect it is really hard to understand what benefit Palestinian Arabs are seeking to achieve with those rocket attacks. Firing rockets and killing people is of no advantage to them. As a consequence the Israelis say that they have the right to defend themselves and then start firing back. This mentality has never done any good for decades.
If you ask those who send the missiles what they are doing they will probably say that this is "jihad." Yes, the concept of jihad does exist in Islam. But the word "jihad" means "to strive, to make an effort". It means to approach people with love and compassion and to win them over with scientific and intellectual evidence. It means to communicate the love of Allah, and the beauties of the Qur'an and its righteous aspects. It means to communicate the invalidity of Darwinism, materialism and the malicious nature of fascism and communism. That is the "jihad" described in the Qur'an, in Islam.
It therefore does not mean firing rockets at someone or sending suicide bombers in or dropping bombs on innocent people, women and children. In fact, Islam forbids such actions. The only conflict permitted in the Qur'an is an intellectual struggle, and the only time Islam permits war is when it is defensive and a last resort. But launching rockets that may well land on the homes of innocent Israeli civilians is definitely not acceptable in Islam.
Furthermore, the Israeli side then retaliates against these attacks with aerial bombardments, inevitably causing some innocent people to be killed, homes to be wrecked and children to be injured or killed. While self-defense needs to be kept within legitimate bounds and a certain balance has to be maintained, the really important thing is to ensure that no attacks are made from the very beginning. The people who fire these rockets at Israel may say they are attacking military targets, but they are not aiming at them and they are actually hitting civilian homes.
There is no need to attack military targets or civilians at all.
Issuing harsh statements and verbal attacks against the parties involved will only cause more tension. Harsh accusations are unacceptable, be they against Palestinian Arabs or Israeli Jews.
Peace has a special language we all need to learn to speak. A bullying language that angers people will not work. While advocating peace, it is unacceptable to use the kind of language that will damage that peace.
One side consists of the sons of Ishmael and the other of the sons of Jacob; descendants of the prophets are fighting one another. Muslims must become involved in this point and prevent this fighting, which brings nothing but pain to both parties.
If we approach things in a spirit of peace and brotherhood, those lands really can be turned into an abode of peace, and there will be no more need for those walls. Turkey and the Islamic world must become involved now. An Islamic Peace Force could be set up to intervene right at the start of bombings or rocket attacks so that the other side does not have to defend itself and retaliate. What we need is unity.
What Israel should be doing is to pray for the coming of the King Messiah (pbuh), whom the children of Israel have been longing for, for three thousand years. What Palestinians should be doing is to pray for the appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh).We believe that the King Messiah and Hazrat Mahdi are the same person. According to both Islam and Judaism, the appearance of the King Messiah will end all the violence in the world and bring peace, love and security to whole humanity. In the Torah it says:
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together, and a little child will lead them... The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy... (Isaiah, 11:6-9)
... You will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land. I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove savage beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. (Leviticus, 26:5-6)
We need to initiate a Middle Eastern Peace Initiative. With such an initiative, Israel can attain that happiness it has awaited for the last 3,000 years, and peace, tranquility and security can be built in the whole region. Trade, art and science will then all grow to their fullest extent. Democracy will be fully installed and people will no longer see others as threat. The Palestinian Arabs and Israelis will then be able to live in security, peace, love and brotherhood. That is the ultimate goal of all religions.