Those left behind
Once again Israel is faced with the dilemma of freeing political prisoners in exchange for the bodies of two soldiers, missing, presumed dead, and two Israeli citizens held by the Hamas.
Before you justify the prolonging of the suffering of the families who do not know what happened to their children; before you justify prolonging negotiations by those who have the power to end them; think of the mothers who do not have a grave to mourn over. Think of every night when they try to find some solace in sleep, when they once again imagine the possibility of their beloved child being alive or not. What should the family of Hadar Goldin and the family of Family of Oron Shaul do on the next Memorial Day? Should they light candles? Should they wait for friends to come and support? How painful. We all thought that fighting this dreadful war was not for conquest, but rather for liberation from violence. Before we justify a pattern of more of the same punishment, in many cases now collective, perhaps we should contemplate a better and more peaceful solution, that is a solution born out of a pragmatic knowledge that violence begets more violence.
Before you justify the disappearance of Avra Mangisto and Hisham Al-Sayed, imagine how it would feel to wake up every morning not knowing what is happening with your beloved child. A longing so hard, they are not sure if they can go on. For most, this is impossible, but for those at the Parents Circle - Families Forum who have lost family members and who have learned the sanctity of human life of both Palestinian and Israelis it is something we live with every day.
And before you justify the punishment of not returning bodies of Palestinians, think too of their mothers, who have no grave to visit. Think of those who cannot plant flowers or shed a tear in a place where she can whisper her messages of longing and love.
Before you resist releasing prisoners, remember the sanctity of human life. Remember that peace does not equal justice and until Israelis and Palestinians and their leaders do not acknowledge this we will continue with the cycle of violence until the last man is left standing. Peace also means that those who have suffered most will have to give up their right to justice for the greater good. Northern Ireland would not have reached the Good Friday Agreement without assuring the prisoners that they would be released. These prisoners are for the Palestinians, just as important as any piece of land or Holy site.
We, at the Parents Circle -Families Forum object to the callous complacency of our leaders in their failure to stop the violence and to recognize that their failure to act is simply continuing the agony of so many who are left behind.
The Huffington Post