Fred Maroun
Fred Maroun

One hundred and twenty thousand souls

Thirty thousand is the approximate number of Israelis killed by Arabs through wars and terrorism, so far. As an Arab, I ask my fellow Arabs how often they thought of that number.

Have we achieved anything by killing thirty thousand Jews? Has our decision to not accept the independence of Israel, after the British armies left, helped us any? That decision caused those deaths. Each one of them.

We too suffered deaths in those wars and in the confrontations among Palestinians. Almost ninety thousand souls. Those deaths, like the others, lay at the feet of our decision to reject Israel.

How many more deaths will it take before we renounce our insistence on a Middle East where Jews are either absent or subservient?

Political experts tell us with great assurance that peace is hard to achieve, that there are borders to discuss, refugees to settle, sacred sites to protect, security agreements to negotiate, hurt feelings to consider, and so on. They are all wrong. These are all excuses.

Peace can be achieved immediately by making one simple decision: The Jewish state is welcome here, and we will work out the rest. It is a decision that we Arabs must make. No one else can make it for us. Not the president of the United States, and certainly not Israel.

Those one hundred and twenty thousand souls should weigh on each of us like one hundred and twenty thousand bricks. We should feel the weight of what we did to cause those deaths and of what we did not do to prevent more deaths.

But those one hundred and twenty thousand souls were much more important than bricks. They were men, women, and children who wanted to live, to sing, to kiss, and to love. They were souls that God or the universe put on this small piece of earth and that we took away without a thought, without a care.

We can have peace today. We simply need to decide to be human, to realize that thirty thousand Jewish souls did not want to die and that ninety thousand Arab souls did not have to die, to decide to stop here.

We can have peace, but only if we want it.

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 he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, 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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