Skip to main content

Peace is only possible with reconciliation

08/06/2014 04:36PM, Published by Lev, Categories: In Print, Opinion



By Congressman Joe Pitts

We live in a peaceful land, for that we are incredibly fortunate. War has not touched these farmlands, rolling hills, and towns for more than 150 years. The last people who remembered Confederate soldiers marching through Pennsylvania are long buried. For people who have long lived in peace, it can be difficult to understand conflict.

Because of my previous service on the Foreign Affairs Committee and current service on the Human Rights Commission, I have traveled to areas of the world in conflict and war. I fought in Vietnam as a U.S. Air Force officer. I have met face-to-face with the victims of genocidal regimes and unjust governments. Occasionally, I have seen people set aside their grievances and choose to live in peace. That is difficult, but it is possible.

Today, my heart goes out to the people in Israel and Gaza who are suffering through yet another conflict. I fervently wish that lasting peace can be established.

Those wishes, however, do not cloud the reality of the situation in Gaza. The roots of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians go back decades. There is much dispute about the original sin that set off the violence. Untangling that knot is a task that is simply not possible. Bringing lasting peace will require a great deal of forgiveness on the part of both peoples.

For the present, there should be no question about Israel’s right to defend itself.

In 2005, Ariel Sharon, a man who led Israeli troops in multiple wars, decided that Israel should no longer support any settlements in Gaza. His government forcibly removed Israeli settlers, despite fervent opposition. Israeli soldiers dragged Israeli citizens out of their homes in order to move toward peace.

Unfortunately, the withdrawal did not bring about the wished-for peace. The Palestinian people are not at peace with Israel or with each other. Yasser Arafat’s Fatah party had long been the principal enemy of Israel. But as Arafat sought negotiation instead of confrontation, the radical Hamas party claimed the mantle that victory would be achieved through violence.

Hamas declared open war on Fatah in 2006 and forcibly took over government institutions in Gaza. Hundreds were killed in this conflict which involved no Israeli forces.

The stated goal of Hamas is the elimination of Israel. They do not wish for co-existence. In fact, for Hamas a two-state solution is just a temporary step toward total dominance.

Israel simply can’t be expected to stand by and watch Hamas stockpile weaponry to kill its people. They strengthened their existing blockade to try to stem the flow of rockets and explosives and keep suicide bombers from infiltrating their country.

For years now, Hamas has launched rockets into Israel indiscriminately. These are not targeted strikes. They are in fact launched with the hope that civilians will be killed.

No country would stand by as its citizens were fired upon. Israel’s response to rocket attacks has been strikes aimed to take out launch sites, rocket stockpiles and known locations of Hamas leadership. Hamas has rejected cease-fire agreements brokered by Egypt and the United Nations, even as Israel accepted the terms.

I hope that the U.S. can work with our regional partners to bring about a long-term cease fire. I hope that food and medical supplies can be delivered to the people of Gaza. I hope that Israeli and Palestinian children can attend school without the fear of attacks. Most of all, I hope for lasting peace.

The harsh reality is that peace will not come if Hamas is left alone to plot Israel’s destruction. Their goal is not the enrichment of their people. If that were so, they would invest more effort in building schools and roads and less in tunnels and rockets.

Peace is possible, but it will not come about through Israeli acceptance of strikes against their people. Israel must fight justly. They must do everything in their power to prevent civilian deaths. They know the eyes of the world are on them.

Real peace may come, but only when Hamas is open to reconciliation. I have seen age old disagreements settled peacefully, but it required compromise and the recognition that violence is not the solution. Until that time, Israel has the right to defend itself.



Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



joe pitts


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/05/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Oxford Has Heart First Friday

    02/05/2016
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Heart Health Awareness Music & Food Shops & Art American Red Cross Blood Drive - Please sche...


  • Oxford Has Heart First Friday

    02/05/2016
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us for food, music, and fun at Downtown Oxford's First Friday event, February 5, 2016 from 5...


  • Classical Guitar Concert with Brad Rau

    02/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Classical Guitarist Brad Rau will be performing at Taylor's Music in West Chester PA. The event ...


  • Arts Leadership Class for Teens

    02/06/2016
    12:00AM

    The Teen Arts Council of PA is excited to invite Chester County Teens to a free program combing t...


