news in Middle East
The horrors of war cannot be described strictly from the aspect of pure physical suffering. How can you ever truly describe in world the loss of a child due to a bomb strike or a parent as the result of terrorism? Tragically, the people of Israel and Palestine have endured more than sixty five years of warfare. The struggle for the control of Palestine started long before the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. One of the saddest parts of this conflict is that both sides have been the victims of injustices from outside of the region. Centuries of foreign conquerors and political exploitation have brought misery to Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze in this part of the world.
Israelis and Palestinians both are fighting for their right to self-determination and security. The constant fear of an imminent outbreak of fighting, children sleeping in safe shelters, parents unable to work and support their families, and fearing for the safety of friends and loved ones has been a way of life in this region for decades. Hopefully, this current round of talks will produce movement toward peace.
I was honored to be chosen by The Focolare, the largest Catholic outreach movement in the world to write an Israeli perspective on the recent fighting with Gaza. Below is the story:
This current round of fighting in the south has been very depressing because of the fact that it had to happen. There has been no political way of getting the Hamas terrorists to stop firing explosives at our civilians.
This, tragically, has been the history of life in Israel since the Jewish people returned to their ancestral homeland in 1948. Many of my friends and neighbors have fought in several wars. Many of them spent their early childhood sleeping in bomb shelters.
I am particularly saddened by the fact that I know many Palestinians through interfaith activities.
Hopefully by the time the fighting ends there will be some important changes in our lives in both Israel and the Palestinian territories. Most of us yearn for the day when the people who have been enduring such rocket fire will be able to live normal lives. The missile attacks have spread from the south to much of Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Citizens throughout Israel live in constant fear of missile and terrorist attacks.
Our friends and neighbors in the Palestinian territories are suffering from our need to defend our right to exist. We are all saddened by the deaths and injuries of everyone on both sides of this battle.
We pray that a ground war be avoided. However, no one knows which way this engagement will turn. We are bracing ourselves for the worst, yet still hoping for the best.
Defeat in this region is not an option for Jews. The greatest hope is for a political settlement. Peace treaties will surely involve compromise. Peace will allow our children and grandchildren and their grandchildren to live without fear of being bombed. They will attend their schools safely, without the need for air raid sirens and bomb shelters. We would rejoice to see our Palestinian friends and neighbors live in peace and dignity with us. I am convinced that most Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druze citizens in our region yearn for the fighting to end.
Until that day, we in Israel do not despair of the situation, and we make the best of what has been, until now, a satisfying and fulfilling life within the shadow and pain of the constant state of military engagement with many enemies.