From a policy perspective, the trouble between Israel, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority is a complicated situation with a long history. And while the policy debate can be frustrating, the personal aspect is quite simple for me. Somewhere in the West Bank and in Gaza men and women are wondering how they will feed and clothe their families. Settling age-old conflicts might be important to them, but their first concern is how to put food on the table.
And somewhere in all that, a Palestinian farmer is tending his field hoping for enough water to produce a crop, enough political stability to allow him to bring that crop to market, and enough demand to give him a fair price. His muscles ache, his back hurts, and his fingers are calloused from manual labor.
I can’t do much about the political situation or the rain, but I can do something, however small and insignificant it might seem, to promote a market for that farmer’s produce. So, instead of merely thinking about that Palestinian farmer, I got off the couch, rode up the street to Phoenicia Market, and searched the store for food products from Gaza or the West Bank. I came home with a big bag of West Bank thyme which I purchased as an act of support and as a prayer. It’s not much of a gesture, but I’ve been to the financial edge and I’ve seen that it doesn’t take much to make a difference. And it beats the hell out of merely sitting on the sofa bitching about what other people “ought” to do.