[US to Israel and Palestinian Territories 2012] Clay Middleton on the Peace Process in Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Today’s post comes from Clay Middleton of ACYPL’s recent US to West Bank and Israel 2012 program. Clay is Associate Director of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Enlightening the minds of those who will join the peace process
While on delegation trips, participants of the American Council of Young Political Leaders seek to be informed by having open dialogue with political and community leaders, both elected and appointed, to build relationships, foster mutual understanding and respect, and create a greater awareness of the issues and interests of the countries being visited.
This has certainly held true as the first part of meetings and discussions with Palestinian leaders has deepened the understanding of my colleagues and me of the complex conflict that has plagued this region for generations. Being objective is key. Not lecturing on the beliefs of the United States to the Palestinian leaders we met with has allowed for candid conversations to take place around the current situation in Palestine and the future of the peace process, the role of youth and women in Palestinian society, and the ability to be among those who live in villages away from tourist areas.
It is clear that the United States is committed to having stability between Israel and Palestine. All parties involved have agreed to a two-state solution. The challenges are how does a two-state solution look? Can it be sustained? Will the conditions truly be met?
No one in this delegation is an expert on this subject. Each of us has our own opinion and representative political views. When emotions are put aside and the undisputed facts are presented, we agree that the question that must be answered is can practical arrangements and assurances be provided so that the people who live in this part of the world can live in an environment of peace that most can associate with?
How long will it take for such a resolution to be reached is beyond me. What I do know is that getting this wrong would have monumental effects well outside the Middle East.
As this delegation leaves Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem and heads to Tel Aviv; there is no question that the culture and history of these areas are rich and date back thousands of years. Therefore, is it possible for the future of this region to have a more perfect union as new chapters of culture, history and stability are written?
Without trying, we will never know. This is why this group of committed young political leaders must decide on what our rightful role will be in developing a viable solution. As this amazing experience continues to unfold, additional information from Israel’s point of view will be shared as we engage in dialogue with their respected leaders.
Since the nature of this topic cannot be boiled down to a few hundred words and many points of interest must be acknowledged, additional blog postings and articles will be posted from my colleagues and I on the plight of this region and the way forward with a resolution to a long standing conflict.