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    World Focus: Peace On Earth Seems Elusive: How About Peace for A Week?
    Posted on Friday, December 06 @ 10:39:16 UTC
    Topic: World News
    World Newsby Ben Roberts

    Turn on the news on any given day and its a recurring story: Israeli Soldiers Kill Four Palestinians. Palestinian Bomber Kills Self And Israelis As They Celebrate High Holy Day. Israeli Tank Shell Explodes in Gaza Killing Two Sets of Brothers On Their Way To School. Palestinian Kills Self And Busload Of Israelis Near Haifa. Six Palestinian Homes Detonated By Israeli Army. Palestinian Girl Kills Self And Crowd of Israelis In Bomb Blast At Marketplace. Israeli Missile Kills Palestinians At Gaza Marketplace. It is sickening.

    The faces of the victims and culprits change but the death and carnage is the same every day. It is clear that our longing for Peace On Earth is not within reach. Is that because the people involved, and the world in general is unrealistic in its hope for the parties to be suddenly overcome with an all encompassing outbreak of peace? Maybe we can start with Peace For A Week. There’s a Chinese saying ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.’ Definitely applicable here. In this time of year when we speak of, and long for peace, my prescription goes something like this.

    Choose a week of this holiday season. Call it anything. Call it The Palestinian Israeli Peace Week if you like. I would like the Israelis to invade Palestinian territory. No. No. Not with tanks and infantry or a new wave of settlers. I mean a wave of Israeli citizens descending upon the towns and refugee camps of West Bank and Gaza. Whole families of moms and dads with their children. No government approval sought or needed. Just pick up the phone and call someone in Palestine. Anyone. Any family. The leadership of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Axa Martyrs Brigade, even Arafat. Tell them you are coming. Without guns, knives, clubs, army protection, or prejudgment. Tell them all you’re coming with is your family. You want to acknowledge them by looking them in the eye and seeing who they are, and let them see who you are, and let your children see their children. A good place to rally around is the Church of The Nativity. A lot of recent violence at this venue. A good focal point for interaction.

    Now you’re there. What now? Afraid for your safety? Relax. You’re probably safer there than back in Israel. After all back there you weigh your chances on which seat to take on a bus. You worry yourself to death when your kids are away from you at an arcade, or in daycare. Now introduce yourself to a Palestinian family. Tell them you would like to spend two days with them. In their house! I doubt you will be turned down. Spend two days as their guests. Forget this nonsense about sleeping with the enemy. They will be required to provide for you and your family for the two days, just as they provide for themselves, running the gauntlet of the Israeli army curfew as they try to find food to feed both your families. While with them talk about anything. Your family. Your children. Your greatest fears. Your hopes and dreams in life. While talking you will be required to look each other in the eye. Maybe, just maybe you both will see yourself in the person across from you. Be sure to let your children play with each other. They will probably teach each other new games. I maintain that ‘the world is in grave danger when I cease to hear the laughter of children at play.’ My own quote.

    Now its the Palestinians turn. Head for Israel with your family, to be hosted for two days by the Israeli family you hosted. At the Israeli army checkpoints the soldiers are not allowed to humiliate you. They cannot look at your ID papers and on seeing everything is in order, throw it on the ground for you to pick it up. They cannot make you totally undress. They absolutely cannot call you the children of a whore. They cannot tell you that you speak in a dirty bastard language. You likewise cannot say anything demeaning to them. They simply look for your name on a sheet of paper. A list. Not of Palestinians wanted by Israel. This list is one compiled by all the Israelis who were guests in your homes. The list simply states that any name listed should be afforded every convenience by the Israeli army because that person is entering Israel as a guest of an Israeli citizen. Even if that person is wanted in Israel for something they should be allowed entry with their family. Here, being a guest of an Israeli family overrides any state concern.

    You’re there. What now? You spend two days with the Israeli family, continuing the interaction begun in your home. Talk and listen. Remember to look them in the eye. At this point I am sure you would have discovered that the person across from you is not a despicable monster out to crush you, whilst he should be realizing that you are not some devious devil bent on annihilating him. You’re just two people trying as best as you can to find the easiest path from the cradle to the grave. While there, maybe a trip to an outdoor park is in order, so your children can play together. I cannot stress the importance of your children playing together. They will remember for the rest of their lives. Maybe a ride on a bus is in order so both of you can experience what the ordeal is like. After these two days the Peace Week comes to a close. But I guarantee that would not be the end of it. It would be the first step in that long journey of peace. Sometimes regular everyday citizens have to lead the leaders. Speaking of leaders. Yassir Arafat and Ariel Sharon will be required at some point during that week to sit together and listen to the song titled Peace On Earth by U2. Bound to change one’s perspective. Got me through the dark days following September 11.

    Before you begin to label me naive, unrealistic, impractical in my thinking, or hallucinating, I will say this. For over fifty years your smart logic, practical thinking, and realistic outlook has produced bombers dressed to kill in explosive jackets, children blown to bits with missiles while sleeping, electronic fences, girls blowing themselves and those around them to oblivion, and an ever expanding cauldron on hate. Sometimes naive doesn’t seem so bad. Peace On Earth.

    Ben Roberts is a newsletter editor, freelance writer and published author. His book, Jackals of Samarra, was published in January 2001. Ben can be contacted by email at: grandt730@aol.com

     
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