Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How Israel and Palestine Can Move Forward?

A few days ago I read this op-ed and I keep thinking about it:

Before and since that op-ed there have been several others proposing various ways to make peace, but this one strikes me as fundamentally different.

In brief, it proposes that the thing that would really mean something to the Palenstinians would be an apology from Israel. And the thing that would really mean something to Israel would be if Palestinians would recognize Israel's right to exist (and change the textbooks, etc. that deny it).

First off, this comes from actually asking each side, "What would you do if the other side did this, or that?" and picking the most positive response. Actual data and conversations with at least representatives of each side.

Secondly, it is based on forgiveness. Apologies and "right to exist" language can be dismissed as empty words, but how else would forgiveness be expressed? And if the words are empty, then just give it a try, if it doesn't work you haven't lost anything material. I think even an empty recitation of the words can pull dialogue in the right direction.

If saying the words is somehow compromising spiritual values or some kind of idealism, I respond that Jesus' words and actions were condemned for somehow compromising who God was, God's "spiritual values," so to speak. That got him tried for blasphemy.

I may be missing something but this seems like something that's just worth trying. Most likely it smacks of naive idealism. And I still don't see how Israel can give up the West Bank given the constant flow of rockets into (and out of) Gaza. I still keep thinking of Jesus' words. Words are worth trying.

Feel free to disagree in the comments.


Dwayne and Denise Need said...

Very thoughtful article and seems to be scouting out the way of thinking our country under Obama will hopefully be leaning toward.

And I think Scott Becker would approve.

To put in a plug for a series I have discovered last year, I have found this same sort of thinking ("Let's use our words first as we understand cultural differences of our supposed enemies") in a high fantasy series called Codex Alera by Jim Butcher. I'm being romantic, of course, but I thought the protagonist has several similarities with Obama.

Deanna said...

There will be no peace in Israel until the Palestinians decide to love life more than death. When you want your enemies "driven into the sea" and are willing to blow yourself up to achieve that goal, there can be no negotiation or peace. When you use women and children as human shields and use schools and hospitals as missile launch sites, there can be no negotiation or peace.

The only other way there will be peace in Israel is when Christ returns. If I were a betting woman, I'd say that will happen long before the Palestinians give up their culture of death.

Daniel Phillips said...

There has been a similar long-standing debate over whether White Australians should apologize their mistreatment of Aboriginal people. Last year, the new PM, Kevin Rudd, apologized quite specifically for issues associated with "The Stolen Generation" (crudely speaking: attempts to assimilate Aboriginal people into White society by removing them from their parents and placing them in 'orphanages')

I absolutely agree that this is a biblical way forward. That words have power---power to heal or power to wound---is a notion that extends from Genesis to Revelation. And so dismissing apologies as "merely empty words" seems to me to connote a non-biblical worldview.

Of course, actions must follow, or the repentance is not real, right? But there has to be a place to start reconciliation, and this seems like the place Jesus wants us to begin.