Ishmael and Isaac, brothers of the same father and different mothers, together buried their father Abraham. Esau and Jacob, twin brother and rivals, reconciled. When they met after many years, Jacob said: “for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received me with such favor” (Genesis 33:10).
These stories tell of rival brothers, enemy brothers, who made peace. Every human conflict is a conflict between kin. We are all daughters and sons of the same Creator God. God created humankind in God’s own image and likeness. Thus, every human being carries the imago dei, the image of God. When we kill a human being, we are killing an image of God. When we lose sight of this, we lose clarity. We lose focus. We fall into deception and obscurity, into a dangerous shadow place where we understand the Other as altogether Other who may be, or ought to be, expelled or killed. We lose sight of their humanity. And the moment we do this, we forfeit a measure of our own.
Bassam Aramin is a Palestinian fighter who served seven years in jail for planning an attack on Israeli soldiers. When he left jail, he decided to dedicate himself to nonviolent solutions to the Israel/Palestine conflict. January 16, 2007, his 10-year-old daughter, Abir, was walking home from school with her friends in Anata near a border crossing. When an Israeli Border Patrol opened fire, a bullet found the back of Abir’s head. Three days later she was dead.
Yaniv Rashef was an Israeli soldier in the sabotage unit. He lives within range of missiles fired from Gaza. He has joined with Bassam Aramin in a group of about 600 former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters—Combatants for Peace—to work together for peace in Israel/Palestine. They are working together to build playgrounds (“Palestinian and Israeli Former Fighters Unite for Peace, Valerie Elverton Dixon“.
Too bad the tour is only along the East Coast. I’d love to see it. Hearing stories like these gives me some hope that that region might someday find peace.