A Brief Review of
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct Answers
Dale Hanson Bourke
Reviewed by Ellen Painter Dollar.
Until recently, most of my knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict came from stories. As a child, I was captivated by my father’s Time-Life books on World War II, especially the one about the Holocaust. I sat looking at the photos of doomed Jews, struggling to absorb the stories they told, their horror far too vast for my child’s heart (for anyone’s heart) to fully comprehend. For my religion major in college, I took an entire course on the Holocaust, which gave me a wider historical lens through which to view the horrific events of 1930s and 40s Europe. I learned how Jews had been denied citizenship even in countries where they had lived for centuries. I began to understand how a people without the protection of a state that claims them are uniquely vulnerable to persecution. For the first time, I understood why the state of Israel was so necessary.
I started hearing stories of Palestinian life when a friend started traveling regularly to the West Bank for her work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She met Palestinian shepherds who were unable to easily get to their land—land that has been in their families for generations—to care for their sheep because of a checkpoint or other barrier. She and her team accompanied Palestinian children to school, and held conversations with both Palestinians and Israelis. Some of my friend’s most poignant stories are of conversations with young Israeli soldiers, in which they let down their guard and say that they sometimes struggle with the moral questions raised by their job.