If Americans could see what all Palestinians face at Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza virtually every day, most would think it was wrong. But they never even hear about it in the U.S. media. If they could see what I have seen - the daily humiliation and harassment of Palestinians, the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the deliberate Israeli military attacks aimed at civilian areas, I believe the American sense of right and wrong would call it morally reprehensible.
And if American parents had to live with the fear that Israeli parents do every day - that they or their sons and daughters might be blown up at any moment in a shopping mall, restaurant, or school bus by terrorist attacks that target civilians and even children - most would understand the fear that leads many Israeli citizens to support the repressive policies of their government. They might better understand how reasonable Israeli fears of militant Palestinian violence might lead them to put their trust in the illusive security of separation walls and to support the brutal military occupation of Palestinian territory.
The death of Yasser Arafat and the promise of new Palestinian leadership, the influence of realists among the Israeli elites, the pressure of the British government on the White House, the growing hunger in the Middle East for democracy, and the heroic leadership for peace from both Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers - all point to the possibilities of this moment. It is a moment that must not be lost.