  • ASTON, PA DATA DESTRUCTION EVENT

    02/06/2016
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    This event will be held at our secure location at Elwyn Industries Warehouse, 1 Judy Way, Aston, ...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/06/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Ready to Read

    02/06/2016
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Ready to Read: Fizz, Boom, Read! STEAM Saturdays! Saturday, January 16 – Saturday, April 30 from...


  • Saturday Storytime

    02/06/2016
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Saturday Storytime at Avon Grove Library, the first Saturday of each month at 11 am. Babies and ...


  • Table Games

    02/06/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Adults we are hosting a table games event for you! Use the Library’s games or bring your own! Sc...


  • Teen Drawing Class with Louise Vinueza at Chester Springs Studio, Chester Springs Ages: 13 t...


  • Teen Drawing Class at Chester Springs Studio

    02/06/2016
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    Ideal for teens who want to further their drawing skills. In this 8-week Teen Drawing Class stud...


  • CFHS 8th Annual Plein Air Event

    02/06/2016
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Chadds Ford Historical Society hosts its 8th annual Plein Air art event. Artists will be pain...


  • Arts Leadership Class for Teens

    02/07/2016
    12:00AM

    The Teen Arts Council of PA is excited to invite Chester County Teens to a free program combing t...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    02/07/2016
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • A World Beneath Our Feet

    02/07/2016
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    One single teaspoon of soil contains more beneficial microorganisms than there are people living ...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/09/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/11/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    02/11/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Craft and Create

    02/11/2016
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Gather up your craft projects and get away from the distractions at home. The activity room will...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/05/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Oxford Has Heart First Friday

    02/05/2016
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Heart Health Awareness Music & Food Shops & Art American Red Cross Blood Drive - Please sche...


  • Oxford Has Heart First Friday

    02/05/2016
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us for food, music, and fun at Downtown Oxford's First Friday event, February 5, 2016 from 5...


  • Classical Guitar Concert with Brad Rau

    02/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Classical Guitarist Brad Rau will be performing at Taylor's Music in West Chester PA. The event ...


  • Arts Leadership Class for Teens

    02/06/2016
    12:00AM

    The Teen Arts Council of PA is excited to invite Chester County Teens to a free program combing t...


  • ASTON, PA DATA DESTRUCTION EVENT

    02/06/2016
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    This event will be held at our secure location at Elwyn Industries Warehouse, 1 Judy Way, Aston, ...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/06/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Ready to Read

    02/06/2016
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Ready to Read: Fizz, Boom, Read! STEAM Saturdays! Saturday, January 16 – Saturday, April 30 from...


  • Saturday Storytime

    02/06/2016
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Saturday Storytime at Avon Grove Library, the first Saturday of each month at 11 am. Babies and ...


  • Table Games

    02/06/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Adults we are hosting a table games event for you! Use the Library’s games or bring your own! Sc...


  • Teen Drawing Class with Louise Vinueza at Chester Springs Studio, Chester Springs Ages: 13 t...


  • Teen Drawing Class at Chester Springs Studio

    02/06/2016
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    Ideal for teens who want to further their drawing skills. In this 8-week Teen Drawing Class stud...


  • CFHS 8th Annual Plein Air Event

    02/06/2016
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Chadds Ford Historical Society hosts its 8th annual Plein Air art event. Artists will be pain...


  • Arts Leadership Class for Teens

    02/07/2016
    12:00AM

    The Teen Arts Council of PA is excited to invite Chester County Teens to a free program combing t...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    02/07/2016
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • A World Beneath Our Feet

    02/07/2016
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    One single teaspoon of soil contains more beneficial microorganisms than there are people living ...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/08/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Creative Clay Ages: 6 to 8 Instructor: Jessica Greet Length: 8 Weeks Start Date: Mondays, Jan...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    02/08/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/09/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/10/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Great pottery class for 9 to 12 year olds. Register now to reserve you place in the class! Stu...


  • Watercolor: An Exploration Level: Some experience required, Limit 10 students Instructor: Mick ...


  • Knit One, Crochet Too

    02/10/2016
    06:30PM — 08:00PM

    Stitch with us on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday each month. Free program for teens and adults. All sk...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/11/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    02/11/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Craft and Create

    02/11/2016
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Gather up your craft projects and get away from the distractions at home. The activity room will...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/12/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Wee Build Block Party

    02/12/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Come to the Oxford Library for a Block Party! Children of all ages are welcome to bring their ima...


