ByElizabeth G. Matthews
Pages 16

When we contemplate the possibility of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians we cannot help but conjure up images of numerous wars, suicide bombings, and the loss of innocent civilians on both sides. When we witness, and many experience, the effects of events such as the al-Aqsa Intifada, the building of the West Bank security barrier, the battle between Hamas and Fatah fighters that resulted in Hamas control of Gaza in 2007, and the Israeli incursion into Gaza in 2008/2009, it may become difficult to imagine a peace settlement between these two peoples. In fact, in every attempt at peace throughout the Oslo process and the Roadmap, the opening requirement has always been, and will continue to be in any future peace proposal, the cessation of violence. As a consequence of this very real concern, it becomes difficult to look past the violence toward the other issues that need resolution for a lasting peace. When we are in the midst of a violent confrontation, like the one in late 2008 into 2009, it is easy to believe that this is simply a never-ending conflict; that the Israelis and Palestinians can never arrive at an acceptable compromise to allow their people to live in peace, security, and prosperity.