Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bad Government

Current events in Gaza are a great human tragedy. Many people are losing their homes, even their lives, as the Israeli military campaign grinds forward. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on earth, a place where it is impossible to conduct a military campaign without causing civilian losses.

When I see news photos of smoking rubble and crying children, my heart is broken. And my memory is drawn to similar images from dozens of other conflicts that continually beset the people of our enlightened age.

Some are blaming the Israelis for this latest sadness. Others are blaming the Palestinians. But most journalists seem to miss the common thread in all of this misery.

Bad Government.

In the present situation, the people of Gaza have allowed themselves to be governed by a terrorist organization sponsored by a foreign power, both of whom support and encourage those few of the Palestinians who persist in firing rockets at their Israeli neighbors. Now, the long suffering Israelis have responded to these rocket attacks, thus bringing about predictable tragic consequences for the Palestinian people.

Just about everyone agrees that the Palestinian people need a homeland where they can live in peace. But that can never happen until the Palestinian people take responsibility for themselves and for their government.

Liberty comes with responsibility. One cannot be free and unaccountable. A people cannot claim the rights and privileges of national sovereignty while avoiding the consequences of bad government.

One hope that emerges is the possibility that the present tragedy will be the undoing of the Hamas government, and that more responsible leadership will arise from among the Palestinian people.

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