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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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July 28, 2013

Reflecting on Israel and Palestine

by Marissa Costello

There’s always a place for someone in New York City. New York City is the pure definition of what the term “melting pot” means. It’s known for its enclaves such as Chinatown and as you walk down the next few blocks, there is little Italy. In Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, locals call the neighborhood Beirut because of the recent influx of Arabic and Muslim families moving into the neighborhood. I sometimes wonder, if New Yorkers with so many differences can be said to coexist, why can’t the same be said for countries abroad?

Both peoples, Palestinians and Israelis, have surely suffered from this long conflict. In 1947, the United Nations was given the task of creating boundaries for both Palestine and Israel: one state being a proposed Jewish state while the other being a proposed Arab state. This Partition Plan would have left Palestine with 48% of the land mass. But the amount of land controlled by the Palestinians has been dwindling through the years, in large part due to occupation that followed the 1967 war. With Israel occupying Palestinian territory, Palestinians, including indigenous Bedouin villagers are displaced.

Occupation is not simply about land but the infringement upon human rights. When occupying Palestinian territory, what else is taken from the people? The natural resources within the territory are often exploited and houses are destroyed. The Palestinian economy has been dramatically affected since strict checkpoints have increased by 40% since 2006. Decisions as to what is imported or exported are out of the full control of the Palestinians.  The European Union as well as United States President Barack Obama are among many who have criticized the Israeli government and called for Israel’s borders to be those that existed prior to the 1967 war.

As I have listened to voices within the UN community, I have realized that the problem is not with the nation’s people but the failure of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to come to some kind of peaceful negotiation. There are many examples of the on-going conflict. But if peace is attained, it will be for the betterment of both nations and it will save the lives of its innocent civilians who are the most severely affected.

Learn about the United Nations in relation to Israel and Palestine.

Learn about Presbyterians at work with our partners in Palestine and Israel.

Read statements of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) related to Israel and Palestine.

 

Categories: Israel and Palestine

Tags: bedouin, negotiations, occupation, peace


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