It wasn’t for a lack of creative ideas or well-intentioned people that the problems of Gaza were not solved.
Back in 2012, an article appeared in Globes entitled, “$10 billion investment will turn Gaza into the Riviera.” The writer of the article, Dr. Yacov Sheinin wrote, “the only way to stop the rocket fire is to greatly raise the Gazans’ standard of living.”
In light of Oct. 7, can we all agree that his idea was both naïve and an ill-fated direction also attempted by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner who, similarly, believed that given enough financial opportunity, all of Israel’s neighboring enemies would be inspired to lay down their arms and bask in the same good fortunes Israelis have managed to create for themselves. Thus, the Abraham Accords were born, aspiring to a new and brighter future that would usher in the coveted era of peace and prosperity.
In fact, it wasn’t only the financial aspect that was considered. The Abraham Accords Declaration stated, “We the undersigned recognize the importance of maintaining and strengthening peace in the Middle East and around the world, based on mutual understanding and coexistence, as well as respect for human dignity and freedom, including religious freedom.”
But there was one small glitch, which its framers hadn’t taken into consideration. There is no “mutual” respect for human dignity and freedom when it comes to the population just a couple of miles away from the Israeli border.
When thousands take to the streets and distribute candy and other sweets as a cause of celebration over the brutal deaths and captivity of Israeli citizens, there has to be an acknowledgment of the cruel fact that we are living next door to a different species of people – those who absolutely don’t share the value and sacredness of life, those who don’t cry over the tragedy of young women and girls being raped and those who don’t respect a way of life or faith that is different to theirs.
So, while Israel, along with the United States and the United Arab Emirates, signed on to the pact, which would be the ultimate game-changer in the Middle East, somehow Hamas didn’t get the memo. It was all well and good that the lofty aspirations were shared by these three countries, but the ones who needed to be convinced were already laying in wait to execute a savage massacre, the likes of which has never been seen in the Jewish state.
Regrettably, as the deal was being signed on Sept. 15, 2020 on the South Lawn of the White House, no one could have imagined that just three years later we’d be back to square one – trying to figure out how to coexist with neighbors whose chief aim is to annihilate us.
But here we are, and the question remains – “Can anyone fix the problem of Gaza?”
The Israeli Defense Forces have begun the hard work of clearing out the immediate threat that has faced the country since that fateful day of Oct. 7. Already, northern Gaza has been cleared out from the Hamas terrorists who were dedicated to pulling off the greatest invasion as they brutally attack innocent kibbutz families who were, for the most part, defenseless and at the mercy of heartless, savage beings with no conscience, no morality and no humanity.
Our military has now advanced into Gaza City and the southern capital Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, which houses a population of over half a million people, as well as being the home of the Oct. 7 mastermind, Yahya Sinwar, now surrounded by the IDF.
In order to complete their mission, Israel will have to continue to capture terrorists and move out the remaining vestiges of the Hamas leadership, as well as all who signed up to join their futile fight. The estimated 1,300 tunnels, spanning 300 miles across the Gaza Strip, many beneath schools and hospitals, will also have to be destroyed. Only once all those goals are completed, will the search begin for the person or collective group of individuals who are able to come up with a solution to Israel’s thorn in the side called Gaza.
But is anyone capable of taking on that kind of “mission impossible,” which can guarantee a peaceful population who is committed to repairing their position by building a lasting and stable society, rooted in the values and moral principles of other civilized people? Because if they would agree that terror has done nothing to enhance their lives, then they would have to abandon the malice that celebrates our demise.
In short, without a heart change, which demands a new outlook and tolerance for us, nothing will be altered – not for them and not for us. They will still fall prey to bad actors who know how to exploit their weakness of Jewish hatred, promising complete victory over us, while delivering nothing but more pain and suffering to them.
The first order of business for any Gaza repairman would be to figure out how to perform a major inward housecleaning on a population that has allowed itself to be taken hostage by evildoers. The second order of business would be to re-educate each generation in a way that fosters respect for others, especially Jews, and finds value in each human being despite their differences. But these two things are a very tall order, which are only attainable through a divine intervention, because our human limitations of prejudice, jealousy, enmity and antagonism will always stand in the way of our ability to create a clean heart within us.
This is where God comes into the picture. Unfortunately, there are no humanistic or altruistic efforts that can fix the depth of evil with which each person enters the world. So, if we can’t fix our own hearts, how can we fix the problem of Gaza?
The only answer is to start by invoking the Almighty because, without His help, we are doomed to continue the cycle of our own making which only leads to death, destruction and failing solutions. It is only God who can change a “heart of stone into a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 35:26), and only He has said He would heal our land if we humble ourselves, pray and turn from our wickedness (2 Chronicles 7:14).
That is the solution to both the problem of Gaza and the terminally-ill human condition. Without Him in the equation, we will continue on our never-ending path to Nirvana – the place which is defined as a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, sense of self or any other bad thing. Sorry to say, but it doesn’t exist, at least not here on earth!
That is why we have no choice but to invite the real Architect of peace to fix all that plagues us. It is the choice we are all given – go to Him, or go it alone – which clearly hasn’t worked out too well for any of us!
A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.