July 27, 2009

What We Want

"We want to live, and our children not to blow up."

This is a quote from Mr. Pindrus, the former mayor of Beitar Illit, one of the settlements expanding precariously close to the currently (and only relatively) accepted Israeli border on the West Bank. He is a Haredi, an ultra-Orthodox Jew currently living in the Palestinian-Israeli war zone that most of us cringe back from on the evening news.

The paradox of Palestine is a quandary that has haunted both Jews and Arabs, and the rest of the politically active world, for decades. To put it simply, quite a few people want to live in those hotly contested 10000 square miles, and most of them seem to want to hurt each other very badly.

But things might not be quite as they seem in that respect.

Many Jews are outraged at the Palestinians' actions. Many Palestinians are similarly outraged at the Jews' actions. (I think they should all be outraged at Britain's actions in promising both groups the same piece of land after World War One, but I guess that part got forgotten in the shuffle.) There are religious and socioeconomic differences aplenty that contribute to the ongoing (and ongoing, and ongoing) conflict.

But if I could take a closer look at the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, maybe I would see one simple thought: "We want to live, and our children not to blow up." That is a sentiment with which I can sympathize, indeed a sentiment with which every human on this earth can sympathize.

Maybe I'm wrong and it's all down to religious differences and whether the gates we walk through have pearls on them or not... But regardless, when I read Mr. Pindrus' words in the New York Times today, I was struck by just how similar all we humans are, and just how awful it is that we end up killing each other's children.

Because, really, we just "want to live, and our children not to blow up." 

Here's the NYTimes link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/27/world/middleeast/27settlers.html?pagewanted=4&_r=1&ref=todayspaper

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