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Israel-Palestine: For the Opinionated Bystander

Why is it that we feel entitled to opinions about places we don’t live, and conflicts we are not involved with directly? Entitlement in the human heart screams the pride of life (1 John 2:16).

My heart aches for the conflict in Israel and the evil in the hearts of the terrorist groups in the Middle East (Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, etc.), but I can’t pretend to understand. I don’t know what it’s like to feel the pain the refugees face or what it’s like for the Palestinians living in the Gaza strip to be denied citizenship not only by Israel but by all of the Muslim countries that it partners with for terrorism. What if you didn’t have a place to call home? What if you couldn’t get citizenship in America, or anywhere else? My heart hurts for the individuals with no country to call home yet also for the Israelis, tirelessly fighting to keep their people safe.

Why not just side with the Palestinians, you might ask? They don’t have anywhere to call home, you may say. With every side, there is a flipside, and with every story, there is another. I don’t know how it feels to fear bombs every day or to have the neighborhood playground double as a community bomb shelter. I don’t know how it feels to have missiles shot over the border in my community, to see a fire and wonder if it’s a kite from Hamas. I saw these fires, I was there when the airstrikes over from the Gaza strip happened on May 29th, but I don’t know how it feels, how it feels for terrorists to attack my country continually, do you?

There is no debate: Gaza is a humanitarian disaster, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is widely complex. The media we read and see is biased, there is hate on both sides, and there is not enough compromise for peace. We can sit and argue a one-state, two-state, and three-state solution for hours and still, we do not understand the complexity of two peoples living at war in one small country, “270 miles long and 85 miles wide” at the largest points.

I urge you, my brothers and sisters, to continue to be a force for peace yet to remember your privilege and recognize you can never honestly understand those facing this conflict without living in their shoes, in their country, in their conflict, until it becomes your own.

XO,

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