Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Parable - Middle East Conflict

The conflict between Israeli and Palestinian has been an ongoing saga ever since the
United Nation's partition plan after the WWII. I read a website using Parable to illustrate the situation very empathically and it seems to bring over half century old family feud a little closer to our heart. Unfortunately, with current state of mind of mankind, happily ever after for Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a mirage, an optical illusion. Perhaps time, patience and understanding will illuminate the hearts and souls of millions and guide us to a more peaceful and enlightened path.
R. Jerry Adams, Ph.D.
Evaluation and Development Institute

Parable of the Family with an Orphan
A large family takes in an orphan. The house is already crowded so the orphan must share an attic room with a child too weak to protest the intrusion. The parents give each of the two children half of the room but ask each child to share a beautiful cabinet, treasured by both. The parents take a long trip, leaving their strongest son in charge.

When the parents leave, other children in the family attack the orphan and try to get him to leave. The weakest child, in particular, fights unfairly. He waits for the orphan to sleep and then attacks him. The orphan wakes up each time and hurts the weak child; he also takes over more of the room, including the beautiful cabinet.

As the orphan continues to take over more of the room, the weak child continues to take revenge. The strongest son tries to bring peace and sometimes succeeds for short periods. The basic problem, however, is that each child believes that he should have the entire attic room to himself.

Finally, the parents return. They realize that they made a mistake by leaving home while there was such a difficult situation in the attic. They don't just ask the two children to stop fighting, however. Instead, they take immediate action.

The parents decide that the boys need temporary separation, something constructive to keep them busy, and careful supervision. The parents work with the two boys to build shelves and cabinets down the middle of the room, with private storage space for each boy on each side. They install plumbing so each side of the room has plenty of fresh water. Finally, when the crisis is over, the parents set up a way for the boys to share the beautiful cabinet.

The parents do more than just provide better space, however. They provide the love, kindness, and supervision that each child needs to do well. They also make sure that the other children support the solution.

Each boy reverts to his old behavior a few times, but the parents remove his privileges each time and the old behaviors stop. Besides, each boy becomes too busy pursuing his own goals to be distracted by fighting.

They lived happily ever after...with a few disagreements here and there.

The "large family" is the United Nations. The "orphan" is Israel. The "other children" are the Arab states. The "weakest son" is the Palestinian people. Attacking the orphan unfairly means "terrorist attacks." The "attic room" is the territory of Palestine before the United Nations carved Israel into it. The "beautiful cabinet" is Jerusalem.

The "strongest son" is the United States. Alas, there are no wise parents to supervise the boys. The UN Security Council has not been able to perform this essential role.

The "strongest son," therefore, must work with the "other children" to implement peace. If the "strongest son" and the "other children" work together effectively, then peace will spread throughout the entire family.

Recently, this has not happened. Instead, extremist Palestinians have engaged in bombings when Israelis agreed to work on peace. Extremist Israelis have engaged in assassinations or other acts of aggression when Palestinians agreed to work on peace. Israelis are swiftly completing a wall between Israel and Palestinian territory, but the wall is not on the 1967 border. Rather, it snakes into Palestinian territory to unlawfully take land and water rights from 200,000 Palestinians. Extremists from both sides have destroyed the peace process.

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