Peace in the Middle East?

Peace in the Middle East?

I had dinner tonight with a friend at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. It’s a trendy three block area where the streets have been turned into pedestrian areas.

I wonder, could we have dinner in a area like that in Israel? Do people still freely gather in Israel in busy areas with lots of restaurants? Or do they stay home fearful of – depending on your ethnicity – suicide bombers and car bombs or rampaging soldiers and tanks? The rate of alcohol / drug / spousal / child abuse there must be soaring as people crack from the strain. When a car backfires on a busy street in Israel do people dive for cover?

Baffling as it may seems to Americans, it is not uncommon in the Arab world to view an Iraq war as inseparable from the Palestinians wanting a homeland. They see these issues as being the same.

Something I’ve noticed in the peace movement, some groups get labelled as radical, and others don’t. What’s the difference between them? I think it can be put in one word – Palestinians. Radicals talk about Palestinians, moderates don’t. You can talk about nearly any issue at a peace meeting or rally, and some will listen and others won’t. However, mention Palestinians, and you can almost feel the tension rise.

There’s been grotesque atrocities on all sides of this conflict. Not to mention dozens of players, all with their own agendas. It’s hard to see how it can ever work out. But, until Palestinians have a place to call home, there is no chance of peace in the Middle East.