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Nine Months of Mideast Peace Talks is a Lot Like…

by Ilana Sumka | Published on August 1, 2013 in

Did anyone else notice that the time frame Secretary Kerry has set for this current round of Mideast peace nego­ti­a­tions is the same amount of time it takes to bring a child into this world? Maybe it’s because I’m currently in my eighth month of preg­nancy that I couldn’t help but notice that the target isn’t one year, nor is it six or 10 months–no, it’s nine months.

After eight months of preg­nancy, I’m not that comfort­able. My ankles are swollen. My lower back hurts. I don’t sleep that well, leaving me tired during the day and rest­less at night.

I can only imagine that the next nine months for the Israeli and Palestinian nego­tia­tors might not be that comfort­able either. They might not sleep that well. They might expe­ri­ence swollen heads and a constant pain in the neck feeling. But I hope they don’t give up. I hope they don’t give up because I care almost as much about the future of Israeli and Palestinian peace as I do about the approaching birth of my first child. As a soon-to-be Jewish mother, the birth of my child and the future of Israel are inseparable.

I hope my child will visit and maybe even live in Israel someday, as I did for seven years. But I hope my child will have a different expe­ri­ence than mine. I spent most of those seven years trying to build bridges of under­standing between the Jewish and Palestinian people. I spent most of those seven years in fear of the next regional war breaking out, and worried that the buses I rode might be blown up. And I spent most of those seven years distraught over the conse­quences of the Israeli occu­pa­tion, a situ­a­tion that turned 18-year-old fright­ened Israeli teenagers into the police of another people and that made 62-year-old Palestinian women stand in humil­i­ating lines just to travel on their own roads.

I hope my child will have the luxury of growing up in a new era, one in which Israelis and Palestinians live side by side, not just in peace and secu­rity but in friend­ship and cama­raderie. I hope my child won’t be able to fathom the descrip­tions of the “bad old days” and I hope that when I tell my child about check points and suicide bomb­ings, he or she will say to me, “Oh Mom, you’re so old. That was ages ago.”

The discom­fort and pains of nine months of preg­nancy are worth it because more than anything, I want to bring new life into this world. I hope the Palestinian and Israeli nego­tia­tors want more than anything to bring a new way of life, a new future for all of us, into this world.

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