  • Parents Night Out: Natural Valentines

    02/12/2016
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Make a special valentine for our sweet marsh animals. Friday, February 12, 6:30 - 8:30pm Memb...


  • Arts Leadership Class for Teens

    02/13/2016
    12:00AM

    The Teen Arts Council of PA is excited to invite Chester County Teens to a free program combing t...


  • ASTON, PA DATA DESTRUCTION EVENT

    02/13/2016
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    This event will be held at our secure location at Elwyn Industries Warehouse, 1 Judy Way, Aston, ...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/13/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Feed the Birds

    02/13/2016
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    We all love the colorful winter birds! Come take a family hike and visit the Ashland feeders! P...


  • Ready to Read

    02/13/2016
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Ready to Read: Fizz, Boom, Read! STEAM Saturdays! Saturday, January 16 – Saturday, April 30 from...


  • Archery in Amish Country

    02/13/2016
    12:30PM — 07:00PM

    Spend an afternoon shooting bows and arrows at Lancaster Archery Supply the world’s largest arc...


  • Mammals of Southeastern Pennsylvania

    02/13/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Learn about the different mammals that live in Southeastern Pennsylvania by examining skulls, pel...


  • Teen Drawing Class with Louise Vinueza at Chester Springs Studio, Chester Springs Ages: 13 t...


  • Teen Drawing Class at Chester Springs Studio

    02/13/2016
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    Ideal for teens who want to further their drawing skills. In this 8-week Teen Drawing Class stud...


  • Arts Leadership Class for Teens

    02/14/2016
    12:00AM

    The Teen Arts Council of PA is excited to invite Chester County Teens to a free program combing t...


  • Seasonal Farm Fun & Food: Farm Valentines

    02/14/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    The Coverdale Farm animals are awaiting Valentine's Day to see who will show them some love! Wi...


  • Wizards and Lizards Overnight

    02/14/2016
    03:00PM

    Pack your wands and your sleeping bags! Join us for this classic wintry Wizardry event! Spooky ...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/15/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Creative Clay Ages: 6 to 8 Instructor: Jessica Greet Length: 8 Weeks Start Date: Mondays, Jan...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    02/15/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/16/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    02/16/2016
    04:30PM — 05:30PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • Kids Book Club

    02/16/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Join us at the Chester Springs Library on Tuesday, January 19 from 6 – 7 PM for Kids Book Club. ...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/17/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Native Evergreens

    02/17/2016
    10:00AM — 12:30PM

    Evergreens form the backbone of winter landscapes as well as provide shelter and food sources for...


  • Native Evergreens

    02/17/2016
    10:00AM — 12:30PM

    Evergreens form the backbone of winter landscapes as well as provide shelter and food sources for...


  • Great pottery class for 9 to 12 year olds. Register now to reserve you place in the class! Stu...


  • Watercolor: An Exploration Level: Some experience required, Limit 10 students Instructor: Mick ...


  • SCCCC Annual Meeting Breakfast

    02/18/2016
    07:30AM — 10:00AM

    The Annual Meeting is the official introduction of the Chamber's Board of Directors. The Chairman...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/18/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    02/18/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Teen Book Club

    02/18/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Join us at the Chester Springs Library on Thursday, January 21 from 6 – 7 PM for Teen Book Club! ...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/19/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Green by Nature Preschool: Wonders of Winter

    02/19/2016
    09:30AM — 11:00AM

    Wake up hibernating senses as we use sleepy eyes, ears, and noses in the crisp winter air. Smel...


  • An evening of Jazz performances with over 200 students from 10 area schools. Food and drink will...


  • Freud's Last Session

    02/19/2016
    08:00PM

    Freud’s Last Session centers on a hypothetical meeting between legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmun...


  • Arts Leadership Class for Teens

    02/20/2016
    12:00AM

    The Teen Arts Council of PA is excited to invite Chester County Teens to a free program combing t...


  • ASTON, PA DATA DESTRUCTION EVENT

    02/20/2016
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    This event will be held at our secure location at Elwyn Industries Warehouse, 1 Judy Way, Aston, ...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/20/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Ready to Read

    02/20/2016
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Ready to Read: Fizz, Boom, Read! STEAM Saturdays! Saturday, January 16 – Saturday, April 30 from...


  • Bird Box Building For Families

    02/20/2016
    12:30PM — 04:00PM

    Spring is coming and bluebirds and wrens will soon be house hunting! Give these gorgeous birds a ...


