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Cartooning in Conflict
Chicago Nov. 4-6


Both Sides should Start Talking

By Roni Hirshenzon

A letter to the editor

I have buried both my sons.
I lost two sons, but did not lose my mind: the conflict cannot be solved with force. Those who today are unwilling to negotiate with the enemy, will do so after rivers of blood will be spilled Israeli and Palestinian blood.

Amir was killed in a terror attack near Beit Lid on January 22, 1995. He had joined the army as a paratrooper only a short time earlier, and was securing the intersection after the first suicide bomber detonated himself. He was killed when the second suicide bomber set himself off near a group of soldiers tending to the wounded. This second terrorist killed Amir and 21 other soldiers and civilians.

Elad, his younger brother, was 14 at the time. Like his older brother, Elad too wanted to be a combat soldier, but his mother and I would not let him, so he joined the Army Radio.

The first soldier to be killed in what later came to be known as the Al Aqsa Intifada, at Netzarim Junction on September 28, 2000, was David Biri Elad's best friend who was like a brother to him. Overwhelmed by pain and grief, Elad took his own life three weeks later.

It is not my intention to manipulate my sorrow in order to preach. All I want is to cry out in the names of those who have already paid the price and the even more so on behalf of those who still do not know that they will. This cry reverberates in my brain all the time.

I have lost two sons, but I have not lost my presence of mind: the conflict cannot be resolved by military means. Those who today refuse to communicate with the enemy will have no choice but to do so after rivers of Israeli and Palestinian blood will be shed.

It is just a matter of time before everyone realizes how foolish it is to believe that whatever cannot be accomplished by force can be accomplished by more force. This conflict is territorial and could have been kept and resolved as such.

As Israelis we can go on targeting terrorists and ticking bombs, but we will never eradicate the Palestinian desire for freedom, liberty and self-determination.

It may be hard to believe, and it may shatter some false myths, but both sides feel exactly the same pain and have the same yearning for a life of serenity and peace.

As the Jews say on Rosh Hashanah (New Years Eve): May this year and its curses end.


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