Add new comment

These are wonderful sentiments and I applaud these parents for avoiding the path of anger.

However, I feel that there is an essential element of this conflict that is always ignored: Palestinian shame. Islamic tradition holds that Jews are inferior beings and not to be trusted (if you do not understand this you are not reading history or you are talking to the wrong people). Palestinians have to constantly face the reality that these "inferior beings" have turned a desert (where many Palestinians themselves once lived) into a thriving, democratic state, something the Palestinians have not been able to come close to matching. To be able to compete, without shame, with Israel in peaceful pursuits will require a major transformation of Arab culture in the direction of openness, acceptance of critical thinking, and democratic ideas - in the government, the workplace and the home. This is very frightening to most Middle East Arabs, and they have resisted vigorously (although the upheaval in Egypt and elsewhere shows a very small shift in that direction). Until this "adjustment" takes place in Arab (and Palestinian) culture the path of hatred and incitement to violence is the surest way for Palestinians to retain their dignity, for once this hatred and incitement stops, there only remains the peaceful path - in which the Palestinian is sure to appear to have failed in comparison with Israel. The recent cold-blooded murders are a symptom of this underlying issue, and of the desire to banish the "splinter" of Western culture and return things to the "good old days" where the Jews "know their place."

Until the Palestinians face this issue squarely and honestly, and stop blaming Israel and the US for all their problems, there is absolutely no possibility of real peace with Israel. And I would strongly caution the On Being team not to be overly impressed by intelligent, Westernized Palestinians talking about peace, or even well-meaning Israelis talking about peace. The only thing that counts is what the average Palestinian really thinks when they are not "in front of the camera." And if the On Being team could really hear what is being said behind these closed doors, they would be horrified to hear a racism rivaling that of the Old Deep South. Racism is an addictive drug, like cigarettes or cocaine or heroin, used by cultures to cover up the pain of deep wounds. Seeing and acknowledging the reality of that pain, and what causes it, is the first step towards healing it. This will be very very hard, and is something the Palestinians will need to find their own way to work through.