Visiting important religious sites has been one of the most incredible and rewarding parts of this trip. The spiritual insights I have gained and continue to gain are priceless to me. However, as well as the plentiful amounts of Biblical sites, Israel is also full of political strife. These issues are completely and entirely fascinating to me. I came to the Holy Land not really fully understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As Americans, I don't think it's a concept we'll ever be able to fully understand. These issues date back farther than our country's establishment. There are parts of it that will elude us, no matter how much we want to understand.
But there are other parts; other very, very important parts that we can understand. Or, at least, that we can gain a greater understanding of. Before coming, I didn't necessarily align myself with either side. Without a full understanding I knew it would be immature and ignorant to pick a side based on assumptions, or the simple fact that the USA is "pro-Israel." After coming, and gaining a much greater understanding, I have to say that I am still, and, honestly, even more unable to determine which side is correct. In fact, I've become a whole lot more cynical about the whole issue. I used to wonder why it was so hard to come to a two-state solution. Now I can't even begin to imagine how one could draw up the borders.
I don't think I'm supposed to get particularly political through blogging while here, and I still have another month to learn more about these issues and proposed solutions. But for now, just know this: the issue is a lot more complicated than the American media, President, or Presidential candidates would make it seem. On both sides of the conflict there are some very, very good people. Both sides have legitimate claims. Both sides have made mistakes. No solution is going to come about overnight, or in a month, or probably even in five years. I will be more than glad to share more with you all when I return. In the meantime, pray for the peace of Israel.
|Photo cred to Sarah Smith. :)|
|Palestinian messages written on the Separation Wall.|
|The phrases are written in English with a very specific purpose in mind: to communicate with the West.|
|One of my favorite field trips yet.|