Peace has a special character. A maturity of its own, usually derived from the true teachings of the three Abrahamic religions. Peace has a different indoctrination, a specific teaching. The language of peace has a personality. In societies conflict brings other conflicts. This is because people have pride and do not give in for the greater good. If people are forced to accept something, they will not only not accept it but also apply force in return and the conflict goes on endlessly. Whereas love has the power to solve them all. Love soothes people and calms them down. It eases tensions between other parties, thus causes the conflicts to be solved in a warm environment. Everyone is calm where there is compassion and love.
In order to be able to agree on something, both sides should avoid destructive language. During the recent unrest between Israel and Palestine, what Hamas has done by starting the conflict is totally in opposition to the Qur’an. First of all, there was a treaty between Hamas and Israel, and according to the Qur’an, they cannot violate a peace treaty. The Qur’an gives permission to one side to defend themselves only when the other side violates the treaty. As Muslims, Hamas should not have violated this treaty. Some of the rockets Hamas have fired were aimed at the Dome of Rock and the tombs of the Prophets. Moreover, 20% of Israel’s population is Muslims. Those rockets could also have taken the lives of Muslims living in that region. Besides, how could they have fired rockets to a sacred place like Jerusalem? These are all against Islam religion. Islam does not command breaking a treaty and killing of innocent lives. It commands reconciliation by peaceful means. Yet Hamas’ people are convinced that they are acting in line with the commandments of Islam. In truth they are acting on superstition. They think they know the commandments of the Qur’an, but they do not read it with an unbiased mind. They act on what they have learnt from a few scholars and what their parents have told them. They are unaware of the true teachings of Islam.
One other point that I’d like to draw attention is that calling the current government in Gaza “terrorists” is also not a way to solve the conflict, either. If they are kept being told they are terrorists, in the end they will say, “Very well, then we are terrorists. And then what?!”. At that point they might make a pact with the extremists who support the existence of a never-ending conflict.
We have to call these people to the true teachings of the Qur’an. We have to tell them “You are Muslims; think about what are you doing. You have to come to your senses and see at the commandments of the Qur’an, this is unlawful!”
According to Islam religion, the people of the Book, Jews and Christians, are entrusted to Muslims. It is a Muslims duty to provide them with security and well being. The Muslim world seems to have forgotten that it was Khalifa Omar who brought Jews back to Jerusalem after their exile in the 5th Century AD and he gave security and safety to the city’s Christians and Jews. A Muslim’s interaction with them starts with “salaam”. Just like “shalom”, it means “peace”.
Some of our Muslim brothers oppose the existence of Israel in the region. First of all, damnation of the name Israel is a sin because Israel is the name of a Prophet and all Prophets are holy for Muslims. However, they forget that in the Qur’an Allah says the Jews have a right to live in the Holy Land and it is in destiny that they will be there. Allah says in the Qur’an to the Israelites “…so dwell in this land and when the promise of the end of days comes to be fulfilled, We shall assemble you altogether there ”. (The Qur’an, 17:104)
Both sides should refrain from any additional escalation. We have to avoid ratcheting up the tensions any further. Additionally, Israel has to collaborate with Turkey as an independent state and help establish a union in the region. Then there will be a major climate of peace in the region and peace will prevail in the Middle East. There is no other option. This will not only relieve Israel of its economic difficulties, but also its existence in the region will not face any opposition, both of which cannot be provided by short-term solutions. Besides Turkey can reach out to the Arab countries in a way that Israel can’t.
Peace has its own indoctrination. We should focus on speaking of the possibility and beauty of peace rather than engaging in warmongering. Israeli Jews have been living with a large Muslim population for decades now and this alone shows both parties are able to get along perfectly. The sons of Ishmael and the sons of Jacob have to refer to each other in a much more uniting attitude rather than a dividing one. They should keep the communication channels open. Both sides should inspire love and place trust in each other and focus on a shared history of thousands of years rather than their differences.
Ceylan Özbudak is a Turkish peace activist. She graduated from Istanbul University as a language major and is Executive Director and TV host on A9 TV, a satellite TV network based in Istanbul. Ceylan also hosts the Building Bridges Show, which has featured many prominent Middle East experts, authors, academician and religious leaders.