How many times have we seen competing volleys of violence between Palestinians and Jews in Israel? Each side has its unyielding truths. That is the problem as I see it. It is why this issue has been so intractable even to the most seasoned foreign policy genius. Peace has been attempted by many USpresidents and international others over decades and yet even when close to it violence erupts to foil once again the efforts of the makers of that peace.
I believe in not returning to ancient history to buttress either one side or the other’s claims on this land. That is futile. I believe in (forgive the cliché) playing the ball where it lies. It does not matter now who had the land first as we know it has had many occupiers over centuries. The questions are what do we have to do now and what will it take for each side to give a little bit up to stop the endless rounds of recriminations, violence and the deaths of innocents.
I always believed the president does, indeed, have Israel's back but is not unmindful of the suffering of the Palestinian people. The fact that others disparage him means that they do not, as I see it, know what they are talking about. All presidents must endure a democracy’s natural opposition but this president suffers the slings and arrows of opposition the vitriol of which has not been seen since the Civil War and we, too often, know why. Though he is pilloried he takes the onslaught and plods on much like his historical mentor, Lincoln, did and in this difficult moment with hope in the crosshairs of despair I hope he can help create what no one ever has.
I am yearning for this foreign policy magician who caught Bin Laden, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at his side, to help perfect an Israeli/Palestinian peace carving it out on tablets of stone which now seem like a molten mass of distant hope.
Perhaps, I am naïve, wrong and too idealistic out of a strong desire to simply stop the killing. Maybe the situation is in reality impossible and ultimately hopeless. I think though, truly, nothing is impossible in the course of human events which are, after all, shaped by humans themselves. It will take some to bend a little bit and eschew policy aversions to peace cemented in their brain over time. I hope the belligerents give up some of their steadfast long-held positions and lay down their violent opposition giving up a little for all the innocents seemingly plunged into war’s eternal darkness. It will take acceptance of that which has heretofore been unacceptable.
Instead of the bellicosity of war let us hope, no matter the difficulty, peace prevails despite the allusiveness of its intractable history. I am betting on the president, as he shows time and again he can do what has been thought impossible and go where none has gone before. He above anyone else can help secure a peace with Secretary Clinton at his side. With Secretary Clinton’s genius and the president’s imprimatur, together, I believe, they can help do the impossible for both sides whose innocents have suffered so much and for so long. I hope the eternal spring of hope helps them turn the weapons of swords into the plowshares of peace for everyone and in our time.