November 22, 2012

Can Gaza and Israel Make the Tough Choice for Peace?

swords-into-plowsharesFor now, no more missiles fly from Gaza to Israel – nor from Israel to Gaza.  The last several days of mutual-retaliation is now at its end.

I will not re-post here what can be read widely in the news:

  • Both sides are announcing victories.
  • Both sides are proclaiming their military superiority in offensive & defensive measures.
  • Both sides are celebrating in some way.

Egypt has itself been reshaped politically in the past few years and played a key role in brokering the current cease fire.  But the text of the agreement does nothing more than stop current acts of violence.  It brokers no real agreement of possible hope!

The fear I posit for the region, though, is the reality that no peace has been won.

  • Both sides agreeing to cease current hostilities in active campaigns of violence does not bring no peace – only the cessation of current conflict.
  • Both sides are burying the dead in their midst, with the high probability that the loss of life will only fuel future hostility.


  • NOW is the time for new conversations to emerge.
  • NOW is the time for abiding hostilities from combatants and enemies to seek out the possibilities of abundant hospitality from communities seeking equity.
  • NOW is the time for nations and powers – not just Israel and Gaza but from every region of the world – to provide support for vibrant life and thriving cities – not escalating armaments for the next conflict.

As an American, my sense is that this current contest will quickly fade into the background as just “one more time” when “those people” “over there” didn’t get along.

It is Thanksgiving as I write.  Americans are concerned about Football, Turkey and Shopping.  The next weeks will focus on the trivial issues of the latest technology “needed” under the Christmas tree and whether or not we’ve stock-piled enough Hostess Twinkies before that company’s bankruptcy.

It is too bad.  It is tragic.

Israeli men dance after ceasefire agreement Nov 22People, emboldened by the current ceasefire, could invest differently in the world – in politics and peacemaking, and in efforts at genuine conversation so the ideologies of war could be reshaped from Jerusalem in the near future.

  • If only people would find a way to talk genuinely and realize practically the need to turn our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning-hooks!  If we could stop building weapons and instead increase our fruitfulness!
  • If only people would find ways to build cities where old women and aged men could sit near the streets and watch as young girls & young boys play together in city parks.
  • If only we had the possibility the announcement, that today, in the region of Gaza-Israel – a message of good news for all people has come – to those currently wrapped in the cloth of war in some hospital room.
  • If only we believed that vibrant life is possible for all people in a world that could be saved.

Now is not the time to stalemate toward the next, inevitable future conflict.  Now is the time to strategize toward and implement a vibrant, life-giving, fruitful peace.

Reprinted here by permission from the author, Marty Alan Michelson.


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