'Let us not surrender to hatred'

Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan says Middle East must not lose sight of peace and justice.

    The actions of those who believe in human rights must now match their words [AFP]

    The continuing siege on Gaza - or what has commonly become known as the 'war on terror' - has developed a new dimension since the outrageous and controversial raid on the freedom convoy began.

    I say controversial because the convoy carrying international citizens and travelling in international waters, left ports of countries with which Israel has diplomatic relations. 

    What this suggests is that perhaps Israel is seeking total isolation to justify continued violence leading to further pre-emptive strikes and a regional war.

    Regardless of its current motivations, Israel has taught us that in the past when pressured diplomatically, its preferred recourse is the use of arms.

    That said, would it not have been possible to liaise with these international bodies instead? Even if so-called 'proximity talks' were used to engage them and identify their cargo.

    I say this knowing full well that they would have been searched by the authorities of those countries from which they departed in keeping with the conditionality of the so-called 'war on terror'.

    If, however, Israel's main complaint is the continued loss of Israeli lives and not the cargo of the flotilla per se, does the loss of thousands of lives in this war-torn region mean that two wrongs make a right and that wrongful arbitrary behaviour makes a right?

    Head-strong actions cannot be (and are not) by accident, as we console the families of the bereaved and cry out for justice and security for the peoples of this region.

    Commitment to justice

    The recently convened Washington conference calling for a zone free of weapons of mass destruction was, sadly, not attended by Israel.



      Blog: Israel defending the indefensible
      Twitter: Sherine Tadros
      Pictures: Protests around the world
      Outrage over Israeli attack
      Previous activists killed by Israel
      Focus: On board the Freedom Flotilla
      Focus: Gaza's real humanitarian crisis
      Video: Israel's Gaza PR offensive
      Programmes: Born in Gaza

    Fortunately, WMDs have not been a feature of this confrontation.

    Conventional weapons, however, have been, and they also amount to mass destruction on a multitude of levels as we are currently witnessing, not least of all on the faith that many honest citizens hold that this region has a future based on peace, justice and security. 

    The unswerving commitment that these peace activists have in the belief that the rights of others be recognised is built with courage and sacrifice over decades, and now it is being destroyed by the force of arms, whether conventional or not.

    It is not surprising that this region is devoid of an international "conference for security and co-operation" because it is obvious that there is a lack of belief in the concept of security and cooperation. Rather the focus is on the strong controlling the weak. 

    Those who believe in human rights and democratic practices have to put their actions where their words are, and this is what these activists have tried so valiantly to do, but for what reward?

    I call for a halt to the suffering and for a commitment by the international leaders and decision makers to peace and justice for the peoples of the region - a region of such vital importance to the world.

    I am fully aware of the fact that the Near East, once known as the Cradle of Civilisation, has become a tinder box of war; but in losing sight of peace and humanitarian law, we are surrendering one-by-one to the crushing power of the opportunist 'hatred industry'.

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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