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With Mishana Hosseinioun

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The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: An Enduring Love Tryst

By Mishana Hosseinioun

February 14, 2006

It takes but a slight stretch of the imagination to see that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in all its heartbreak, is very much a love story. That is, of course, if one chooses to perceive the holy cup as half full, as it were. It is a tale of two peoples and the beloved land they both, in a single breath, claim and worship as their own. With these various dynamics acting in concerto and inescapably escalating into the kind of passionate uprisings typical of the current day drama, it is easy to quickly lose sight of the love at its core and to simply take it for an empty glass. Even though recent decades have led to some rock-throwing here and bulldozing there, they have amounted to little in the way of genuine peace and reconciliation between the two wild lovers caught in between; their convoluted relationship is nonetheless riddled with enough fiery zeal and irrationality to make for a full-fledged romance. That handshakes, let alone establishment of mere eye contact, seem all but imminent in their current, implosive political relationship, would prescribe every more reason to excavate scraps of affection from ongoing tensions and to wrench lightness and humor out of the rubble of their everyday existence or non-existence. Handholding aside, the flat-out denial of the other's presence in the room, alone, could make a solid diagnosis of their chronic lovesickness.

These Israelis and Palestinians are your old, odd couple, too plagued by early Alzheimer's to remember each other's name or on which side of the "Wall" or "Fence" they parked their car; they are oft jaded by the viciously repetitive cycle of checkpoints that dictate their all-but-normal, quotidian lives. Then again, they are not unlike your young, sweltering newlyweds sprawled on their conjugal bed, too occupied, wrestling for the spot on top to actually consummate the darn thing. They are, in sum, a love struck item, at a loss for words-forget diplomacy-with only their god-given bodies and shake n' bake ammo to turn to when they want to get the ball rolling, so to speak. Ok, and maybe a 'Molotov' cocktail or two to break the ice.

Many a love tryst is steeped in its due share of pain, suffering and passion killings. Why then is everyone so surprised to find this pair of weathered lovebirds' wading in a bloodbath? Such is only a natural by-product of the desperate turn taken by their love affair with their land. It is no secret that where passion boils, there will inevitably be some steam and the risk of going a bit off the head. Makes one wonder whether suicide bombers and their sharp-shooting and sharply dressed counterparts are not merely the misguided Romeos and Juliets of our time-star-crossed lovers without quite an equal hand at Shakespearian penmanship to cast them under sexy candlelight on the evening news. Whatever the case may be, if this heated battle over the Promised homeland is not some form of romance or another then it is certainly nothing to write home about.

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