Fred Maroun
A believer in peace and human dignity
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I’m a pacifist, atheist Arab and I’m praying for IDF soldiers

Lies about Jewish history and about Israel are responsible for this war and for every death on both sides
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

I hate war. I have hated war since 1975 when the Lebanese civil war started and I was a fourteen-year-old Lebanese teenager. I always support peace as an alternative to war when the two sides can negotiate peace instead of killing each other.

But the key to a negotiated peace is the will to negotiate. In Gaza, there is no such will. Israel left Gaza free and clear in 2005, and almost immediately, Hamas violently removed the Palestinian Authority and started terrorist attacks against Israel. But even if anyone felt that Gazans were somehow, deep down, in favor of living at peace with Israel, the October 7 attack and the celebrations that followed have destroyed those naïve thoughts.

For this reason, a negotiated peace with Hamas is not an option. Hamas must be eliminated so that Israel can institute peace and stability whether Gazans want them or not.

This is where the IDF comes in. Israel and the rest of the civilized world needs the IDF to demolish the formidable war arsenal that Hamas and its allies built in Gaza in the form of tunnels, rocket launchers, and trained killers.

This is by no means an easy or danger-free task. One hundred and twenty-seven soldiers have already died in the ground operation, and in all likelihood, more will die until this necessary operation is completed.

Many people talk about the innocent civilians in Gaza, who as Avigdor Liberman wrote, may not all be so innocent. My main concern, however, is for the soldiers of the IDF.

These soldiers were thrown into a war that they did not want. Many of them have left regular civilian jobs to go risk their lives in a land full of boobytraps and where ruthless murderers could be popping out of a multitude of tunnels at any time.

Since the ground operation started on October 27, I have been thinking of these soldiers and I have been praying for them, at least as much as an atheist can pray. If there is any form of God above, I want that God to see and hear that the soldiers of the IDF are doing the necessary work of peace.

I want that God to understand that the world failed Israelis and Gazans by allowing Hamas to transform Gaza into a terror machine that uses civilians as its shield. They failed by providing funding that was to be used for services to Gazans but was used for terrorism instead, right under the eyes of the so-called charitable organizations.

I want that God to understand that decades of lies and a false narrative about Jewish history and about Israel are responsible for this war and for every death on both sides. The common canard that Israel is a colony of Europe is not an innocent lie. It is a lie that perpetuates war by brainwashing generations to hate Israel and all Jews.

I want that God to be on the side of the soldiers of the IDF every second of every day until they are done and back home safe with their families.

This is my prayer as an atheist. Since the powers on this earth do not have the correct priorities and do not recognize those who are risking their lives for peace, I am left to hope against any real expectation that there is a power above us who cares.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and to defend itself. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities co-exist in peace with each other, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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