Killing is the Enemy of Man

The carnage in Gaza is much too painful to describe.

It has happened much too often and the civilised world as we call it has stood by and watched despite its ferocity and found itself unable or unwilling to intervene or put a stop to it.

The same old story that becomes a recurrence and manifestation of deep-rooted hatred that seems to grow in intensity with the passage of time is too horrendous to contemplate.

However, the signs are emerging that some of those who suffered most in this latest tragedy have stepped forward from their grief to offer moral support.

In an article in the New York Times that appeared on 16th July Nicholas Kristof writes that the family of Naftali Fraenkel, a sixteen-year-old Jewish boy who was one of the three kidnapped and murdered, said in a statement after the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian boy: ‘There is no difference between Arab and Jewish blood. Murder is murder.’

Likewise, the father of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian boy, said: ‘I am against kidnapping and killing. Whether Jew or Arab, who would accept that his son or daughter would be kidnapped and killed? I call on both sides to stop the bloodshed.’

Thus, the writer maintains, those who have lost the most, have the greatest reason for revenge, offer the greatest wisdom.

‘Yet, instead, it is now the hardliners on each side who are driving events, in turn empowering hardliners on the other side.’

Right-wing politicians take comfort from the hardliners and their tacit backing of those who seek conflict as opposed to reconciliation are growing in numbers.

Politics in general is bereft of any moral standards simply by reason of the fact that power is the motivating factor of any ambitious politician who wants to leave his mark for posterity, even if it is clad in notoriety.

I had one personal experience that I am unlikely to forget in a hurry.

In 1983 Quartet published God Cried by Tony Clifton and the famous war photographer Catherine Leroy.

The book was about the siege of West Beirut in 1982 and the successful defence of the city by Palestinian fighters and their Lebanese allies against far greater Israeli forces.

The city experienced the most brutal combined assault launched against a capital city since World War Two.

When the book was published the Zionist lobby organised a campaign from hell to discredit the book and me personally. I found myself deserted by many friends and was called every name under the sun by sympathisers of Israel who took exception to the book.

The saga continued much longer than I expected but those zealots who created all the fuss realised in the end that none of the accusations levelled against me were true in essence or reality.

Quartet have always defended the underdog, whether Jewish or Palestinian or African – and our publishing record proves it.

An interview with me in the Jerusalem Post when I said that the spilling of Israeli or Palestinian blood is a sacrilege quietened matters down, and the war of attrition against me or any of our publications stopped forthwith.

That was a bitter experience to undergo but it taught me that we should all learn the lesson of history and realise that peace is the only answer. Killing brings more bloodshed and bloodshed is the true enemy of man.

Banish the killing fields and the world will be a paradise worth inhabiting.

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