‘Palestinian child kicked by Border Police in Hebron.’ (June 29 2012)
‘Three Jewish children lightly hurt in Hebron stoning.’ (July 10 2012.)
Two of the latest and relatively minor incidents in a conflict spanning six and a half decades.
Yet they encapsulate, in microcosm, the whole essence of what has been occurring over the last 65 years.
These events happened less that a fortnight apart and, in relation to the overall conduct of each side, they cannot even begin to compare with the worst excesses committed throughout this clash of cultures and communities.
But, if we were to take both items and then set them apart from the mainstream of related violence, what do they tell us?
1. Is the second merely a reaction, a follow-on to the first?
2. Are they the natural products of campaigns given sustenance for generations by blind hatred and fear?
3. Have matters deteriorated to the extent that assaults on children are now no more than part and parcel of the general picture and must be considered almost commonplace as a result.
4. If these casual crimes against children have become the norm, then what on earth can prevent ‘the child becoming father to the man’ and reaffirming the larger conflict in every one of its myriad forms?
‘IDF hits cell readying anti-tank weapons in Gaza.’ (July 12 2012)
5. As children, we all have dreams; childhood is a time for dreaming. It is also when the nightmares first begin. What nightmares do Jewish children have in Israel? From which ones are Palestinian children awakened?
“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” Golda Meir, (Washington, 1957).
That was 55 years ago. A lot of children have met an untimely end since then. Others have had the chance to grow up, even grow old.
And still there is no peace.
Love, by itself, may never be able to balance out the hatred and fear that all sides feel. But, if hatred and fear may be allies in this matter, then what is to prevent love from acquiring an ally also?