Conflicted

As I watch with horror at what is going on in the Middle East, a few things come to mind; all of which are sad and somewhat emotional.

I’ve never really understood the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Let me repeat that I get the conflict — I do read. But this whole Palestinian state thing, I mean, why is it so hard for two groups of people to simply sit down over coffee and to hash out a deal? It seems that I’m making light of this, but I’m not. I just don’t get it.

For me though, it’s conflicting because I happen to believe in both sides, Israel has a right to exist and the Palestinian people deserve their own state. But if you voice those opinions you’re either in league with the evil Zionists or you’re anti-Semitic — of which I am neither. I really feel bad for the young people who no doubt indirectly get caught up in this.

Every year for the past five years, I’ve worked with an organization called Project Impact, Short version. They are young Jewish high school students who spend a couple of weeks during the summer learning about social justice issues like homelessness. These are all bright, great kids and I pray that this conflict doesn’t affect how they see the world. This brings me to my worst fear: some of these kids at one time or another will go to Israel and when I hear of the bombings, I pray that they will be okay. Every time I hear of a teen being killed, especially an American, if any of them are there I hold my breath just a little bit.

My old friend Sam who was an editor for this paper lives there as well. And honestly, sometimes I wish he would leave. And would someone please tell me exactly what Hamas is doing. Listen, to all you who are pro-Palestinian: Hamas is a terrorist organization masquerading as protectors of the people of Palestine, simple as that. They are no different than al-Qaida or the Taliban. They need to be driven out of the Gaza Strip. We here in the States aren’t much better. I don’t agree with Israeli hardliners anymore than I agree with hardline Conservatives, and like their counterparts here in the states, they maybe more of the problem than the solution.

But the U.S. does little to force their hands. Maybe if we did, results would be different, and if that opinion makes me anti-Semitic to some, I feel really sorry for you. But then again, maybe the problem is everyone else needs to stay out of it. Really! Maybe there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Think about it, every time tensions flair up every country in the world gets involved in one way or another, picking sides talking to one side or the other, with the possible exception of getting Hamas out of there everyone especially the U.S. should butt out.

What would be the outcome if no one got involved? I’m willing to bet that some type of agreement would be reached. Why? Because people are leaving them alone and letting them sort it out. Maybe that’s it. We should all just butt out. I know I am.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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