Our hearts are broken by the images we are seeing from Israel and Gaza of people grieving their loved ones. We yearn for an end to violence in this corner of the world.  Marshall Rosenberg called violence “a tragic expression of unmet needs”. In compassionate curiosity for the people committing violence on both sides of the conflict, we imagine needs for safety and security, access to livelihood, and the physical and emotional basis for health. We experience the use of violence to meet these needs as tragic, since for decade after decade violence has only set back the process.

We ask ourselves what we can do. We remind ourselves that every day that we overcome our own moralistic judgments of the people in our lives by seeing the human needs motivating them, we build a peaceful world.

We also want to invite the leaders of our government to understand that violence only sows the seeds of the next generation’s war. We can speak up, asking our leaders to support de-escalation of the conflict, not more bombs, sieges, and invasions. We recognize that the United States could play a powerful role in de-escalating this conflict due to its history of support of Israel. This will require a shift, since our leaders are heavily immersed in the old paradigm of military violence as a way to solve problems. Those of us who have experienced a different way to get everyone’s needs met can share the stories of how that happens.

Rick, Kar, Jean and Caren