All my adult life I have heard endless talk about the prospects of peace between Israelis and Arabs. And yet, there has never been lasting peace, only short-term fragile truces. Leader upon leader in Israel, the United States and the Arab states have said they are seeking long-term solutions. This is not true. It is self deceit, as they are entombed in their habitual, defensive, aggrieved and belligerent postures.
What they want is a redress for their grievances. Israelis, Palestinians and the people of the entire Arab world want capitulation from their perceived enemies. There will never be a lasting peace unless and until all sides let go of their grievances, forgive their enemies of their wrongs and bravely commit to peaceful co-existence.
I don't see that ever happening. Because underlying the decades of conflict are hatreds upon hatreds passed from generation to generation. It is too easy to say, "Look what they've done to us. Look at what they are doing to us?" It is almost impossible to say, "I don't care what they've done to us or what they are doing to us now, I am going to embrace them in peace and future friendship."
I believe the goal of Mideast peace is futile. Although, I also believe that we should never stop trying. It is even more complicated now by the rise of fundamentalist Islamic extremists. Some leaders, sympathetic to the extremists' violent cause, have taken control of nascent governments created in the Arab Spring.
Quite simply, or rather, quite difficultly, it is going to take leaders of unprecedented courage to unilaterally stand down their perpetual war-making and extend the olive branch of peace. They have to be brave enough to stand up in peaceful principle and make difficult concessions, in spite of any entrenched attitudes or objections of their own populace.
Until then, all we can hope for is the institution of a solid, yet temporary truce. Until there are actual peace treaties between nations and peoples we can only hope for a temporary cessessation of violence, agreements on tentative borders, some measure of mutual recognition, respect for cross-border human rights and a modicum of shared economic freedom.
What we see and hear now, instead, is the constant demonizing of life-long enemies. You can see and hear the hatred in every leader's rationalized speech, every revengeful street protest and every self-justified military action. When a child or sibling or parent is killed by what each side sees as a heinous aggressor and/or oppressor, hatred blooms. Hatred, upon hatred, upon hatred.