A friend of mine shared a video with me the other day that got me thinking. It was a documentary about Palestinian and Israeli children. It is called "Promises". I was saddened by what this whole conflict is doing to the children on both sides of the conflict. They are either taught to hate or develop hate based on some tragic event in their life. A Palestinian kid in the movie was so angry after his 12-year old brother was shot by an Israeli soldier. He often talks about his anger and how he hates the Israelis and how he would kill that soldier in revenge if he could.
The Palestinian child in the movie is a refugee. He is given a key from his grandmother. She tells him it is the key to their home up north that the Israelis took from them during the war. She asks him to pass the key to his children in hope that they will return home one day. The Israeli children in the movie often refer to the Torah and say: "It says here that the land is ours." Then they say that they understand why the Palestinians are angry, "We took their land, of course they would be angry" they say "but, God promised it to us."
This claim indicates that the Jews are God's chosen people which they are not. God did give them the land when they were obedient and it was a conditional covenant. He told them that they had no promise if they disobey His laws. God made a covenant with Abraham. A covenant is a two sided promise. God promised that land to Abraham's seed IF they continued in His paths.
“And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. . . . And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste” (Leviticus 26:27–28, 33)
We know what happened. The Israelites did not keep their promise to God and they rejected His Son and so He caused them to be scattered. That does not give them any right to come and re-claim their land and kick the current residents out. I wonder what an American family would do if some Indians came and simply kicked them out and took their home saying "I used to live here many years ago and this is my home and you have no right to live here even if you built this house and lived in it for generations."
We have to remember also that Abraham's seed are the covenant people of the Lord, those who believe in Him and His son, Jesus Christ and those who make covenants with Him. They are NOT the Jews.
“For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel” (2 Nephi 30:2)
"I had the opportunity to interview in a small group setting a member of the Israeli Supreme Court. He referred to Jewish citizens of Israel as 'us' and Palestinian citizens of Israel as "them." I asked him what he thought about a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court using the same language of 'us' and 'them' when talking about White Americans and Black Americans. He could not answer. Israel is a democracy the way Apartheid South Africa was a democracy. And it makes me sad."
The movie shows that Palestinians and Israelis are real people. Each having hopes and dreams. Solving the conflict will not only help Palestinians, it will also help Israelis.
The children in the movie reluctantly agree to meet and talk to each other. Before meeting each has in mind an enemy that they can't ever understand or get along with. But, when they meet something remarkable happens. All barriers melt away, they play and laugh together. A friendship forms.
Those children gave me hope. Hope that one day barriers will melt away and there won't be hate and anger. That one day we will live together in peace with our neighbors. This can't happen by leaders sitting at a negotiation tables. It must start by the Israeli government giving equal rights to the Palestinians. Taking down checkpoints and walls and allowing Palestinians to travel freely in their own country. It comes when they look at 'us' the way they look at 'them'.
I would share the movie here, but I don't know if there are copyright issues. I am going to check on that. But, here is a cute picture from the movie of the two children (the Palestinian boy and the Israeli boy). Their smiles give me hope.