Imagine walking calmly down debris strewn streets littered with crushed and overturned vehicles, as well as the remains of demolished buildings, on your way to school. The buildings on either side of you are pockmarked with hundreds of bullet holes, maybe thousands, you don’t know for sure because there are far too many to count, and more appear on a daily to weekly basis. You round a corner to see a military tank prowling down the next street over, its steady growl as the treads crunch the mangled road is a constant reminder that your neighborhood is occupied by people who would kill you without a moment’s hesitation. A bomb or a bullet could take you out before you even reach the run down old building that serves as your schoolhouse. Even so, you don’t run, you don’t rush, you simply continue on your way as you always have because this is the way that your life has always been. You are twelve years old.
This sad scenario is a tragic reality for countless Palestinian children living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. A place where their homes could be bulldozed down and demolished into nothing without prior notice, where military tanks shoot high-powered weapons at children for throwing harmless rocks at armored vehicles. A place where childhood consists of burying your friends and family, sometimes after helping pick their body parts up off of the street, where making hand grenades for the resistance is an acceptable pastime, and where a child’s favorite game is “Arabs and Jews,” in which the ultimate goal is to die while fighting your enemy.
Violence is born and bred in the Gaza Strip, and the flames of anger are fanned into explosive wildfires by the Israeli military as they shoot, bomb, and bulldoze down Palestinian lands and homes – all in the name of peace.
There is all this talk about peace, but the word peace is as much a loaded weapon as it is a white flag. It is used as an excuse to oppress a people or nation as often as it is used to liberate them. Another problem with peace is that talking about it is not the same as achieving it. Achieving peace requires taking positive actions that will benefit both sides in a conflict, as well as a willingness, on both sides, to change. This makes peace a very difficult process because people don’t like to change.
The peace between Israel and Palestine has long been shattered – bombed, shot, and broke into so many pieces that putting it back together seems impossible. But the longer that war continues between these two nations, the more pieces are going to be irreparably damaged. Peace must be achieved before there are no pieces left. There is fault on both sides of the conflict, which is why both sides must start taking positive steps towards putting the pieces that are left back together again, peace by piece.
Learn More and Make a Difference:
Read About Both Sides of the Story:
“The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East” by Sandy Tolan
“What Every American Should Know About the Middle East” by Melissa Rossi
Only A Little Boy (Poem) – Rhyme N Review