This I Believe

Irene - Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Entered on June 26, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I Believe

The Israelies and Palestinians should stop fighting and embrace as long-lost brothers and sisters. Instead, they view each other as the enemy and march down a path of mutually assured destruction.

The horrible irony is: “We have met the enemy and they are us.” When I ask: What are “the chosen people” chosen for? I think, surely not mutual destruction!

Genetic studies of Israelies and Palestinians reveal many common genetic markers. Professors of ancient history, such as Robert Brier of Long Island University, suggest that the Roman conquerors of Judea drove out the Judean rulers and then forced the remaining peasants into slavery. The Romans forcibly converted their Judean slaves to the Roman religion. Later, when the Moslem religion swept across the Middle East, these residents of Palestine became Muslims.

Meanwhile, the Jews fled to the Middle East, Europe, American, and beyond—a large and ancient enough group to remember their identity. In Europe they often were not allowed to own land or join trade unions, but faced resentment when they resorted to and succeeded in banking and business. They faced death at the hands of the Nazis and countrymen. Only the paranoid survived. Jews faced such violence that they dreamt of refuge in a land of their own. Enough became Zionists to create the State of Israel, but in the process displaced a sizeable group of Palestinians, who fled to the Middle East, Europe, America, and beyond.

Some of the discrimination that Jews faced before, the Palestinians face today. In Europe, the Palestinians have it better now than the Jews did because Europeans recoiled from their Nazi past and enacted laws to protect minorities. But it’s still not the same as being fully accepted. Palestinians vividly recall the properties and comforts they lost and yearn for a land of refuge of their own. Thus, both Jews and Palestinians have wandered the globe in each others’ moccasins.

Likewise, Palestinians yearn to return after 50 years for the same reasons that the Jews yearned to return after 2000 years. Except a Physical law says that two bodies cannot occupy the same space. Israelies and Palestinians are two fairly populous groups trying to squeeze into a land the size of New Jersey.

Both groups are emphatic about their beliefs and goals. The Israelies have tried to hijack American and European foreign policy, and the Palestinians have tried to hijack Middle Eastern foreign policy. Both peoples love similar types of music, cherish education, and succeed in business.

If both groups were to join forces instead of fighting each other, the creative energies unleashed might help end global warming or spread democracy across the Middle East. So drop your weapons, share your properties by lottery! Behold and embrace your long lost brothers and sisters! Help the rest of the world see your people as shining examples instead of a geographical wound that never heals.