A post from three years ago - and something to think about as the US enters election year.
What you can't solve up close... January 16, 2009
...you probably can't solve from thousands of miles away either. That's a lesson every US president for the last 60 years has learned and yet, somehow never manage to pass on to the new incoming president.
Last week, the United Nations voted for a ceasefire. Good for them! I'm glad they've decided to stop firing; now back to Gaza.
This week, Barack Obama is getting ready to step into the fray. Unfortunately, as soon as he steps in, his feet are likely to get as dirty as if he went to visit George W. Bush's ranch and went a'walking in the cow fields. What each president fails to understand, what seems so obvious to Israelis, is that you cannot make peace until BOTH sides want it.
Israel has offered. Israel has compromised. Israel withdrew its people from Gaza years ago. It was a heart-wrenching, difficult, and ultimately wrong unilateral move because, as so many of us predicted, all it did was give the rocket launchers a better position from which to launch their missiles. Hebrew is not a language spoken or know by many around the world, and yet all know the one simple word for peace, "Shalom." In your language does "peace" also mean "hello" and "goodbye"? It does in mine. Not totally - we say "Allo?" when we answer the telephone, but when we meet people and then when we part from their company, we say "shalom." We greet them and leave them with the single wish for peace.
Jerusalem (see the "salem" part?) - means City of Peace. It is part of our prayers and our culture and our daily yearning. Weekly, we wish each other - Shabbat shalom - the peace of the Sabbath. Peace is part of who we are as much as what we strive to achieve. We accepted the partition of our land in 1947 because peace was better than war...it was the Arabs, then and every day since, for the last 62 years, that has chosen war, rejected peace. We are not the obstacles to peace in the Middle East.
Compare our culture, the rhetoric of our leaders, to that of the Palestinians. You will never find an Israeli leader say about our culture what Hassan Nasrallah says about his own,
"We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death."
From the head of Hizbollah himself, we hear the truth of his people...and ours. Until Barack Obama learns this truth, he is as likely to fail, as likely to step into something really foul smelling, as did his predecessors. There are things in life that nations and people cannot do alone.
You can't tango alone. You can't play Poker alone, and you can't make peace with your enemies until your enemies are at least open to the possibility that they will have to live with you in the peace they too must believe is best for their people.