As a cultural Christian, I still celebrate Christmas every year. My favourite Christmas song is My Grown Up Christmas List, so this year I decided to write my own Christmas wish list in the context of the Israel / Arab conflict. I know that these wishes are not likely to be granted this coming year or perhaps not even in my lifetime, but here they are:
I wish that the conflict would no longer be used as an excuse for hatred.
I wish that activists, especially those who live far away, would remember that in addition to being a cause that they like to fight for, the conflict is about people who often suffer the consequences of the games played by others.
I wish that everyone, including their own allies, would see Palestinians and Israelis as fathers, mothers, children, students, and social beings rather than simply as pawns in an international game of chicken.
I wish that the right of Palestinians to a state of their own would be seen by everyone as a fundamental and undeniable human right.
I wish that the historic injustice of denying Israel’s right to exist would be universally recognized, and that the Palestinian cause would no longer be used as an excuse for antisemitism.
I wish that history would always be used to understand the present but never as roadblock on the way to the future.
I wish that fanaticism and criminality would be recognized and denounced wherever they occur, and that solutions would be found to eradicate them while saving the societies that they have infected.
I wish that religion would be used to guide each people’s wisdom and dignity, but never as excuse for violence and hatred.
I wish that Israelis would elect a government eager to pursue every avenue for peace as vigorously as it pursues solutions to the security of its citizens.
I wish that Palestinians would find new leaders who are not afraid to lead and who favour solutions over pointless and destructive rhetoric.
I wish that the right of Israel to security would be recognized at all times and that pro-active solutions would be found, rather than waiting for an all-out confrontation before making the self-evident declaration that Israel has the right to defend itself.
I wish that the right of Palestinians to dignity would be recognized at all times, even when the perpetrators are Muslims or Arabs.
I wish that the Palestinians would cease being an occupied people, both on the ground and in their own minds, and that Palestine would rise up and answer the Palestinian need for dignity and independence.
I wish that Israel would be free to pursue its destiny as a light upon the nations, rather being used as punching bag against which most nations are gleefully happy to find common ground.
I wish that both Israelis and Palestinians would always remember that the land was made for the people, and that people were not made for the land.
I wish that the concept of “two states for two people” would come into effect, and that it would result in security and dignity for both Israelis and Palestinians.