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July 22, 2013

Skeptical yet hopeful- the days after Kerry’s announcement

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/skeptical_yet_hopeful_the_days_after_kerrys_announcement/

Photo

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to reporters near the Jordanian city of Mafraq on July 18. Photo by Mandel Ngan/Reuters

Kerry's announcement on Friday surely drew everybody's attention. It came out of nowhere. While the people of Israel were sitting on their couches, loosening their belts after their Shabbat dinners, and glancing at their Smartphones, it suddenly hit us- the negotiation is being renewed. For a minute there, everyone was thrilled. It almost seemed as if peace is right around the corner. But after the confetti from the festive announcement fell on the ground, we all sighed and went back to digest our dinners.

As much as Kerry's announcement seemed like big news, the people of Israel did not seem to be thrilled or excited. Almost as if we know it would not end well, and even if there will be a happy ending, it will not happen soon. As the foreign press celebrates, surrounded by an aura of hope, we here are still skeptical. We know that joining the celebration of the yet to be achieved peace may cost us too much.

We've been burned many times before, so many times that the peace treaty is starting to resemble the story of the boy who cried "wolf!" We know better than to start celebrating, we know better than stop worrying. It is impossible to stop worrying, because every time we do that, every time we put our emotional guard down, we get hurt.

Kerry's effort is highly appreciated. He is doing a remarkable job in trying to bring this thing to a close. He is going back and forth, sweating with effort, hoping the next time would be the last time, and he could go back home with the achievement of his life. But the way it looks from down here, far away from the negotiation table and too close to the missiles and BDS, peace is not as close as it appears to be.

Here, we are cynical and skeptical and too beat up to actually believe in a change. But while we make jokes on the outside, deep inside we still have a pinch of hope. With Kerry's announcement, we sighed, but also made a wish that this time, it will be true. Too late for us, who spent our childhood hiding in shelters, and our youth carrying weapons and taking cover, but maybe, just maybe, it will happen for our children. When our parents made this wish, it didn't come true. Their children's childhood was similar to theirs. Now, it is our turn to make a wish for our children, and hope they could have a childhood that's innocent and pure.

It is hard not to be skeptical. Reality taught us that in this conflict, peace treaties are not respected. But when news like Kerry's appears, after a long time of uncertainty, it is also hard not to believe that change is possible, that the future can be bright. Our children's fate is now in the hands of two leaders who are about to sit and talk. Don't disappoint us.

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