Jewish Journal

The faces of the conflict: last night’s images

by Noga Gur-Arieh

August 14, 2013 | 9:38 am

A lot has been said about the renewal of the peace talks. In the past few weeks, newspapers were filled with commentary from Middle-East specialists, discussing the chances of failure or success. Some dismissed the possibility of an agreement; some asked us to give peace a chance. Some wrote about how Israel will face international boycott and sanctions if these talks are not successful, as if there was no other side of this conflict. Those people failed to see the pain in the eyes of the families, whose loved ones were brutally murdered in the name of God-knows-what, when 26 terrorists were released last night, as a gesture of goodwill from Israel, before the negotiations even began.

Last night, two powerful images faced each other. In the first,  celebrations in Gaza, accompanied by the sounds of sirens in Israeli cities near the border. In the second, families, whose loved ones’ lives were taken by Palestinian terrorists mourned. People with families, friends and dreams who suddenly were no more, and now their families were forced to see their killers being released, preparing to strike again, to take other lives, as soon as they are able to.

Last night's images, of celebration and joy contrasted with the sadness and pain of others, are why these Peace Talks, at this current arrangement, will never work. When Israel is willing to release terrorists with blood on their hands before the negotiations even begin, and this painful gesture of goodwill is being accepted in celebrations of victory, the gap just might be too wide to cross. When one side of the conflict worships terror and calls for the death of all Jews in Israel, publicly and with pride – how can there be any success at the negotiation table? How can we achieve peace when one side reaches for peace, doing the unthinkable and releasing terrorists, while the other side is applauding the next generation of killing machines?

Last night's images will forever be remembered by anyone who sees the truth, and will soon be forgotten by those who still believe the entire peace process lies solely on Israel's shoulders. Last night's images were a proof of how ideologically divergent the two sides of this conflict are. Israel is not without error, but last night, Israel took an enormous step towards peace, one that may raise the death toll amongst Israeli civilians, and received  the cold shoulder. For peace to truly be achieved, both sides of the bargain must reach for one another. Idolizing and celebrating terror, in the face of hurting families, is far from reaching out, and does not reflect a true desire for peace.

The gap between the two parties must be narrowed, but instead, it grows wider with time, and soon it will be impossible to close. If I hadn't known better, I would say the Palestinians want this process to fail, because the foreign media, as they have in the past, will present the failure as Israel's fault and then, the world will be the Palestinians’ oyster. Luckily, I do know better, or at least hope so, and I call both sides to show their belief in peace, before it is too late.

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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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