In the July 11 First Person Journal column, the usual litany of anti-Israel condemnation was presented in solid black. But in the Middle East there are very few issues that can be colored either solid black or solid white. Gray is the color of most Jewish-Arab disputes that are laced with religious, cultural and political overtones.
In that gray world, no conflict is one-sided. Yes, Palestinians have to pass through checkpoints, but Israel requires this because of terrorist attacks. Granted, Israel maintains a strong military presence on its borders because fire balloons and rockets endanger Israeli lives. It is a fact that Palestinians are kept in custody because Israelis have learned to imprison those who threaten their citizens. If you are looking for purity of a cause and easy answers, do not venture into the Middle East.
The torrent of words that have been expended about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can best be described as circular. Like a circle, they go round and round, never stopping and never reaching an end point. Tragically, this circular attribute can also be applied to the so-called peace process. There are few places where peace achieved by a two-state solution could provide such a dramatic benefit.
A two-state solution, reached painfully with difficult compromises on both sides, would see the new state of Palestine become a trading partner with Israel, with Palestinians reaching a higher standard of living. But, because this is the Middle East, a viable Palestinian state might be rejected by other Arab countries as a threat to their religious and political way of life.
In the Middle East, nothing is black and white.
Herbert Belkin, Swampscott