What if you answered a knock on your door and found a person standing there who told you that their ancestors used to own the land you are on and they are taking it back because it is rightfully theirs? What if you and your own family had lived on and worked that land for many years? How would you feel?
This is how the talk opened up on Sunday night when I went to see Rev. Mel Bishara speak about the history of unrest in Israel. Reverend Bishara has a unique perspective -- he grew up in Israel as a Palestinian Christian. I have to say, at first I was a little uncomfortable. Once I realized Mel was able to give us an account of the unrest in Israel from a Palestinian perspective, I was forced to come to grips with some truths I had not previously understood.
Becoming very passionate when he pointed out that from Palestinian perspective, every loved one who has been killed, every house that has been leveled, has been a result of a tank or missle or some form of destruction that says "Made in U.S.A." on it. He was quick to point out that he doesn't in any way condone what Palestinian terrorists do, but he was able to see their perspective on it.
I was totally unaware of the civil disregard Palestinians face on a daily basis - having special license plates on their cars so everyone knows they are Palestinian, facing severe travel and work restrictions, being forbidden to go certain places - I realized I was listening to something even bigger than our own civil rights issues before the civil rights movement.
I don't know what the answer is. I found myself after the talk thinking that now I know more about what's going on, but definitely know less about what the solution is. While Mel brought up the original statement I opened my blog with to showcase how Palestinians felt when they lost their land, I couldn't help but see that the same story would be told by Israelis if the Palestinians were returned their homeland now. It seems to be a no-win situation.
The glimmer of hope Mel pointed out was that in schools and hospitals in the country, people of all faiths and races are working together for good. If only everyone would realize that God wants us all to live peacefully together, no matter what our faith, and quit trying to say that only one type of person should live in Israel, peace could be achieved.
In the end, I'm left with prayer being my only solution. I'll pray diligently for the peoples of Israel and the Palestinians and hope for peace in the future.