Jerusalem has been in turmoil for a long time. Palestine has laid claim to the Holy City for decades, and there was a time when the Hashemite’s (who currently rule Jordan) had control of it. Now the United States (and Google) have recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Israel/Palestine conflict goes back to the founding of Israel in 1947, and has only gotten worse since then. It doesn’t help that the three Abrahamic religions all hold it in extreme importance. Both sides have done wrong and right. Early indoctrination and biased media play a huge role in how the world perceives what is really going on in the Middle East.
While I have not had the pleasure of actually stepping foot in the Israeli/Palestinian territory, I did stand across the Jordan River (in Jordan) and get a pretty good look at it. As a Christian I believe God gave a lot of land in the Middle East to the Israelites. I consider myself pro-Israel because of this and believe that Israel has a valid claim to the land.
I am pro-Palestine because I do not believe land can simply be taken from people who already live there. The creation of Israel was far from perfect. Having met and talked to multiple Palestinians, I think the main problem is that both sides are unwilling to compromise.
Western media is skewed often to not only be pro-Israel, but anti-Palestine. I have heard statements such as, “Palestinians need to accept that they shouldn’t exist.” But they, just like any other group of people, have every right to exist.
I don’t think peace will ever show its face in the Middle East. I want it to, I pray that it does, but given the volatile situation that remains so constant, I think it impossible. When I was in Jordan this summer the conflict blew up over Al-Aqsa mosque. People were shooting and stabbing each other in the streets. Protests became violent clashes, and an Israeli shot two innocent Jordanians.
There are innocent victims of this conflict that are often forgotten. In the approximately one month since President Trump made his declaration there have been marches and protests around the world. Most importantly, 15 people have been killed and multiple injured.
Governments (United States, Israeli, Palestinian, and others) need to swallow decades old pride and think of the innocent people who suffer consequences from their decisions. Compromises must happen. Mutual understanding that real people are affected by these decisions is vital.
Both sides must begin to see those different from us as people and not assign labels such as ‘them’ or ‘other’ to dehumanize them. Consider both the Palestinian and the Israeli perspective. Understand that at the root of this is people who feel wronged and are seeking justice. Sometimes they do not seek justice by the right means, but they are trying to right a situation.
As Americans instead of rushing to war or blaming a particular group of people, we too need to step back. Step back from a conflict that most of us have no personal part in and think about how we can be of help to the actual people suffering through the conflicts.
You do not have to be pro-Palestine, pro-Israel, or anything in between to know that being shot hurts or tear gas stings.