Did anyone else notice that the time frame Secretary Kerry has set for this current round of Mideast peace negotiations is the same amount of time it takes to bring a child into this world? Maybe it’s because I’m currently in my eighth month of pregnancy that I couldn’t help but notice that the target isn’t one year, nor is it six or 10 months–no, it’s nine months.
After eight months of pregnancy, I’m not that comfortable. My ankles are swollen. My lower back hurts. I don’t sleep that well, leaving me tired during the day and restless at night.
I can only imagine that the next nine months for the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators might not be that comfortable either. They might not sleep that well. They might experience swollen heads and a constant pain in the neck feeling. But I hope they don’t give up. I hope they don’t give up because I care almost as much about the future of Israeli and Palestinian peace as I do about the approaching birth of my first child. As a soon-to-be Jewish mother, the birth of my child and the future of Israel are inseparable.
I hope my child will visit and maybe even live in Israel someday, as I did for seven years. But I hope my child will have a different experience than mine. I spent most of those seven years trying to build bridges of understanding between the Jewish and Palestinian people. I spent most of those seven years in fear of the next regional war breaking out, and worried that the buses I rode might be blown up. And I spent most of those seven years distraught over the consequences of the Israeli occupation, a situation that turned 18-year-old frightened Israeli teenagers into the police of another people and that made 62-year-old Palestinian women stand in humiliating lines just to travel on their own roads.
I hope my child will have the luxury of growing up in a new era, one in which Israelis and Palestinians live side by side, not just in peace and security but in friendship and camaraderie. I hope my child won’t be able to fathom the descriptions of the “bad old days” and I hope that when I tell my child about check points and suicide bombings, he or she will say to me, “Oh Mom, you’re so old. That was ages ago.”
The discomfort and pains of nine months of pregnancy are worth it because more than anything, I want to bring new life into this world. I hope the Palestinian and Israeli negotiators want more than anything to bring a new way of life, a new future for all of us, into this world.