I wrote the post “Being from Gaza” during the Israeli attack on Gaza this summer when thousands of civilians died. Now news popped up the other day on the shooting during prayer time in a synagogue in Jerusalem and the predictable counterattacks by the Israeli army. I wanted to comment on the violence and then I found this quote on the Facebook page “Palestine Loves Israel“, a peacepromoting page (not a pro-Israel page) managed by a Palestinian. He captured things so well that I’d like to let his quote speak for itself.
“I’ve been managing this page for almost 3 years and during this time, I’ve met hundreds of amazing people from both sides and from every corner of the world. We’ve endured two wars together, we’ve celebrated our holidays together (who can forget the chanukka candles from Gaza?) and mourned our dead together. During all this time, I’ve never lost hope that one day, we can live as neighbors and friends in peace and prosperity. I don’t loose hope because I know we’re all in this together.
But in times like this, I see so much hatred on both sides. It’s painful to watch. What I see is always the same: It’s dehumanization. It’s easy to dehumanize the other side, to call them monsters, to hate them. It’s much easier than to try and find a solution. In times like this, it’s a very difficult thing to reach out to the other side, especially when there is so much pain. It’s a difficult thing to show compassion for “the enemy” when you’re supposed to be hating them. Reaching out to the other side despite the traumatic pain, despite the ongoing conflict is a heroic act. Dehumanizing and hating everyone on the other side is certainly easier. But it’s not helpful. It’s fueling the fire. And the vicious cycle of hate and revenge is going on and on…
In this project, I’ve met many heroes. I’ve met Palestinians and Israelis who reached out to each other, no matter what. Who said: “I’m sorry for your pain, I wish you well” in the middle of war. Who said: “I love you so much and say hi to your mom!” despite the ongoing conflict. I’ve met so many heroes… people who changed from extremists into peace workers. People who let go their hate and replaced it with compassion. So many heroes…
No, I don’t loose hope.
Please stay safe everyone and take good care of each other. These are troubled times but we will make it through together.“
Photocredit: abc.net.au (the photo is from a previous attack in Jerusalem)