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Road to peace
by Bohdan Yuri
Issue 6
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I’d come across an article that had highlighted a peace plan for the Middle East that was presented by Abe Hirschfield and Dr. Mohammed Mehdi. The day it was presented was September 11, 1974, a date that could have made history.

Now, thirty years later, that date 9-11 means more than it ever could have back then. Yet, on that day thirty years ago, was perhaps the most important event that might have prevented not only the airplane terrors but also the loss of many lives that were and still are being sacrificed for the sake of ill causes.

What if just three summers ago, when Arafat had proposed a ceasefire, Mr. Hirschfield’s peace plan was again in play? It wasn’t, and the violence in Israel only escalated. And does any Jew actually believe that the Palestinians will stop at only a small piece of their former land, not to mention “no right of return”.

Well, again, we are faced with a time when something bold needs to be presented. Only this may truly be our last chance for any true peace, not only in the Middle East but also perhaps throughout the world. As religions and philosophies are spread out so are the factions that are ready to explode into more wars.

As the "war" in Iraq has placed an ominous burden of any chances for a peaceful settlement, Israel and Palestine should lead the march for a peaceful solution. In spite of the string of assassinations, on both sides, of the innocent and the guilty, let all governments and organizations declare a new ceasefire.

Impossible, you say. Can’t be trusted, butchers every one of them. (Describes both sides, doesn’t it?) But, what if...

What if indeed it becomes possible that the first hurdle of peace has been cleared by the agreed upon “true” ceasefire, then the next step should be taken with the utmost care as the next hurdle may cause us to fall and may prevent us from ever crossing that finish line of total peace. Yet, how should we proceed? Obviously, proceed with caution at most, but also with a possible belief and understanding of trust. That is the name of that next hurdle - trust. It always has been. And to clear it, what may our next step be?

Sometimes the most obvious step is the most difficult to accept.

In 1974, Mr. Hirschfield, a Jew, and Dr. Mehdi, an Arab, had presented a plan for peace. This may be its last chance for implementation. But it must be taken seriously this time, as what lies beyond failure may be annihilation. Everything else tried has been and will be a failure; Jerusalem will perhaps change hands once again through wars just as it did during the time of the earlier Crusades. We still learn nothing from history.

So here it is: the only solution never seriously discussed is that which will allow Palestinians and Jews to live side by side, literally and logistically as next door neighbours; sharing not only the spaces with each other but also learning to live as friends in peace, and with respect. Sharing the same environment, the same living standards, can make all the difference.

Obviously, this is only a pipe dream, even a madman’s delusion, ask anybody. They would kill each other, wouldn’t they? If the answer is yes, then what’s the use of trying anything? But, if they’d learn to share the dream of better futures for their children then perhaps they can heal the wounds that are carried into each child’s generation. After all, it is the children who must learn to live in peace from any time on. For the adults, the hate has already taken hold; therefore, only their God-given logic can overcome their hateful passions. And with each new generation, the hate grows ten fold.

Yet, peace can be achieved and perhaps this is how it can be started. Throughout all of the disputed Israeli settlements on the West Bank and throughout former Palestine, propose that the disputed housing communities shall remain intact and with a new plan for expansion, for the sake of this amendment, this experiment. Each house/apartment shall have as its next-door occupant the opposite, an even distribution of Palestinians and Jews; thereby, creating an environment of neighbours. Hopefully a community that can learn to live in peace and with respect towards one another, a new kind of country; even by name, if necessary. Perhaps, "New Jerusalem”, instead of Israel-Palestine, as these are the two warring countries that will not stop fighting until one side has complete control to call its own, and which name first?

Ironically, this plan may even create a bombproof and helicopter attack proof neighbourhood. Any explosions in such a neighbourhood would surely have victims from both sides, a deterrent, perhaps. But also, those who would live this experiment must and would need extreme courage, as many would try to destroy that kind of peace. But it would be up to the leaders from each side to also show the courage of leadership. Perhaps that should have been done in Gaza as well throughout these years. Instead what could have been shared will now be destroyed. And the divide continues.

Most assuredly, make no mistake, there will be problems from the start but how else can both sides learn to live in peace with each other? Let’s see if it could work. After all, isn’t that the most obvious goal?

A small portion of land for peace is perhaps the real delusion, a "pipe dream" lost in the smoke of carnival mirrors. Who would be satisfied at only getting back part of a house when the whole house should be yours after it was taken from you by force?

Every country/state is first a state of mind. The United States was first formed in the mind of freedom. The land only serves as a place to fulfil that dream of spirit. It is with that kind of state of mind that peace should be dealt, not by flags, walled boundaries, or religions.

As for the rudimentary issues of government (both religious and civil), all matters of government should be drafted to show equality, including such matters as teaching and understanding the history of both religions in the same classrooms; flags, combine both as to reflect the peaceful country of New Jerusalem.

If the fear of a Palestinian majority in any new government is a roadblock, then form a government and constitution that this "Holy Land" of the Middle East shall be shaped, represented, and governed by an equal number of ministers no matter what the population majority.

It isn’t simple! But you have to start somewhere, lives are wasted and both sides are tired of it. Instead of saying it won’t work, why not try to find a way to make it work. It is time to find out which leaders have truly attained their wisdom by age forty? But, if by the gift of grace, it does work at these trial sites then this approach can be offered throughout.

Surely, only a dream of hope, but imagine what true horrors may still lie ahead. So why not try hope as our dream. We already have insanity.

This time let us find and embrace “...hope, an unfolding lullaby for the soul.”

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