Categories: Your Views

Goodwill on both sides is needed

I write about the letter of M.A. Assaf concerning the comments of your contributor Alan Murdock (Gazette, Dec. 13), about U.S. President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.

I re-read Mr. Murdock’s commentary and found it to be a good factual summary of various UN actions since 1947 that concludes with a question, and asks readers to ponder what might be next concerning the holy city of Bethlehem in these troubled times and circumstances.

I disagree with Mr. Assaf and I don’t think Mr. Murdock “took sides” regarding this decades-long dispute between Israelis and Palestinians. I also fully understand Mr. Assaf’s frustrations with the lack of credence that is generally given to the Palestinian’s rightful desire for a fair and just settlement of their own aspirations for a homeland.

To say this is a difficult issue is an understatement. Its resolution requires the willingness and goodwill of both Palestinians and Israelis to sort things out. First they need to mutually recognize the legitimacy of both of their desires for a homeland. Second they need to “reset” their positions on their decades-long war and mutually agree that their strife has reached an honourable stalemate. There needs to be an agreed-to truce that recognizes the mutual worth of their long fought battles but also the rightfulness of their respective positions. They need to agree to achieve a mutually beneficial future relationship without attempting to redress each and every one of the demons of their past disputes.

In short – they need to forgive each other. Until that event occurs this conflict will not be resolved.

In that respect the decision of the United States to back Israel by declaring its support for Jerusalem as its capital doesn’t help resolve this decades-long conflict. It does the reverse, and acerbates it. President Trump’s pandering to his “base” does not support a just, fair and mutually-accepted resolution of this long-standing Middle East crisis. I sincerely hope his successor does a better job.

David Merritt, St. Albert

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