“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” (Golda Meir. Statement to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., 1957)
On Monday, Amal Haniyeh, the granddaughter of Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was hospitalized in Israel in critical condition. Hamas is a terror organization that stands behind Gilad Shalit’s captivity, several suicide bombers who took many lives in Israeli restaurants and malls, missiles that are constantly being fired to southern Israel and an overall death wish to all that’s Israeli or Jewish.
Hamas is one of Israel’s worst nightmares and still, its finest doctors did everything in their power to save the life of Haniyeh’s granddaughter. When life is at stake, even if it’s the life of an enemy, Israel puts any disputes behind. It happens almost on a daily basis, when Palestinian prisoners, who are many times convicted terrorists, receiving medical treatment; it happened just a few months ago, when it was discovered that Israel is quietly treating Syrian war victims; it happened last week when the terrorist who stabbed soldier Eden Atias in his sleep was taken to a hospital to receive medical treatment for a few minor injuries, only moments after the crime.
When it comes to the value of life, Israel asks no questions. Some would criticize it, saying terrorists must be executed and not treated and retiring to a life in Israeli prison that’s far better than life in their homes. But the question of “eye for an eye” seems to minimize in comparison to the value of life. A life is a life is a life, no matter how wrong one had done.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our neighbors. Since an early age, Palestinian children are being educated to hate and are being trained to kill. True, they are not in the high position Israel is at, and therefore may need to grow a survival instinct, but the outcome is automatic machines knowing that “the Jews” are devils and must be stopped at any cost.
The Israeli military can destroy all of the Palestinian territories and kill everyone who live there, but that doesn’t happen. Instead, we sit at the negotiation table, trying to figure out a solution. At the same time, we are treating the most vicious killers, even though we can leave them to die. We want terrorists to pay for their crimes, but instead we are freeing them as part of a goodwill gesture prior the actual “peace talks.” At the same time, a new generation of terrorists grows, right across the border. They don’t learn to sit and talk and open a window to peace. They learn that the value of their lives is being measured in how many Jews they kill.
Not all of our neighbors treat their children this way, the way that not all of the Israelis teach their children to value all life. But a majority is enough to characterize an entire community. This gap between the basic grasp of life pushes any chance of peace away. Freeing terrorists as goodwill after providing them with a medical care is no good for Israel nor for any future peace, for those terrorists will strike again, much like Haniyeh will not stop firing at Israel.
Peace is all about attitude. It is not about what you say when you interview to the press, but what you project in your community. Peace is based, first and foremost, on the value of life, on loving your children more than you hate your enemy.