Over the past few weeks the situation between the Israelis and Palestinians has once again gone from “tense” to “violent.”
The immediate precipitator was the murder of three Israeli teens — killed simply because they were Israeli Jews. There seemed little reason to doubt their deaths would have a negative impact on the peace process. After all, the Israeli government does not hesitate to respond when it finds those it believes are responsible, and the World tends to sees any response from Israel as “disproportionate.” But then, to make matters worse, Israeli citizens murdered an innocent Palestinian teen, and Palestinians are rioting in protest. The daily lives of many innocent Palestinians will be disrupted by additional security measures, and everyone in the area is now living with even more tension.
Israelis are mourning. Palestinians are mourning. And now our World — the only World that we have, the one that we somehow must find a way to share — contains more souls, both Muslim and Jewish, stained with the blood of innocent children . . . and that, my friends, leaves me incredibly sad for all of us . . . .
Admittedly, I am a Jew who loves Israel. But I’m not “against” Palestinians. I understand the disparity in income and employment opportunities between Israelis and Palestinians, and I’ve seen the disparity in living conditions. From the perspective of the average Palestinian, the situation is incredibly unfair! And, as a mother of two young kids, I know that nothing can make a parent as angry as not being able to provide for our children!!
I realize that, sixty-five years after Israel’s establishment, the Palestinians still don’t have a vocal political party that values infrastructure and education over the destruction of Israel, and I know that some people interpret that absence of a “reasonable” political party as indicative of a character flaw in the Palestinian people . . . but I don’t believe that! What I believe is that when any people — at least publicly and collectively — continues to place its hope for the future in leaders who do not quickly and unequivocally condemn the killing of children . . . those people must be facing a bleak, depressing, hopeless future!!
I’m not naive. I know the history of the Middle East is complicated. In fact, as far as I can tell, the evidence indicates everyone who ever had a hand in the region treated others unfairly at one point or another — including the Roman Empire, the Christian Crusaders, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, the Arab League, the PLO, Hamas, and, yes, even my beloved Israel.
So, perhaps, it’s time we all stopped looking for one group to blame and just admitted, “We are all to blame.” Let’s stop looking backward and start looking forward. How about we acknowledge everyone was wronged, and then we start working together to make things right for everyone?!
For years, well-intentioned, truly compassionate people from many nations and religions have been asking: “How do we keep Israelis safe from terrorists?” and “How do we keep innocent Palestinians from being harassed unnecessarily by the Israeli military?” We’ve donated money to human-rights organizations, supported troops, stood watch at check-points, reported atrocities from both sides . . . and prayed for a peace that doesn’t appear to be coming any closer.
So . . . what if we all start asking a different question:
“What can I do to bring hope for a better future to the average innocent Palestinian?“
Polls repeatedly indicate most Israelis and most Palestinians want a two-state solution . . . but can we really expect a two-state solution to be viable without two states that are viable?!? We must find a way to help Palestinians build an economy, without simultaneously funding terrorism. We must help them build functional infrastructure and a world-class education system. Only when Palestinians have hope for a better future for their children and grandchildren can we expect them to be motivated to take steps toward peace with Israel. Therefore, collectively, we need to help create hope for a better future!
Making peace between warring peoples . . .
— not an cease-fire imposed by the strong right hand of a super power, but true peace built on compassion and mutual respect —
THAT is what OUR G-d . . .
— The G-d of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed; The One who is also the many faces of the Hindu Deities and the Greek gods of legend, who is and has been worshipped by countless peoples and nations throughout the Ages, and who simultaneously is both All and Nothing . . .
wants, waits, and is trying to will us to do.
— All of us, without regard to race, religion, nationality, or any other classification category anyone has ever or will ever imagine!
We Must Make Peace.
— True peace. Lasting peace. Because that will be the Garden of Eden, Heaven, Nirvana, the Messianic Era, etc., . . .
Therefore, despite our sadness about the situation and, perhaps even more importantly, my friends, precisely because there is so much sadness about recent events . . . we must find ways to begin building hope for a better future within individual Palestinians.
May the One who creates harmony on high bring peace to all of us and comfort to all those who are mourning . . .
shavua tov, jen