A Time for Israeli-Palestinian Reconciliation
“It is time to embark on Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation efforts,” Dr. Shai Har-El, Founder and President of the Middle East Peace Network (MEPN), writes in his article A Time for Israeli-Palestinian Reconciliation. Here are a few excerpts:
As long as one side continues to make itself right and the other wrong, and that polarity is so ingrained in both Israeli and Palestinian societies, there is no way the conflict will ever be resolved. It is time to rewire the mindsets on both sides that only seems to be hardwired into trivializing the aspirations of one’s opponents and making grandiose claims for one’s own. True, the process of creating a paradigm shift in thinking is slow. Nothing is harder in this world than changing the natural impulse toward nationalism, removing ideological blinders, breaking through illusions and fears, and overcoming public misinformation and ignorance. Deeply rooted ideas and attitudes do not change quickly.
Reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians can only happen when they are no longer prisoners of the past. They agree that all great suffering, deep grievances and injustices inflicted in the past belong to the past and the future of both nations is what counts. That does not mean that we ask them to forget or ignore the past. Reconciliation involves genuine processes of reinforcing the distinction between present and past conflicts, isolating the unhealed wounds of the past, decontaminating the present from residues of the past and focusing on building new futures for the two peoples. It entails clear expressions of unconditional apology that leads to explicit acts of forgiveness. It is not important who has to apologize more than the other does. What is important that we hold people accountable for their actions in the past and communicate to them in a way that liberates each other from the right-wrong polarity.