On my way to Israel

At 11 PM I board the first plane and settle into my seat. I'm on my way to Israel. I have been anticipating this trip for years, yet planned it in two weeks when a break in my hectic work schedule emerged. I'm excited, nervous, and prayerful that God will make the connections that I didn't have time to. Only my first 2 nights are booked to recover from jet lag in Tel Aviv; it will take me 24 hours to complete my journey (because of a much too generous layover in Amsterdam).

I'm going to follow my heart, which has been leading me to Israel and Palestine. The pull has gotten much stronger lately. Only 20 days ago I held a dance for peace, looking forward to holding one in Israel/Palestine - maybe using live webcams to connect the Israelis who cannot cross to the Palestinian areas, the Palestinians who can't cross to the Israeli areas, although they live in the same country, and sometimes are even in the same town, separated by a wall.

God is going to have to lead on this trip. I've sent many emails, and only confirmed one appointment. I pray to connect with the local peacebuilders whom I can encourage, and who can encourage me by doing joint peace projects together. May God direct my path.

"Blessed are the peacemakers"

I think some Palestinian Jew said that a couple millennia ago. May you be blessed in your noble endeavor to promote peace.
That's a warm fuzzy general comment that's hard to argue with ... and also one that doesn't contribute much to promoting genuine peace. So now let's move on to more serious --and perhaps controversial-- comments:

First, the idea of rehashing the wrongs done by one side to the other in order to somehow reach reconciliation is, from my experience, a very dangerous approach. Very often rehashing wrongs serves more to incite hatred amongst the teller and the listener than it does to promote sympathy and reconciliation from "the other side." In fact, the other side often has the tendency to answer in kind, by justifying the perceived wrong and/or bringing up their own sufferings from the initial teller's side.
In addition, each retelling of a wrong allows the retelling to often become embellished and exaggerated. I have even witnessed instances wheere the desire to accentuate wrong-doings have actually produced total fabrications of terrible "events" that never happened.

As hard as it might seem, the most necessary thing to do is to forget the wrongs. "Forgive and forget" is an expression we have heard and it has become just that: an expression. And as many expressions, they become a phrase that is said but has lost all or much of its meaning. Think about that expression, "Forgive AND FORGET." They go together. The forgetting part helps the forgiving part. If you forgive without forgetting, you really haven't forgiven ... not thoroughly.

I have lost 15 people that I regarded as friends: people whom I knew personally and who knew me. Fifteen. That's a lot of friends to have lost to Arab/Muslim terror. Were I to give the reader detailed accounts of each of the instances of the murders, it would keep the reader occupied for days of hours: time much better spent in promoting genuine peace.
It would be the easiest thing to rehash the horrors. It's more difficult to try to forget... and to find ways to reach genuine peace, not phony "peace" and not instant "peace" and not "peace" immediately, nor "Peace Now."
The difference between genuine long-term peace and make-believe short-lived peace is a topic for another opportunity in another blog...