Sadly, Middle Eastern news is dominated by the actions of a small faction of extremists on both sides of the Palestine-Israel conflict. A majority of Palestinians and Israelis are being affected as the violence escalates.
The problem is found in the leadership on both sides, as well as the actions of the media. There is an obvious leadership absence, particularly in Israel. That's not a biased observation — it's a fact. Israel is a sovereign government and holds all of the power. It controls both Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, which is limited.
Israel can pressure the Palestinians in numerous ways, but has chosen to use violent methods. Some of these methods include confiscation of property, arrest and detention of Palestinian civilians and officials, and military assault. The last has resulted in a massive amount of civilian deaths, being explained as "a response to terrorism."
In contrast to the Israeli government, the Palestinian National Authority really holds no authority at all. It can make statements and its police can make arrests, but only against Palestinians. It lacks the power to arrest Israelis engaging in terrorism and violence. It also has very little authority over the land Israel supposedly agreed to concede as a part of "peace."
Palestinians are expected to submit to aggressive, Israeli action taken by soldiers or armed settlers. Israel will not prosecute crimes committed by its citizens against Palestinians. In the few instances of prosecution, the punishments have been far more lenient than what is distributed to non-Jews.
The mainstream news media compound this imbalance by being complicit in occupation and violent civilian killings. The vast majority of those killed are not Israeli, but Palestinians. This is never revealed when reading the media reports.
Much of the Israeli media is embedded in Israeli government policy. The mainstream Israeli media distorts facts to make Palestinians look guilty and to minimize the responsibility of Israelis.
The lies are endless. Examples would be claims of Palestinians launching rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip against Jewish civilians, or Palestinians stabbing and attacking Jewish civilians and soldiers in Jerusalem and in Israel.
Most rockets fired by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are in response to fatal violence by Israelis against Palestinians. The Israelis routinely kill Palestinian activists and expect no response. They use a twisted form of Israeli justice called "extrajudicial killing," or murder outside the rule of law.
Some Palestinians react with anger and violence, such as in the cases of knife attacks. The Palestinian violence is driven by despondency and anger in Israeli atrocities going unpunished and worse — unrecognized.
As you may have figured out long ago, Israel's government is against peace. They enforce a religious-racial form of apartheid against non-Jews. They confiscate as much Palestinian land as possible and seek to cleanse it of non-Jews.
The Israeli media is deficient in portraying balance in its reporting of conflict. Israeli journalists portray their fellow citizens as victims wishing for peace. This is disingenuous. These Israeli extremists and want peace without having to pay a price. They wish for non-Jews to simply disappear. Their idea of peace is one in which non-Jews cease to exist in the land of Israel.
They want Palestinians to be silenced and accept ostracism.
The bigger tragedy is that violent Israeli extremism is growing, and going unpunished. Their hatred and violence fuels the conflict.
Palestinians are encouraged to turn to violence because they see Israelis engage in violence without consequence.
There are many Israeli organizations that support Israel's existence and security, while also supporting peace based on justice and compromise with the Palestinian people. They recognize that when humans are stripped of their dignity and rights and face unprecedented oppression, their morality can vanish.
Pro-peace Israeli groups are viciously slandered by groups like the Zionist Organization of America, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee. Principle has been compromised in favor of blind loyalty.
They condemn Palestinian violence, but ignore or minimize Israeli violence. When Israeli violence is cited, these groups exploit world anti-Semitism to bully the critics into silence. People like Elie Wiesel, whose voices could reign in the violence and bring it to a halt, have chosen to defend Israel by not speaking out.
There cannot be peace until Israelis change. They must rid themselves of apartheid practices and religious and racial superiority. Jews around the world must return to a moral high ground, the true Jewish Temple Mount that has been desecrated by their own failed actions.
It would be in true spirit of the post-Holocaust world to denounce their own extremism and hate, and recognize the rights of Palestinians.
Israelis can stop the violence and bring peace if they wish to. However, they are the "chosen people," and they have chosen not to.
Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist and managing editor of The Arab Daily News at www.TheArabDailyNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania. To find out more about Ray Hanania and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.