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Israeli-Palestinian Peace Won't Come Overnight

The US and its allies voted down a UN Security Council resolution that would have called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza as civilians in the enclave are under a brutal siege. The resolution was proposed by Russia and was also supported by China, Gabon, Mozambique, and the UAE. But the US and it's allies voted against the resolution.

The Biden administration has refused to call for a ceasefire in Gaza as it’s strongly backing Israel. The State Department even gave instructions to its diplomats not to mention the idea of “de-escalation” when discussing the onslaught. Gaza has been cut off from electricity, water, fuel, and food as relentless airstrikes are pounding the enclave, leaving thousands dead.

The conflict between Israel and Gaza has a long history and is quite complex. But it's important to stress that peace is the only path ahead. It's also not difficult to explain several instances of Jewish and Arab cooperation and teamwork in diverse circumstances, emphasizing how similar values and interests have promoted peaceful coexistence.

The key insight is that, even in the most hostile and protracted conflicts, common interests and objectives can build bridges for cooperation and peace. The Israel-Gaza conflict might be governed by the same rule. It is possible to establish the conditions that make peace not only desirable by finding shared interests, such as public health initiatives, and by fostering cooperation through citizen actions.

While health programs by themselves cannot bring about long-term peace in a region where there are enduring political, cultural, psychological, and religious problems, they do provide a useful point of contact for disputing parties. The examples of health initiatives in other conflict regions, such as Latin America, show how a common interest in promoting public health can foster brief ceasefires and inter-force collaboration.

Organizations like the Association of Israeli-Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights are working in the Middle East to meet the medical needs of underserved areas while highlighting the value of both health and human rights. These programs not only offer necessary services but also promote communication and cooperation amongst various groups.

It will take time for Israelis and Palestinians to reach peace. But only coordinated measures involving people and the construction of bridges between the two communities can be successful. Building up these people's bridges is the greatest method to stop the ongoing conflict in a place where there is a lot of violence and deep-seated mistrust.

While taking these steps by themselves might not result in a long-term solution, they do establish the prerequisites for the Middle East to experience lasting peace.


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