March 13, 2013 | 12:35 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
In the past couple of weeks, I have encountered a record number of hateful messages, written by Palestinians, calling me a terrorist and a killer and wishing for my immediate death. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I thought that the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the decision makers on both sides. I thought it all revolved around the "peace conversations" between Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, and that it is the only way for this complicated, everlasting conflict to end. I thought it was all about the agreement between the two on a proper division of this small, yet coveted piece of land. Turns out, I was wrong. In the past couple of weeks I slowly came to the understanding that in order for this conflict to end, it takes more than two leaders to want to solve it, it takes two communities to want to solve it.
In order for this conflict to be solved, both Israelis and Palestinians must come to the full realizations that this is, in fact, a conflict, which means that both sides take an equal part of it. It takes two to tango, and only the realization of that by both sides, the ability to stand up and admit that there is not one victim and one aggressor, will push our leaders to end this more quickly.
In case I did not make it clear in previous posts, I believe that Israel has a part in this conflict. Israel is not a sole victim, and not an angel. In fact, Israel makes up a whole 50% in this conflict. Surprisingly, the same goes for the Palestinians. If you think you got an article from a paper or a website to prove me wrong, I encourage you to think about where the article is being taken from, and how it is most likely that there is another article, written by a different person, that will show the exact opposite point of view on the exact same matter. Media on both sides constantly tries to make "them" seem like the ultimate criminals/terrorists/ lowlifes, etc. That is why we all need to put these articles aside and just talk.
I truly believe that if instead of always searching for "facts" to prove the other side wrong, instead of insulting and wishing bad things for each other, we must try and listen, and everything will change. We must not only open our mouths, but also our ears, being truly prepared to take criticism, and also say ours. We must take into account not only our personal experiences, and instead of trying to insult and hurt, try and come up with a solution.
Both sides must understand that they are also hurting, and not only defending. Deaths occur on both sides. But instead of counting which side has more bodies, we should try and celebrate life in order to make this area a better place. It probably won't happen today, or next week, or even a decade from now, but if this message will slowly sink into all of our hearts, we might find out the solution is more possible than we think.
I don't hate Palestinians, and I truly wish for them to live properly in a land of their own. But I also love Israel, and strongly believe it had the right to defend itself against those who wish to destroy it and spread all the Jews back all over the world. It is not Palestinians that try to destroy us, it is a small group of haters within them, just like there is a small group of haters within us who wish there will be no Palestinians. What we must do, is don't let these haters take over social networks and public opinion. When they do that, they make us believe that the other side, as a whole, is an aggressor and hater and that "there is no one to talk to."
I believe there is someone to talk to. More than one. It was only a year ago when we learned that most Iranians and Israelis actually love each other and wish no harm to one another. Who says we won't find that fact true in this case as well? It is not an easy process, I know. I am not a conflict expert, but I don't think it takes one to realize that all conflicts can be solved. This conflict is very complicated and has many layers, and true, the only ones who can really put an end to this are our leaders. However, right now, they have no true encouragement to truly solve the problems.
Our leaders are afraid that their people will not support any compromise, which will be needed in ending the conflict. This is where we step in. This is where we take a deep breath, put our pride aside, and admit: "my side is also to blame on this, just like the other side is." After that, the road to an honest, open, patient conversation is a short one. But while it may be short, once we will get on it, there will be no shortcuts. We must understand that as well.
I am a stubborn person. Always have been. I find it extremely hard to admit I am not a 100% right. But right now I am in a place where I think I am ready to try and open my ears, not only my mouth, and listen. I want a better future. I want this conflict to end. Who's with me?
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