Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Hardest Word

I'm walking in Jerusalem with journalist/comedian Ray Hanania and our talk turns to ending the conflict. The walls of the old city are a fitting backdrop for our discussion. In the course of our conversation our talk turned to the issue of the Palestinian refugees. He asked me if I, as the representative of Israel could apologize to the refugees. Ray understands that there can be no right of return. Ray also understands that people have their pride and pride can become this big brick wall. Recognition of someone elses pain can turn a wall into lets say a fence maybe. Sorry, I couldn't resist! But seriously, could I apologize?

I am a person with a big heart. So I naturally said to Ray, yeah sure. I am sorry that they are refugees and am really sympathetic to those who have been living in refugee camps for sixty years. No, I didn't keep them in camps. That's an apology they need to hear from their Arab brethren. My apology doesn't give rise to the assumption that I did something wrong in returning to my homeland. Some things just are. A hard concept in a world where people are constantly looking for answers.

Then I got home and thought about this some more. I realized we too are owed an apology. First we are owed an apology for the hatred and violence that was the Arab's first response going back in history much further than 1948. Years of war aimed at the destruction of an entire people. Terrorism is but the latest tool in the plan to wipe us out. So I'm starting to see that the apology thing might not be the way to go.

I believe the answer is not in the negativity of an apology. Its in the affirmation of each other that must be the basis for any peace treaty. We must recognize them as a people who live in this land and call it home. They must recognize that this is our homeland. We are a long way off from realizing these simple goals. Sir Isaac Newton predicted the world would end in 2060 according to some recently released papers of his. At this rate we may not make it.

Submitted by Carol