Last week when I was at the hospital I met a Palestinian girl and shared some of her story with you. Well today I met a couple Israeli kids from the same organization that is working to build relationships between Israeli and Palestinian youth. Unfortunately, I did not have nearly as much time with them, so I don't have the same amount of information to share, but I do want to throw out one little story that one of the girls shared with me. I know this doesn't "balance" out my story telling about the people involved in the conflict, and to be honest, that isn't really my goal. I just want to share what I have learned from real people who live this every day. It is easy as Americans, sitting on our couches at home, to listen to American newscasters tell what they think. Why not let the people speak for themselves? At the end of the day, we are not trying to judge who is right and who is wrong, but learn the whole story and see how we can help in the reconciliation process... if at all.
So her story... I was telling her about the ministry we work for. How we bring kids from Gaza to the hospitals for surgery. She responded, "My dad did the same thing!" He was in the Israeli military, but saw a huge need in Gaza and the West Bank. There were lots of kids who needed hospital care that they could not get in the Palestinian territories. So he arranged to transport the children to the Israeli hospitals so they could have heart surgery. What a beautiful thing that the news doesn't usually highlight! It was her ending comment that really stuck with me though. "I don't understand why Palestinians hate all Israeli soldiers. My dad was a soldier and a good man. He was helping them!"
This is where the discussion between both sides is so important! There are good people helping people on both sides. Unfortunately, in war and conflict, the good people are overlooked and the bad people make the newspaper headlines. Something needs to change there.