All people have differences. Few spend decades demeaning, denigrating, libeling and continuing to kill each other because of those differences.
The Arab-Israeli conflict far overshadows any other reference to “the longest war” in modern history.
As regional Arab, Israeli, American, European and other international negotiators head to Cairo, it may be helpful to remember another gathering that took place 69 years ago this month to end violence that had destroyed countless lives.
While the key negotiators at that meeting — American President Harry Truman, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, and Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin — will not be in Egypt this week, hope for creating a better future for Israelis and Palestinians requires the same surrender of contempt and enmity on behalf of the interests they share.
The 1945 treaties negotiated by the leaders of the Big Three in Potsdam, Germany designed the postwar world and formalized the longterm occupation of a Germany that would be demilitarized, denazified, and democratized. As with the administration of Japan, the deployment of troops within the lands of defeated enemies who had killed and lost millions was not about retribution, but creating a peaceful future.
Without the decisions made in Potsdam, neither Germany nor Japan would be the thriving nations they are today where the far majority of the children born after World War II have been among the most privileged on the planet when it comes to pursuing cherished dreams and aspirations that have meaningfully contributed to the 21st century. With international support, regional leaders can help create those same opportunities for Palestinian Arab children.
The successful resolution of any conflict, whether between couples or clans, friends or families, neighbors or nations, begins with a decision to let each other out of the doghouse.
For the children of Israelis and Palestinians, the paramount challenge facing negotiators in Cairo and meetings to follow must not simply be about arbitrating terms for temporary advantages, but an earnest decision by longtime adversaries to let each other out of the doghouse along with international and regional leadership to create a safer, saner future.
Anything less will represent little more than a momentary halt to violence while dooming another fleeting opportunity for generations to come.