A Tale of Two Cities

In the heart of the Middle East lies a country with two very different identities, a country split in two, both literally and theoretically. The rift within the borders of this beautiful and historical territory is so great that even when referenced, one may either call it Israel or Palestine, depending on which side of the split your on. Historically speaking, Jerusalem houses the history of the three major religions of the world; namely Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In this city, you will find pilgrims of the Christian faith looking to find a cure for ailments in the springs, Muslims hoping to fulfill a duty done by the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) by praying in the Masjid Al Aqsa and the Jews refer to Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel as King David established it in 1000BCE. They also believe that King Solomon commissioned the building of The First Temple in the city. So as anyone can see, Jerusalem housed a great conundrum in the past and still well into the twenty first century.

In recent news, President Obama declared that he would visit Israel in hopes that he may find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian Question and the Israeli Occupation problem. The name of the issue depends on which political faction you wish to associate with. President Obama was criticized for having given a speech in Cairo during his first term and not visiting Israeli/Palestine while he was in the area and so now he is attempting to rekindle ties he does not wish to sever and most probably apologize for such a disastrous oversight on his part.

After following the conflict closely and reading a multitude of articles on it, this recent one struck me a great deal. Posted today on the BBC website, a journalist interviewed both Palestinians and Israelis to get some insight on how they felt about the upcoming presidential song and dance. The difference in opinion only causes one to feel that the peace agreements are further than ever but what is truly ironic is the fact that both sides are preaching to the same choir. Israelis and Palestinians both feel that the US is favouring one side over the other and is not giving enough support to their respective group. That also causes their opinion on the American president to be biased, as it is based on whether he supports their side against the other or vice versa.

In the end, peace would be very possible for this region if only people were to stop and listen to one another. One cannot imagine that in this day and age, we have technologies that help us go to the moon and back but are ultimately incapable of exercising the simple act of listening to one another and working together. We have major organizations such as the UN at our disposal that will set the stage for talks and ensure that the mediation process goes smoothly but instead choose to attack one another and cause meaningless casualties on the population thus breeding feelings of anger, hate, animosity and hopelessness all of which create a need for revenge on either side. When these are the common factors among people in a region, peace will never be achieved.

Link to BBC article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21831396