We will all become closer to achieving peace - as Israelis, Palestinians or concerned members of the international community - if we refrain from intransigence and instead take all perspectives into account.
"I love you too" I told her, as I hugged her back. We both meant those words, even though we didn't know each other's names. She had a large scar that ran across her chest, poking out from her blue tribal print dress.
For the first time since that last cursed summer of violence, the scars on my heart stopped their screaming. I understood that now I am on my way home, back to Jerusalem, to struggle there for a true and holy change.
It is time to look at the damage the occupation is doing to both nations and what is happening to the morals of our country. I for one, love Israel; it is my country, but I find it impossible not to notice what is happening to the moral fiber of our nation.
The news today about Israel is often negative. While 135 nations have recognized a Palestinian state, the PLO has gained admission to the International Criminal Court where it wants Israel to be found guilty of war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
During my time in Israel, I refused to accept that our values are different, that peace is not possible. I witnessed the similarities of our values and the compatibility of our nature. We must relinquish fear and retain hope. In doing so, coexistence is near.
A world without Jews indeed would not be a world. A world in which the Jews once again became the scapegoats for all people's fears and frustrations would be a world in which free people could not breathe easy and the enslaved would be even more enslaved.
At no other time since the API was introduced in 2002 by Saudi Arabia has the development of events in the region converged to create a new environment, making the API more relevant than before; Israel must urgently adopt it as the basis for peace negotiations.
The Jewish nature of that state is now threatened both within Israel, by the religious and other ultra nationalists, and outside of Israel, by Palestinians who have given up any hope for a separate Palestinian state and call for a bi-national Israeli-Palestinian state.
It is one thing to travel to France and demonstrate solidarity with the French people after the horrific execution of 12 journalists at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo; it is an entirely different matter to use the occasion to call on French Jews to immigrate to Israel to avoid anti-Semitism and "live secure and peaceful lives."
It is January 11, 2015 at the time of this writing and world leaders from over 40 countries gathered in Paris, linked arm to arm to march in peace for unity.
Given the dramatically changing political dynamic between them in recent days, the Israelis and Palestinians have now, as in the past, only one choice to make -- they must coexist.
My time with future leaders of Israel and Palestine leaves me with a somewhat pessimistic outlook, but there is reason for hope.
The U.S. has been at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process for decades. However, some Palestinians I spoke with said that the U.S. is not the right party to mediate a two-state solution whereas Israelis has said it is.
If the United States is frustrated by the Palestinian turn toward the ICC, then it has only itself to blame for its unwillingness to halt Israel's colonization and occupation of Palestinian land.
On December 17, 2014, representatives of 126 countries who had endorsed the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Convention) met at the invitation of the Swiss government and, by consensus, passed a 10 point Declaration.