First and foremost, we must recognize Israel's right to self-defense and advocate for the erdication of Hamas as a terrorist organization. We must also draw distinctions between Hamas and innocent Palestinians caught in the crossfire.
Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past. It's crucial our leaders understand what it takes to defeat terrorism and prevent further humanitarian suffering.
The Middle East has been riven with religious and ethnic hatred, colonization, and division by imperial powers, resulting in the situation we have today. Israel was on the cusp of making a strategic peace treaty with the Saudi government, and we played an instrumental part in making that happen, hopefully only temporarily stalled by the Hamas attack.
We must learn from historical events, such as Israel's invasion of Southern Lebanon in 1982 in response to a series of terrorist attacks by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which led to the formation of Hezbollah and, eventually, Hamas. All these back-and-forth attacks — which began just after Israel's founding by the UN in 1948 — have resulted in constant fear and suffering of the Israeli and Palestinian people.
The current approach may not achieve Israel's desired safety, nor may it eliminate terrorist activity. Instead, it could inadvertently fuel the rise of more terrorists and terrorist organizations than it destroys and cause future generations to suffer the same fate. It has happened before, with the Taliban in Afghanistan and the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
We as a country need to support urgent measures that can prevent further loss of innocent lives, halt the growth of future hatred and terrorism, and alleviate the escalating humanitarian crisis and suffering. I agree with Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin when he stated that "the current action can be a tactical win but a strategic loss" for Israel.
Drawing from experience as a diplomat serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries for a decade, I am aligning with other anti-terrorist groups on solutions that bear tangible, long-lasting, and peaceful alternatives to violence, including:
Implement sustained and targeted efforts to combat terrorist networks while ensuring the safety and well-being of the civilian population.
Facilitate the development of a viable, sustainable political alternative for Palestinians, offering them a choice beyond Hamas.
Disrupt the financial support and foreign connections that enable Hamas.
Discourage countries supporting Hamas from providing further support.
Foster a comprehensive solution that enables Palestinians and Israelis to coexist in a single country or neighboring states through a two-state solution.
Request via the United Nations Security Council a new Palestinian peace and rebuilding mission to ensure all internationally agreed goals are met for both Israel and Palestine.
It is incumbent upon all politicians, candidates, and elected officials alike to possess historical wisdom, demonstrate courage, and have the knowledge, skill, and integrity to lead.
Peace requires more strength than war. While the work ahead may be challenging, the region can find success. All problems have a solution; if not, several solutions. If we don't think this problem can be resolved in a way that benefits both Israelis and Palestinians, we're not thinking hard enough.
Let us work together to achieve a lasting peace that respects the rights and aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis.