While some in the West are emphasizing Israel’s right to defend itself from rocket fire from Gaza, our neighbors here in the Middle East seem united this week in condemning Israel’s response, using words such as massacre and criminal. How can people see the same events so differently?
Three times this week I’ve seen the bodies of dead children held up for television cameras outside the hospital in Gaza.
We should understand those images go right to the heart of our neighbors. They rip the scab off an ancient wound that may go back as far as Hagar weeping over Ishmael in the wilderness. Our neighbors feel that they–and the children they love–are being treated as if they are worthless. In that context, arguments about who started the conflict virtually cannot be heard.
Is there a way out? I do know this: when Gaza families come into the hospitals in Israel, they receive just the opposite message Living, healed children are held up, and the families understand that they and their children are precious in the sight of God. In that context, people can start to hear each other.