The Courage for Peace

Israeli musician, writer, and former student of Anthroposophic Studies at the Goetheanum, Omer Eilam, reflects on the attacks by Hamas and the response by the Israeli government, and calls for a radical and courageous change of course.

On Saturday, October 7th, Hamas made an unprecedented attack on Israel, infiltrating through the Gaza border, slaughtering hundreds of people, kidnapping families, and committing other violent deeds which are incomprehensible to any sane person. In response, the Israeli military has been heavily bombarding Gaza in an operation that so far has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people, injured tens of thousands and displaced many more from their homes. My heart goes out to all those whose lives were shattered by these events, Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Some voices claim that Hamas’ offense can be seen as “Israel’s 9/11”, a terror attack beyond anything that anyone could have imagined, which found the Israeli defense forces completely unprepared and left a trauma in its wake. What if we followed this line of thinking further and tried to learn from history in order not to make the same mistakes? The events of 9/11 prompted the United States government to declare the “War on Terror,” which led to the invasion of Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and the formation of ISIS, to name just some of the consequences. All of these claimed the lives of millions, led to the displacement of tens of millions, and caused immeasurable suffering.

When someone punches us, our immediate reaction is to want to punch back. It takes a moment of inner calmness to allow for reflection: What will happen if I punch back? Is continuing the cycle of violence what I really want? Or does my innermost soul yearn for peace?

Both Hamas and the Israeli government have failed their people terribly. Have we had enough? Are we ready to change course? If we are, then let us be part of a mounting international call for both ruling parties to step down and make way for others who are willing to work in the service of peace. Let us demand an immediate cease-fire and the beginning of a diplomatic process for the swift release of all hostages. My mind says I am naive, and yet my heart knows it has had enough of mind games. Knowing full well that it will not happen tomorrow and that there will still be many casualties along the way, let us build an inner courage and determination that peace is our vision for the long-term and that every day, we are doing a little something to draw closer to this vision.

More about the author, including more writings on Israel and Palestine: Omer Eilam

Image View of the Old City of Jerusalem, home to the several sites of key importance and holiness to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Photo: Robert Bye/unsplash

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Letzte Kommentare