Looking for peace in the Middle East Guest Column Richard Disick

Looking for peace in the Middle East
Guest Column
Richard Disick

Will there be peace in the Middle East or Will there be civility in Millstone politics?

As the Middle East is probably easier, did you know that Israel, including the questioned territories, is essentially the same size (in square miles) as New Jersey? Such a small country with such a large impact. Today’s editorial is not intended to cast blame or throw stones (that’s too easy) but rather stimulate and tweak. Also, to avoid certain confusion, I will narrow-mindedly refer to "Israelis" as Jewish and "Palestinians" as Muslim.

Did you know that before the British and French drew lines in the sand, Palestine was a region of land often defined as that between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea?

If we looked at a map today, we would find that it is known as Israel and part of Jordan. Interestingly, the Jordanian population, depending on who you ask, has a Palestinian population of between 40 – 60+% of the country’s total. To this end, if you ask an older Israeli, who was born in 1930, what their ethnicity is, don’t be surprised to hear them tell you that they are Palestinian.

Post 1948, Israel has been relatively hawkish in its position against those who pick up a sword against it.

Any less of a response would be interpreted as a sign of weakness by the opposition. But when you take a step back and look closely, you can see feuding brothers that have very similar dietary, religious and cultural practices. As a matter of fact, the similarities are stronger than most other peoples of diversity. To take it a step further, you would have a better chance at an Israeli and Palestinian agreeing on a subject than you would have with two of the same.

It’s difficult for "outsiders" to truly understand the history, nuances, complexities, misinformation and dynamics of the multitudes of issues, personalities and positioning, from Bible to Balfour to Barak. To insiders, it’s like hitting multiple moving targets at once, with a slingshot.

Just to get a glimpse, most will recall that Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Dome of the Rock (also known as Mount Moriah) set off Palestinians. This historic spot is sacred to the Muslims as the place where Mohammed, in a dream, ascended on winged horse to heaven. It is also the same place where Abraham took Isaac to be offered to God. Yes, unquestioningly Sharon had every right to be there. But, while Sharon’s timing was well designed, it was also very inappropriate.

Lasting peace can only be built on one thing, Trust. And as we look back in history, how often did "land for peace" ever work? Even so, under the right conditions, it is a gamble worth taking, not just by the main players but equally important, by the influential cast of neighborhood countries. It’s time that such others stepped up to the plate and took some meaningful responsibility instead of passing the buck.

Unfortunately, trust is not near term in the Middle East. Heck, the cold war is over and we still don’t trust Russia. Perhaps the infliction of a cold war amidst the hot Middle East climate will accelerate the defrosting process.

Richard Disick is a resident of Millstone Township