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Why there's no justification for Hamas attack on Israeli civilians: Osama letter explained

By Bharat Dogra* 

Whenever highly unjust violence is unleashed on some people, there can be calls for revenge violence. However, as the big ones responsible for the initial violence may be beyond the reach of the victims, it is quite possible that they end up targeting those who are easier to attack, in the process perhaps killing entirely innocent persons. This can lead to a cycle of indiscriminate violence in which many innocent lives will be lost.
Those Hamas attackers who attacked Israel recently are likely to have been motivated by the anguish of many Palestinians who were innocent victims of Israeli aggressions on many occasions, but did this anguish become any less when they killed several Israeli civilians? Who knows, those killed may have included those who strongly desire a more just policy toward Palestine. Did this action of Hamas increase the number of such persons, or did it decrease this?
What is more, this led to such a disproportionate and cruel response from the Israeli government that already about 11,000 Palestinians have been killed. Will this lead to future indiscriminate attacks on the people of Israel? Where and when this cycle of indiscriminate violence and revenge stop? The bigger danger is that this can lead to a wider war which can lead to death, injury and displacement on a much bigger scale.
In the middle of all the violence of recent times there has been a revival of interest in an old document promoting revenge which was becoming so popular with several readers that some newspapers removed it from their website.
This is a document released by Osama bin Laden titled ‘Letter to America’ in 2002. In this letter Osama bin Laden has stated that highly unjust policies and actions of the USA and some of its allies have caused immense distress to Muslims (as well as some others) and Muslims should unite with courage to oppose this.
However this letter also goes much beyond this and justifies attacks on USA civilians saying that they vote to elect the government. This is clearly wrong and all citizens who exercise their voting rights cannot be said to be complicit in violence. Such instigation can lead to the targeting of many innocent people.
In addition this letter targets many sections of people as indulging in immoral activity, including those who practice homosexuality or sexual promiscuity, or those who consume or trade intoxicants, or those who charge interest payments. Women are subjected to more strict surveillance and some of their occupations are frowned upon.
Only one religion is proclaimed as supreme, while others (those belonging to other religions and atheists) are described as non-believers hostility against whom can be justified. In such a worldview millions and millions of people are considered undesirable on the basis of those preferences which belong to their personal world .All these undesirable persons can evoke the hostility of believers, according to this document.
This is just one example of endless violent possibilities of an agenda which is based on violent, indiscriminate revenge, set against an ideological background of sectarianism and irrationality. If the violence of imperialism is to be fought on the basis of such an agenda, then the world will be destroyed by endless cycles of indiscriminate and irrational violence.
There is urgent need at world level of a broad-based peace movement which can intervene to prevent such cyclical violence and instead provide a response based on justice based peace.
It is an example of endless violent possibilities of an agenda which is based on indiscriminate revenge, set on sectarianism 
If such channels of a peaceful response do not exist, then it may be difficult to prevent a response based on indiscriminate violence and revenge. In addition it is the task of the peace movement to work with more continuity for strengthening the desire and possibilities of peace, with practical solutions discussed at the level of common people (not just leaders) and slowly gaining strength.
This is where the courage and commitment of people particularly youth should be channelized (and not into seeking indiscriminate revenge) and only then we can be hopeful that the new generation at least will be able to live in conditions of peace with justice.
The ideas that one religion is superior to others, or that those belonging to other religions and other sects, or atheist persons, are inferior are completely out of place in a world that needs peace based on equal respect for all faiths.
Such ideas are often at the back of those who get hooked by sectarian and violent forces, and therefore it is important to expose the futility of such ideas in the present day world which needs inter-faith harmony more than ever before so that people of different faiths (as well as atheists, or those who do not attach much importance to religious identity) can work together in peace and with solidarity for several good causes, such as environment protection, which are important for all.
While this is true for all places, this is all the more important for places like the Palestine-Israel region where people have already suffered much due to indiscriminate violence and inter-faith discords. Commitment to inter-faith harmony and a belief in people of different faiths living together peacefully should be at the heart of desiring and creating a better future for the people here, particularly the young generation.
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*Honorary convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include “When the Two Streams Met”, “Man over Machine”, “Earth without Borders” and “A Day in 2071”

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