Middle East Compromise by Los Angeles Times

What if peace seems out of reach? Is it something that people can achieve? In this article, Israeli writer Etgar Keret explores the possibility that peace may not be attainable, or at least not in the way that we think, without heavy losses of freedom and change of worldview on both sides. He suggests that changing vocabulary from "peace" to "compromise" may speed the process along.

A few months ago, my 8-year-old son took part in a ceremony in which all the pupils in his class were given a Bible to mark the beginning of their Bible studies. When the ceremony was over, all the pupils climbed onto the stage and sang a popular song about — what else — the yearning for peace. And at the end of the song, “God Gave You a Gift,” the children asked God to give them only one small gift: peace on Earth.

On the way home I thought a bit about that song. Unlike the other songs my son sings on Independence Day and Hanukkah commemorating battles fought fearlessly and the darkness driven away with a flaming torch, peace wasn’t something he wanted to achieve through sweat and blood; he wanted it to be given to him. As a gift, no less. And that, it seems, is the peace we long for: something we’d be very, very happy to receive as a gift free of charge. But contrary to the proven idea that we alone are responsible for our survival, peace depends on divine providence.

I think that my son is the second generation, if not the third, to be indoctrinated with the view that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been imposed on us from above. A bit like terrible weather, which we can talk about, cry about, even write songs about, but which we can’t do anything to change.

Read the rest here.