I was talking with a friend tonight about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (not exactly light conversation, especially since my friend happens to be Jewish). Mindful of what his ideas concerning the violent conflict were most likely to be, I started out by simply asking him what he thought about the situation. Understandably, he began by explaining to me how angry it made him that so much of what was portrayed about Israel was negative and critical, how successful Israel had been as a bastion of liberal ideology in an region inhospitable to human rights, and how important it was that the Jews be allowed to settle in their ancestral homeland without facing persecution or threat of annihilation.
I have heard both sides of this issue passionately argued. I have heard from those who claim that Israel is worse than South Africa at the height of apartheid; that the Israeli government is being held aloft by the United States in order to cause chaos and violence in the Arab World. I have heard many who have spoken about the horrors of the Holocaust, and how the Jewish people have a right to leave free of fear and persecution in a world that time and time again has proven how much it hates them and that it will stop at no cost to see their destruction.
We have all seen the videos, the pictures. We have all seen the loss of life on both sides and the way nearly every player involved seems at a complete loss to end the bloodshed. I am reminded by talking to my friend, though, exactly what the costs are of this bitter chess game. Many in the halls of Washington have motives that color their views on this conflict, but in my mind it is important never to forget that whenever ideas this controversial meet in the real world, there is always bloodshed. It is my opinion that this conflict not be viewed through some hardline moralistic lens, but that the ultimate goal be a peaceful resolution that ends the suffering being inflicted on the innocents of both sides. Whenever lives are lost in human conflict, it is all of our faults. Unless peace is placed on a higher priority than any other agenda in this conflict, there will be no resolution.