From My Palestinian Eyes
Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? If yes, how and when? If no, why not? As a good faith disclosure, I am a Christian American of Arab decent. I was born in Jordan in 1968 to Palestinian parents. I would love to see peace in the region and land of my ancestors. As a Christian, I may have a different perspective from that of a Muslim or a Jew. I grew up in a Muslim country and was raised in an Arab-American culture. I understand the Arab psyche and values.
Benefits of war
What would it take for the Arabs (Muslims and Christians) and Jews (religious and secular) to achieve true peace? The first question should be, if peace is reached today who would it truly benefit? On the surface the quick answer is everyone. If one digs deeper, it would become easy to see that not everyone would benefit from peace. Who benefits from a continued state of war? Some people and groups would lose their power and influence if peace is achieved. Extremists would have a smaller audience and fewer donors, thus have a vested interest to prolong and perpetuate the violence and conflict. Some foreign nations and world leaders support the continued violence in order to profit from the sale of military hardware and other goods. Not everyone would benefit from peace.
Benefits of peace
Back to the original question, who benefits from peace? The real beneficiary of peace is not just this generation but the next and future generations. Why wouldn’t every parent want peace and success for their children? Both sides would see an enormous growth in tourism and business should they compromise and settle their differences.
One must want peace
What would it take to achieve this seemingly impossible task? American presidents for decades have attempted, and none harder then President Clinton, to no avail. America and other nations can help, but the ultimate work falls on Palestinians and Israelis. Both sides have to want peace in order to achieve it. Past failures have been due to one or both parties not really wanting peace. It’s not what either side wants, but rather what their enemy wants. If Israel wants peace and the Palestinians want the destruction of the Jewish state, then peace is impossible. Palestinians must truly want peace in order for peace to be within reach. Both sides must love their children more than territories. Moderates must view extremists as an obstacle and alienate them.
For the children
Palestinians must love their children and value their future more. One must ask what type of person and society that accepts the notion of glorifying children martyrdom? What type of society would allow children to carry suicide belts and machine guns? As a parent, my children are my life and how I raise them will be my legacy and monument. I can’t imagine promoting my children to kill themselves (not to mention to kill others) for anything. The value of human life must be elevated in the Arab world. Arabs must love their children more in order to achieve peace, until then there will be no peace.
Originally published here on August 21, 2011.
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