"The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference."
Elie Wiesel - writer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate
Fifteen days after the brutal terrorist attack on Israel, the actions of international leaders in the search for a solution to the conflict in that region are cynical and meager. The constant news coverage, in real time, gives us the false idea that there is worldwide concern about the conflict, given the frequency of the topic in the main media outlets. But when we focus on the actual actions, we see that nothing has been done.
If we compare the speed with which this same international community acted in Russia's conflict with Ukraine, the world's anti-Semitic and Islamophobic stance becomes more evident. Within days of the first bombing raids on Ukraine, the world made harsh statements against Russia: it opened Europe's borders to receive refugees; it sent military equipment; it froze Russian citizens' assets worldwide; it cut off sources of revenue from the sale of Russian oil and gas; it banned Russian athletes from sporting competitions; it established a Western economic blockade of Russia; and it even obtained a ruling from the International Criminal Court condemning Vladimir Putin as a perpetrator of war crimes.
In the current conflict in the Middle East, the international community has done almost nothing. Apart from watching - fearful of taking on a problem it mistakenly believes to be regional - in practice we have only seen declarations of repudiation of a terrorist cell and some fruitless diplomatic moves to remove civilians from Gaza. The UN has not even managed to vote on a ceasefire resolution or decide on humanitarian aid for the region. Some countries sent meager financial resources to show support for the victims of the conflict. This was much more symbolic than effective.
This conflict didn't start on October 7, it has been going on and on. And now, with this tremendous blow to Israel. On the other hand, Palestinian civilians are defenseless, abandoned and about to be decimated, given Israeli military power and the need to respond to the brutality perpetrated by a terrorist minority.
For years, we have been inertly witnessing crimes against humanity, in the broadest sense of the word. In the words of Yuval Harari, "a crime against humanity is not just about killing human beings. It's about destroying our trust in humanity."
The West's complacency with the situation is so bizarre that the main leader of Hamas, the group that governs Gaza, lives in Qatar, home to the main US military base in the region, which last year hosted the world's biggest sporting event, and sponsors France's main soccer team.
The conflict between Jews and Palestinians has been going on for more than 70 years, and there is no longer any empathy between the civil peoples, who are bogged down by their own pain and unable to recognize the pain of others. All diplomatic efforts are necessary. But when it gets to this level of brutality - and when the aim is to decimate the existence of the other - it becomes clear that diplomacy needs support.
The international community, far removed from the conflict and the pain, must empathize with those who are suffering and act for peace in the region with forceful measures, instead of continuing to be a mere spectator of the terrible reality.
The situation needs to be addressed in accordance with international law. There is no other way to achieve peace unless there is a global intervention movement that mixes: territorial occupation by an international body; legitimization of moderate sectors on both sides for dialogues; investment in infrastructure to improve living conditions and enable civilians to prosper; encouraging free migration with open borders; transforming the region into a multicultural hub, with peaceful religious coexistence, governed by an international committee; demilitarization of the entire region; and strong investment to educate new generations of people with less bellicose thoughts.
This disdain for the region is even stranger when you consider that Islam will be the world's largest religion by 2070, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center in Washington. This same study says that the Muslim population in Europe is expected to triple by 2050, especially in countries like Germany and Sweden. Not every Arab is a Muslim and not every Muslim is an Arab, but with this rate of growth their future influence in the West is undeniable.
I've always disbelieved that there could be a one-way global movement. Covid proved me wrong. The world stood still for years. When there is real interest in solving extreme situations, the human side comes out and our need to survive makes us more active. There will always be dissenting cells, like the deniers in Covid, but humanity has won and has everything to win this cause too.
International leaders need to understand that this conflict affects the world in different ways, whether in economic decline, terrorist attacks in the world's main capitals, or in the radicalization of discourses that generate increasingly violent conflicts. The solution lies in recognizing that this is everyone's conflict and in taking effective action to bring peace to the region, otherwise we will lose our humanity.