My Turn: Peace in Mideast far in the future

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2001

Rob Miller and Lisle Hebert's My Turns in Sunday's Empire discussing America's bias toward Israel and past Israel atrocities contained much fact and truth. However, while Rob and Lisle's positions were definitely insightful, they struck me as also a bit biased. Or perhaps as just not an accurate, complete perspective on the entire Middle East question.

There is little doubt that the political misrepresentations and the atrocities Rob and Lisle explain have happened, and will unfortunately continue to happen by both sides in the immediate and into the almost unforeseeable future.

Therein, simply put, lies the problem.

While Rob and Lisle's My Turns contain some personal opinion, which of course is just that, they also contain much accurate, factual information. Although the histories and references are true, they don't explain the whole picture, the whole truth,

It's a biased glimpse.

Without going into a fact vs. fact, history vs. history tit-for-tat, which all too obviously is how things work in that neck of the woods, it may better serve us all to keep in mind the foundational realities of the whole region's problems, rather than to just describe one facet of one side's guilt.

As well as I might ascertain, there are other questions and perspectives about the Israel/Palestine question that may round out Rob's and Lisle's.

To consider the region with integrity, several points must always be included.

First, it is essential to bear in mind that Israel is a very, very small country completely and totally bordered by the sea on the west, and bordered on the north, east and south by vastly larger countries that harbor great, if not total ill will toward them.

Also, the United States, despite the many differences of opinions and choices with and about Israel, is without question politically, militarily, economically and perhaps more importantly spiritually committed to the survival of Israel as an independent state. The fabric of our moral constitution would be forever altered, if not broken, by a fallen Judeo/Christian motherland.

And most importantly and vital to the state of the world today, and to all of our futures, is the stark and naked question that is, and always has been, the core issue. The core of the death and destruction and the annihilation that has been the reality there for the entirety of most of our lives. A reality that we now share. That question is, "Do any of us really think that the Israelis and Palestinians will ever, ever successfully live side by side in peace?"

There's no doubt a peaceful coexistence of the peoples in that region would invariably be the BEST solution. And yes, peaceful coexistence is unquestionably worthy of our most devout prayers and most forceful attentions. We all know we've prayed and worked. How many Camp Davids can we hope for?

And yes, the world would take a giant step forward toward peace if it could happen.

However, reality suggests otherwise. Israel is radically committed to its own survival. Palestine is radically committed to Israel's elimination. We all live with the baggage of opposing radical commitments all day, every day.

How and when this question is answered is perhaps a better glimpse of the complete picture in the Middle East, rather than a biased accusatory airing of one side's sins.

One last thought. To what degree does Arafat and the PLO spin us and play us? To what degree are they forthright and honest with the West about their ulterior motives and goals?

It's my suggestion that a healthier perspective on the Middle East is that a peaceful, coexisting solution is at best far, far in the future, if in fact it may be considered at all.


This consideration may be where ultimate peace lies.

Jody Liliedahl is a Juneau resident and, in his words, a Christian American concerned for true peace.

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