This Road Will Only Lead To More Graves

By Robi Damelin, bereaved mother and International Relations Spokesperson of The Parents Circle- Families Forum

Translated from op-ed piece in Ha’aretz

Here we go again; how many people have to die before the cycle of violence finally turns for the last time? Revenge being the main tool, we kill, they kill, more force, more troops, and more rhetoric of fear and hatred. Are we on the brink of another war or uprising? How can the sanctity of human life just be political expediency? Decisions made by leaders sitting in rooms in the dead of night and at the last minute. Is there no thought for the consequence of no communication with our neighbors, instead of listening to the army and understanding that the shooting from the hip decision to place metal detectors outside one of the most holy places for the Muslims would lead to a violent reaction and more death? How can the man voted to be in charge of our future take a plane trip to a foreign land when there was a burning need for sanity and negotiation, to create a dialogue with our neighbors, and, perhaps, to calm down a situation just waiting to explode.

Seven people died over this weekend and for what? For an anger festering among both peoples, which can only get worse with time. Can the powers that be not take a breath and imagine what it is like for the families involved– of those innocents attacked by a crazed young man, who imagined that a future life in paradise would surely be better than this one, and the three Palestinians fighting for a cause they believed, also fueled by their religious leaders? Notice it is not the leaders who give up their lives, but rather young men who have no reason to hope for a better life, and who believe that they are protecting their holy site.

We have realized that violence begets violence, and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we must find a way to recognize the humanity of the other.

Let us think of another scenario– say our elected leader would have thought again and realized that more of the same, only more would be a solution, and had picked up the phone to the heads of State of Jordan and Egypt, who have no interest in any further violence. Perhaps if he had done so, and they had all come up with a plan which did not include more force, perhaps we would not have to watch the horrific bloody scenes, each side with its own interpretation on the Television and on the Web.

Imagine what the future will be like for all of the families of the dead: some will have their houses demolished, and others will die together with their children. They may not die physically, but nothing will ever be the same–nothing. Some will never have the joy of parents or grandparents, and others will start to think of revenge. Some will be so angry that it will effect their health, and others will simply wither away and look for solace at the graveside of their loved ones. We at the Parents Circle know the whole gamut of pain and indescribable sadness which never goes away. We have realized that violence begets violence, and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we must find a way to recognize the humanity of the other.

If we can, then surely this is an example to all.

It is not too late for change. Watch a bereaved Palestinian mother embracing an Israeli mother in our group, and understand that we recognize that we share the same pain. Watch us continue to work under the most difficult of circumstances to the extent where we will still run our summer camp this Sunday and will plant the seeds of understanding reconciliation in the next generation. If we can, then surely this is an example to all. Please refrain from spitting at us or throwing bags of urine, and take that energy into trying another way, for the way we are going– with more of the same– can only lead us to share the land with graves.

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