Human beings may be the crowning glory of creation but more often than not our crowns are worn askew and our behavior bespeaks a distinct lack of evolutionary development. A case in point is the recent unkind and inflammatory treatment of Palestinians by Israelis in Beit Hanoun, Gaza.
The wire services reported that “The morning after Israeli tanks crunched out of Gaza in the first step to implement the latest U.S. backed peace plan, Palestinian families returned to wrecked homes and flattened orange groves.”
I read these words and I could feel the fumes of despair rising from my solar plexus. The Israelis occupied the “sleepy farming hamlet” and left behind houses and factories toppled by bulldozers and crushed by tanks. “Instead of the famous fruit groves, there were sun-scorched fields, littered with dried roots and torn tree stumps. Telephone and electrical wires were broken.”
Why? Because Israelis have suffered long enough at the hands of terrorists and the like? Because Israelis are frustrated, angry, and weary? Or is it that Israelis get satisfaction out of revenge? Whatever it is, there is no excuse for a family to return to a demolished home.
The Israeli army said it had to flatten the land around Beit Hanoun in order to strip militants of cover. They were desperate to squelch the firing of missiles at nearby Jewish settlements. I understand the “reasoning.” I understand the cold mental approach to resolving issues. And, I know that none of it works.
Humankind will never build peace and co-existence by crushing, by wrecking, or by flattening homes, work places, and groves. Such remains breed hatred, resentment, and further destruction.
I used to want more from the Israelis. I wanted kindness. I wanted example-setting. I wanted them to embrace their Palestinian brothers and sisters. I have given all that up. The Israelis are no different from any other group that is focused on force and control as a way of life.
Once again I am thrown back to the knowledge that groups often function as mobs feeding on collective fears. It is only individuals who can step out of the rubble of failed attempts and be the change they want to see happen. As those individuals multiply, the human race will evolve and perhaps the newer emerging group mentality will be of love rather than protection. Perhaps the new reality will include reaching a hand to those behind so that they can come forward without having to fight, to kill, and to die for that next step.