I may not know hardly any Hebrew, but I at least know one word: shalom. This shalom is really interesting stuff, sometimes difficult to define. Around Christmas time they herald its virtues, and after wars they’re glad it’s back. And now Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State, is looking to bring some to the ancient dominion of Israel.
Although Israelis may utter ‘peace’ every day, their country is anything but peaceful. For centuries the Palestinians have been battering at them, and for what reason? Supposedly to affirm their ‘identity.’ As peace is once again discussed in Israel, I see something strangely ironic about the situation, and I strongly doubt that as brilliant a person Ms. Rice may be, even she will not be able to make the Palestinians quit fighting.
In 2000 and 2001 a peace summit was held offering the Palestinians ’97 percent of the West Bank, all of Gaza, a capital in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and billions in international aid’ (WORLD Magazine, ‘Making or Breaking Peace,’ by Jill Nelson). Hey, sounds like a deal to me! Do you think they took it? Of course not.
Although I may err, I am totally convinced that the Palestinians, in their present mindset, will settle for nothing short of the eradication of the Israeli nation. They may be trying to establish their identity as a nation, and they certainly want Israel’s land, but this is not their main reason for their violent acts!
‘So,’ you ask, ‘if all the Palestinians are after is to kill the Israelis, what’s to be done?’ Well, I can tell you one thing, no number of insistent peace talks will persuade them. Instead, somehow, some way, the mind of this people must be permeated and changed over successive generations. This whole conflict began with Abraham’s adultery with Hagar, and the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael have never ceased telling their children that Canaan is their land and should be excluded from the other party.
Is this impossible? No. Exceedingly difficult, yes. Personally, I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I am however convinced that if ever this conflict ends, it will be in a change of mindset, which will not come easily in the least.