A Dream for the New Year, Part 1 OF 4
Recently a few of our friends challenged us to keep dreaming about what we wish to see in Israel and Palestine. According to researchers on the Palestine/Israel conflict, part of the impasse we have come to is a result of our inability to dream of something better. In order to have a better future, we need to have an idea of what it could look like.
In honor of the New Year, our regular bloggers will share their hopes and dreams for 2015. Be sure to check back every Sunday this month to see what we dream for 2015 in this four-part series.
My hopes and dreams look to the future, far beyond 2015, far beyond the short term. When we talk about hopes, I am hopeful. I choose to look at a cup as half full rather than half empty. And I believe we can accomplish much if we put our efforts toward a better future, starting (or continuing) into 2015.
In general, Palestinian people are not hopeful or positive about the future, and I wish to play a part in changing this dreary outlook on our present, for what we do in the present will create our future. Those who have the most negative views are those who cross the checkpoint and face harassment on a daily basis, or those who live in Gaza and have the least access to good medical care or a good education.
I have a passion to encourage those around me, particularly women. I want women to be empowered to do more, and to be more than contemporary culture would allow. I want women to see past the present constraints, to dream something, to be something more, whatever it is that they want to be. I want to encourage people with the word of God. I might not be the most straightforward person when it comes to witnessing to people, but I believe that if we want to change something, to show someone something different, something better, that we first need to live it.
My dream for Palestinians is that every Palestinian would be equal to any other human, Israeli or a person from another country. I dream that my people would give up their visions of violence, for violence is self-perpetuating.
I dream that Israel would likewise give up its vision of violence, and stop with the incessant claim that it must maintain its violence (its unending show of military strength) for its security, and see that its security is tied to ours. There is no our security versus their security. For Israel to be secure, so must Palestine.
I want to see the existing non-violent movements (and yes, they are among us!) gain more support, both locally and internationally. I want the world to understand that those who favor violence in Palestine do not represent all Palestinians, just as I understand that Israeli extremists who favor violence do not represent the entire Jewish nation.
I want to see justice take its place at the center of public discourse, a discussion that leads to action. I want us to have justice, by which I mean equal rights with those living in Israel/Palestine. I want this for Palestinians, but also for other minorities in Israel and Palestine. I want to see people treated the same, with dignity and respect. I want us to be recognized, to have the freedom to travel, the right to job opportunities, the right to boost our economy, the right to access high quality medical care, the right to equal education and access to any school or field. I want all these things for Palestinians, not just to enrich our minds and our lives, but also so we can use these tools to better care for those around us.
I know that there are many countries with people suffering more than us, but people in these countries have hopes, and these hopes are very similar to ours. Those who left their countries by force have hopes to return, and I hope this with them and for them that they will one day return to their land, to their homes, and rebuild what was destroyed.
Personally, I want my children to have the best education I can possibly give them. I want them to live in peace without fear. I want them to grow to respect their neighbor rather than fear them. I want them to find a place to play, a place to smile, a place to laugh -- places where they have no visual reminders of their secondary status, of their inequality. I want them to be among equals, and I want this place to be here.
In 2015, the security checkpoints are outsourced to a private company that must answer to the police, and ultimately to a multi-cultural committee.
The checkpoints are one-third of what they used to be, only in strategic areas, and include one in the middle of Tel Aviv, as security is not "profiled." After checking our trunk, the officers wave you through with a "Please" and a "Thank you, Ma’am."
Jenin is a bustling economy, recently energized by a joint effort from Germany, Turkey and the United States. They have turned this city into a Duty Free Zone for the region. The commerce is so great that Israel offers to open the port in Haifa and give direct access to Jenin and trade is busy.
The new Mayor of Bethlehem has encouraged Palestinian Christians to immigrate with a Right of Return package that includes free university education at Bethlehem Bible College (subsidized by the Vatican).
Israel's President and Prime Minister are invited to Dubai for an economic summit of the Middle East Forum - which includes all countries south of Europe and north of Africa.
Israel's medical industry booms with the increased medical tourism from the countries in this new coalition.
Natural gas is discovered off of the Haifa coast and is connected to more gas found off of the Gaza coast. A joint venture is initiated (in exchange for a Peace Treaty between the Palestinian State and the State of Israel) which provides $20,000 to each household in both countries.
The recent mass demonstrations throughout Israel and Palestine calling for peace has pressured both governments to remove the cement barriers and, instead, erect toll booths of which the proceeds are used to educate and house the poor.
The spirit of revival has hit this area after 2000 years. All it took was a recent worship service at the Garden Tomb of local Christians of all ethnic backgrounds to cause the earth to shake. This experience humbled the leaders of the local churches and congregations and their members followed. We have seen a major shift in the Muslim and Jewish populations in that they are often eager to hear about salvation.
This area is no longer the center of attention in the world, as the recent famines and droughts have caused the world to work towards global issues.