CHRISTIANS FOR FAIR WITNESS ON THE MIDDLE EAST ARTICLE ON THE ROLE OF FEAR IN PERPETUATING THE ISRAELI/PALESTINIAN CONFLICT
Sixty three years after the founding of the State of Israel, forty four years after the beginning of the Israeli occupation, and eighteen years after the start of the hope-filled years of the Oslo Accords, Palestinians and Israelis find themselves still unable to come to a negotiated agreement. Locked in an on-going conflict which regularly spills into violence and bloodshed, we are led to ask, what is it that is keeping the Palestinians and Israelis from finding their way to a peaceful solution?
For sure, each side may have a different notion of what a "solution" should look like and each seems at times locked into their own formula for what the parties must be willing to give up. But this is the case at least initially in all conflicts, including those that ultimately prove to be resolvable. What then explains the failure to embrace what it appears both sides long for – a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians live and prosper side by side in peace and their children know war no more?
Perhaps it is, even more than a gap in the practical terms of an agreement on "core issues" such as borders, security arrangements, Jerusalem and refugees, the simple, human problem of fear. The fear that both Israelis and Palestinians face when they look at their own lives and then one another across the negotiating table.
How is this fear preventing a resolution of the conflict? And how can the American Churches act to alleviate this fear?
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