Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Yesterday Secretary of State John Kerry was in the Middle East trying to bring peace to the region. I have friends who are both Jewish and Palestinian. Each wants me to side with their views of this hateful event. Each wants me to see the pictures of their dead children. Children on both sides are being killed.  War is always a horrible answer to a conflict.

The problems in this region of the world go back to a time before I was born. I understand some of those feelings because my family is Irish and as Irish-Americans we faced those same issues of what the Irish call the troubles. It is a mild word for a long period of killing on both sides of the conflict. Parents and families would teach their children to hate the other side from birth. Children were told horror stories of how family members and friends of the family were murdered by the other side. What they did not tell their children was that some families intermarried with people from the other side. They also did not tell their children that hate would never stop the conflict. You cannot paint the other side of a conflict as demons and expect peace. How could anyone negotiate in good faith with a demon?

Real peace will come to Israel and Palestine, when people stop hating one another and start working together for peace over the objection of many of their own people. Ireland was able to achieve peace and so can the Middle East when men and women of vision understand that hate is not the answer that will lead to a peaceful world for their children.

We all say that we are against war when it comes to the United States but to truly be against war means to work for peace no matter where in the world conflict starts. I am hoping that John Kerry has success in his attempts to get the parties to stop shooting at each other. In the end it will be up to the leaders of Israel and Palestine to find a path to lasting peace. The first step will be to see that the other side is made up of people and not demons.