  • Marvels of Migration

    02/20/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Whether traveling alone or in flocks, by day or by night, searching for prey or avoiding becoming...


  • Landscape for Life

    02/20/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Create healthy, beautiful landscapes using a toolkit of basic skills that work in harmony with na...


  • Wildlife in Winter

    02/20/2016
    01:00PM — 02:30PM

    Return to Bucktoe for part II of the nature walk series focused on camouflage and other methods o...


  • Marvels of Migration

    02/20/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Whether traveling alone or in flocks, by day or by night, searching for prey or avoiding becoming...


  • Landscape for Life

    02/20/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Create healthy, beautiful landscapes using a toolkit of basic skills that work in harmony with na...


  • Teen Drawing Class with Louise Vinueza at Chester Springs Studio, Chester Springs Ages: 13 t...


  • Teen Drawing Class at Chester Springs Studio

    02/20/2016
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    Ideal for teens who want to further their drawing skills. In this 8-week Teen Drawing Class stud...


  • Newark Symphony Chamber Concert

    02/20/2016
    07:30PM — 09:00PM

    NEWARK SYMPHONY 2015-16 CHAMBER CONCERT Simeone Tartaglione, Music Director Ryan Tibbetts, Ass...


  • Freud's Last Session

    02/20/2016
    08:00PM

    Freud’s Last Session centers on a hypothetical meeting between legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmun...


  • Arts Leadership Class for Teens

    02/21/2016
    12:00AM

    The Teen Arts Council of PA is excited to invite Chester County Teens to a free program combing t...


  • Tail Waggin' Tutors

    02/21/2016
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    Practice reading to a certified therapy dog. This relaxed animal friendly atmosphere allows stud...


  • Owl and Raptor Fest

    02/21/2016
    02:00PM — 04:30PM

    Join us for an afternoon of having fun learning about owls and other raptors. This program is f...


  • Freud's Last Session

    02/21/2016
    08:00PM

    Freud’s Last Session centers on a hypothetical meeting between legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmun...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/22/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Creative Clay Ages: 6 to 8 Instructor: Jessica Greet Length: 8 Weeks Start Date: Mondays, Jan...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    02/22/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/23/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/24/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Great pottery class for 9 to 12 year olds. Register now to reserve you place in the class! Stu...


  • Cultivars, Roadside Restorations, and More

    02/24/2016
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Two questions are common among native plant enthusiasts: “Do cultivars of native plants provide t...


  • Cultivars, Roadside Restorations, and More

    02/24/2016
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Two questions are common among native plant enthusiasts: “Do cultivars of native plants provide t...


  • Watercolor: An Exploration Level: Some experience required, Limit 10 students Instructor: Mick ...


  • Knit One, Crochet Too

    02/24/2016
    06:30PM — 08:00PM

    Stitch with us on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday each month. Free program for teens and adults. All sk...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/25/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Fundamentals of Pruning

    02/25/2016
    10:00AM — 02:30PM

    Proper pruning of shrubs and trees improves their structure and health while enhancing their appe...


  • Fundamentals of Pruning

    02/25/2016
    10:00AM — 02:30PM

    Proper pruning of shrubs and trees improves their structure and health while enhancing their appe...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    02/25/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Freud's Last Session

    02/25/2016
    08:00PM

    Freud’s Last Session centers on a hypothetical meeting between legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmun...


  • Give the Gift of Creativity!

    02/26/2016
    09:30AM — 06:30PM

    This holiday season give the gift of creativity! Historic Yellow Springs offers classes in fine a...


  • Green by Nature: DEEC's Winter Wonderland

    02/26/2016
    09:30AM — 11:00AM

    What animals use the pond in winter? Discover animal tracks in the snow and touch real animal fur...


  • Wee Build Block Party

    02/26/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Come to the Oxford Library for a Block Party! Children of all ages are welcome to bring their ima...


  • Classical Guitar and Wine

    02/26/2016
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Brad Rau will be performing Classical Guitar Saturday February 26th 2016 from 7-10 pm at the Kreu...


  • "Dixie Swim Club"

    02/26/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    A hilarious, all female cast that consists of five southern women, whose friendships began many y...


  • Freud's Last Session

    02/26/2016
    08:00PM

    Freud’s Last Session centers on a hypothetical meeting between legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmun...


 

 

 

Chester County High School Sports