Is peace considered a religious message that is restricted by politics?

The author, Yossi Klein Halevi, says that peace starts with both sides’ ability to listen to each other’s narrative – a path that paves the road to peaceful coexistence. This road can be paved if both sides focus on what unites them as monotheistic religions and faiths.

Yossi also thinks that the psychological separation/barrier that accompanies this conflict had created ignorance about identity and narrative among Palestinians and Israelis because there is a main issue that is being disregarded by the Palestinian side, which is the importance of the Land of Israel in the Israeli collective identity and in the establishment of the State of Israel.

The Israeli left-wing connected the Israeli narrative and the establishment of the State of Israel with the violence in 1948 (if Israel were not attacked – it would not need to defend itself by taking over more lands during war). At the same time both secular and religious Jews connected the establishment of the current state of Israel with their longing for this land, as it’s written in the Psalms: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my utmost joy”. They never abandoned nor have they forgotten this land during their exile.

Then Yossi explains the inevitable reasons of confrontation in light of some complicated issues such as the settlement movement and the absence of a Palestinian partner who is willing to compromise, share the land and find a solution.

Palestinians reject the concept of the Jewish peoplehood so they believe that the Jews don’t deserve any national sovereignty on this land. 

Yossi also spoke about the long years of conflict over each side’s legitimacy and how the United- Nations’ resolutions never contributed in bringing  religious/spiritual-based peace and in creating good relations between Israel and Arab countries.

The former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat managed to create sort of a cold peace between Egypt and Israel because he simply did not defeat Israel in 1973.

I think the murder of the Israeli prime minister Rabin was also an assassination of the 2-state-solution and the Israeli right-wing buried it and took over the leadership.

I wonder whether these two peoples who have been fighting each other for almost a century can reach an agreement based on religious narratives that do NOT support unity between the two nations.

Foreigners interfere in Gaza, claiming that they want to make peace but at the same time there is division in the Palestinian society and politics and the Palestinian people are paying the price.

“Letters to my Palestinian Neighbour” is a message of humane feelings that addresses collective consciousness on both sides, but it does not address the mistakes throughout history that must be corrected. Both my neighbor and I share the love for drinking coffee, but we drink it differently with different bitter memories.

I cannnot see the light from my little window because of the separation wall. At the same time this wall doesn’t let my neighbour feel the warmth in my little heart.


Rasha from Iraq