It’s a complicated place, the Holy Land. Thousands upon thousands of years of bloodshed, hatred, suffering, one-upmanship, conquest, and death have taken its toll and to even begin trying to make sense of things there gives me a massive feeling of unease.
With the recent outburst of violence in Israel and Gaza, I found my Facebook news feed pouring with status updates, photos, and links either supporting or denouncing Israel’s actions against the Palestinian population in Gaza or vice versa. I probably have well over 100 friends on Facebook connected to Israel in some way, whether as Israelis, children of Israelis, or people who lived in Israel at some point. The reactions were varied all across the board; some shocking and some predictable. I discovered people’s true feelings regarding the situation. Some people were more eloquent than others, maybe some wrote in English while others preferred to write in Hebrew to get their point across. Debates broke out. People generally agreed. Some disagreed. Many images of propaganda were posted, most of which were anti-Palestinian. Some people got downright racist. Others remained hopeful for peace and love. Some showed humor while others displayed desperation and stress. Many posted news stories from around the world from pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian points of views. Very few chose not to acknowledge the situation at all.
I think it’s too easy to sit here thousands of miles away and form an opinion either for or against either side. I’ve never been awoken by a siren, never heard the thundering boom of an Iron Dome intercepting a rogue rocket with its loud screech. I’ve never received a leaflet from the sky warning me to evacuate my home for an impending missile attack nor had to stop my car in the middle of the highway, get out and take cover. I’ve been inside a bomb shelter once, but only ironically.
In the end I feel like I always feel when these things happen---that there really won’t be any peace. Maybe it’s because I’m a pessimist or a cynic, but I just don’t feel like things will get any better-at least not during my lifetime. There is simply too much anger and misunderstanding on both sides among the general population and too much arrogance and hatred among the ruling parties. People will just keep dying and the cycle will continue.
Of course I wish for peace for all Israelis and Palestinians and that they could exist independently and peacefully in their own states without interference from the other side, but that simply will not happen. There are too many obstacles standing in the way of peace. But slowly, there are people on each side determined to make a change, to stand for peace and understanding and to move forward. Give them a voice and maybe there will be a glimmer of hope.