This morning I chose to sit in on a conference call with other Americans, Israeli’s and a Lt. Colonel from the IDF. We are all concerned about the fate of the three teenagers and wish the safe return of Gil-ad Shaar (16 yrs old), Naftali Frenkel (16 yrs old, holding dual citizenship with America ) and Eyal Yifrach (19 yrs old).
As a parent and grandparent, I feel deep sorrow for the Israeli families. This is a tragedy. The boys were hitchhiking through the West Bank when they became aware that they were about to be kidnapped. They placed a call to Israel’s version of 911 , only to have the call disregarded as a prank? Sound familiar. Not even in a security conscious Nation, can you be absolutely sure a cry for help is responded to without question! We are human after all. The response requires a judgement call on the receiving end of the line. So, time was wasted and the kids were Kidnapped. By whom, we don’t know for sure, but The Israeli government believes the “Terror group” Hamas incited the kidnapping.
Now 6 days later, Israel is preparing to go through the “same dance”, the familiar response to Terrorism because that is all they know! Someone captures a child, you round up the usual suspects, put them in jail and begin to dismantle the Terror organization that you fear! But is this enough? Will it bring the kids back? So far there have been no demands for negotiations? The worst of the worst, silence, while the families wait anxiously for word of the safety of their loved ones.
From personal experience, I know it is easy to continue the “dance”, the same dialog, the same response when we are confronted with extreme stress. Instead of moving forward, it is easy to follow old patterns of response without thinking about the consequences to your relationship. Being stuck in time with the same consequences is dreadful, moving forward is harder then staying in place. But when events spiral out of control and you are confronted with a dire circumstance , what should be our response?
Years ago, in Nicaragua, I met several employees of US Steel. They were complaining because “known” bandits, always stole their passports before their vacation, usually for a fee, and the Passports were returned . This year was different. The passports were stolen as expected but they were not being returned. This created problems for the workers! Events changed and the US Steel employees had to resolve their problem differently, if they wanted to return home to America. They knew they would have to tell US Steel about their previous negotiations and seek outside help and involvement. I presume they came up with a new solution and went home as planned or a few days later! I never learned the end of their saga.
However, this saga is different. The Israeli’s and the Palestinians have been speaking about Peace for years. Their children’s lives depend upon a solution to relations between Israeli’s and Palestinians. One thing is clear to me, no matter what the greater Political question, the boys should not be pawns ! No child should pay the price for “perceived sins” of parents or anyone. A child’s life is sacred. Any child’s life should be precious.
I remember the words of Golda Meir, that are applicable to this event;” There is no difference between one’s killing and making decisions that will send others to kill. It’s exactly the same thing, or worse.” Her other words, are inscribed in my memory, ” We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have Peace with the Arabs when they love their children more then they hate us.”
Another tragedy has occurred. For whatever motive, whoever kidnapped the boys should turn themselves in and face judicial consequences for this heinous act against children. No where is kidnapping acceptable. In this Country we prosecute kidnappers. Kidnapping is a criminal offense in America punishable by 20 years in jail at the minimum.
However, after careful consideration of the facts, as I know them, I believe we have several problems, independent of the kidnapping. The kidnapping should be resolved quickly, no one will forget the kidnapping of 3 teenagers, nor should they! After 6 days, the fate of these teenagers should be disclosed. Someone knows what happened near Hebron? Come forward, publicly or anonymously, but come forward.
if this kidnapping is a motivated, Terror instigated plot, as the Israeli’s believe, all Political representatives of the Palestinian Community should come back to the negotiating table and discuss the route to Peace. Why do I propose this? It’s simple. If the kidnapping was not a Random Criminal Act, then it was incited by Terrorist propaganda and hatred for Israeli’s. There is no Road to Peace, if people cannot agree to be civil with each other and act humanely. The dialog of hatred has to end on all sides. This takes time. As in every relationship between two people, we move forward, only to slide back into old familiar patterns when we are stressed. Relationships require two people to be sustained. Both parties have to take an active interest in maintaining an open discourse . It’s difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes but necessary if you are to have harmony in a relationship. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with the other person all the time, you have to acknowledge their position.
That’s the basics on a People level. What happens at the Nation state level? We know from prior history, as humans we love to rattle our sabers, protect our territories, fight for what we consider right and after years of hardship and strife, we make Peace with our enemies and we go so far as to trade with them. As a parent, and a grandparent I can only ask why? Why did we allow our treasure, our young people, to fight the battles of the old, only to have Peace reign between Nations in the future? It makes no sense.
I have no idea what the outcome will be in Israel at this time, but I would ask you dear reader, to consider the facts and add your 2 cents. Would you, given the choice, choose Peace over War? If so, let me know your thoughts. Why should we continue this cycle of violence, if the Road to Peace is on the table. Rather, I urge whoever kidnapped these kids to give them back and help your Community achieve an acceptable resolution of the greater problems facing Israeli’s and Palestinians. Do not give Israel the excuse to dismantle the Hamas network, if they are not involved. Makes sense to me. Put down your weapons and your hatreds and agree to living peaceably in the 21st Century. It may not happen overnight but it will happen. Time is our enemy, if days pass into years with no resolution. I urge the kidnappers to be “bigger” then the propaganda on the ground. Give up the kids. Let the representative Political hierarchy speak for you!
Violence has occurred against another human being. When you transport someone against their will to another place that is a criminal act. It may be time to use other measures to get your point across. If you are angry with your situation, killing does not ease the pain. Nobody is happy with turn of events. Renounce terrorism and come to the bargaining table. Make it possible for all people to leave barbarism behind and enter the 21st Century, where social media and technology makes a better way of life possible.
Israel has enlisted the “blogging ” Community to write about their plight. I didn’t get the impression that they were happy to go through their “usual dance”; round up the usual suspects, confiscate their weapons . One thing was clear, if there is a “bright side” to this tragedy, Israel is working with the PLO to find these kids. It’s time for Hamas to decide if they are a Terrorist organization or another partner in the Peace process? The time to decide is now! Waiting will not make the problems or the situation better. Time is not on our side when our children and our grand children’s lives are held in the balance.
My 2 cents, from my heart. Any and all comments are welcome. First return the “kids”, then return to the Peace table!
As long as there is life, there is time to make amends!