Most Americans will mark Thanksgiving this week by gathering with family and friends to celebrate community and give thanks for their loved ones. We hope families will also give thanks for their safety, while thinking of Israelis and Palestinians whose futures are uncertain, and whose lives are frequently interrupted by conflict.
Last week was particularly difficult for supporters of efforts to create peace and tolerance between the two peoples. Israel and Hamas engaged in renewed conflict that cost lives and left many injured. Residents of Southern Israel experienced an unprecedented barrage of rockets from Gaza following an IDF operation in Gaza that went wrong. Over two days, 500 rockets terrorized families living in border communities. More than 50 Israelis were treated for injuries and a Palestinian was killed when a rocket struck an apartment building in Ashkelon. Palestinians in Gaza were also left to deal with the fallout from the Israeli reprisal.
Also, this week, Boston Partners for Peace hosted Nadav Tamir, Director of International Affairs at the Peres Center for Peace. Nadav was a former advisor to Israeli President Shimon Peres and spoke about his positive approach to creating a prosperous future for Israel through innovation projects and coexistence efforts. We are grateful for all those working to create positive encounters between Israelis and Palestinians and helping all of us recognize the humanity in one another. We hope these opportunities will lessen the hatred that fuels conflict. As Nadav eloquently stated, “Hearts and minds are won in dialogue, not debate.”
This Thanksgiving, we are grateful for all those working toward peace. As Shimon Peres famously stated, “Optimists and pessimists die the same way. They just live differently. I prefer to live as an optimist.”