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September 18, 2023

Path to Peace

By A. L. F. Fagan

Terry strolled along a road just outside of West Jerusalem. There were a numerous people walking in either direction. The people were of different ages, going about their daily routines. A pair of young children were running towards their school. Adults were heading in different directions. Some appeared to be on the way to work. Cars and trucks went by. Occasionally, someone on a bicycle rode by as well. Terry stopped to take it all in.

It was a sunny afternoon, but the heat was not unbearable. Terry came to a barren spot off the road and set his backpack down on the ground. He methodically removed numerous electronic components and laid them out in an orderly fashion. He then began connecting each part until he had a complete device. When finished, it stood on three metal legs and was about fifteen inches tall. The top of the unit contained four small squares that connected to create a larger square. These were miniature solar panels. Terry stood up, looked at his creation, and smiled. He turned and looked at his surroundings, at the people going by, and his smile grew.

After pressing a series of numbers on his phone, several lights on his device turned on, and one began to blink. While he was working, two Israeli policemen took notice of Terry. They looked confused and starting walking toward him. Terry saw them approaching and quickly typed in a different sequence. More lights on his machine began to blink, and then there was a flash of light. Instantly, the policemen and everyone else in sight were gone. Terry looked around and smiled when he saw no one.

He took a moment to examine his machine. Then he sat down on a nearby rock, removed an apple and bottle of water from his backpack, and began to eat his snack. As he did, he gazed at the view in the distance.

Just as Terry was finishing his apple, he heard someone approaching. He turned and saw a young man in his early twenties.

Terry asked in a startled voice, "Who are you?"

"My name is Itai."

Terry offered his hand to shake. "Hi, I'm Terry."

Itai shook Terry's hand and asked, "You are American?"

"Yes, where are you from?"

"I am from here." Terry paused and gave Itai a puzzled look. He turned and saw that his machine was still operating. Turning back at Itai, he stated, "That can't be. You should have disappeared."

"You mean like everyone else?"


"Do you know what happened to everyone? I was walking with some friends and suddenly they were gone. Everywhere I look, there is no one."

"Well, that is what was supposed to happen." Terry gestured towards his device on the ground and continued. "I found a way to crack the barrier between dimensions. There are an infinite number of them. I found ones that are different reflections of our own. In some of them, everything is the same except that there are no people. By cracking the barriers, all Israelis were sent to a dimension where this land is unpopulated. All the buildings are the same, but empty of people. Thus Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza are theirs. The Palestinians were sent to a different world, also empty of people. They, too, now have all of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza to themselves. It is a win-win for everyone. What I don't understand is why you weren't sent to one of those dimensions."

Itai looked around with a confused expression, trying to grasp what he had just heard. Finally he spoke up. "But I am both Arab and Israeli. My father is an Arab citizen of Israel, and my mother is an Israeli Jew."

Terry stuttered, "I . . . I had no idea that there was any intermarriage."

"Well, I'm telling you that there is. I am living proof. So what happened to my parents?"

"Well, your father is with the Palestinians in one dimension, while your mother is in another dimension with Israelis."

"You tore my family apart?!"

"Well, that's how this works. Look, I am trying to do a good thing here. For decades, the world has the watched bloodshed in this land, with no end in sight. Many say that there will never be peace between the two sides, and I can't help but suspect that they're right. Once I discovered that it is possible to make this happen, I became morally obligated to try. Now that it has been proven to work, I can use this on areas of protracted conflict all over the world."

"So how will I ever see my parents again?"

Terry responded with silence. He stopped looking Itai in the eye for several seconds while formulating a response.

Finally he looked up and replied, "I don't know. I just never thought that there was any intermarriage."

They were both startled when a young woman who had approached unnoticed spoke up.

"What do you mean, you don't know? Now I'm separated from my parents too."

Itai said, "Abeer, at least you're OK."

"How am I OK -- everyone is gone!" she snapped.

Terry stuttered, "I take it that you are the child of intermarriage too?"

"Yes, my father is Jewish, and my mother is Arab. Now they are separated from each other, and I am separated from them both. What gives you the right to come here and do this thing?"

"Hey, I am trying to save lives."

"How -- by tearing families apart?"

"Well, what would you have me do, let the slaughter continue?"

"What I want you to do is make this right!"

Itai interjected, "Look, I know that you are trying to do a good thing. We want peace as well, but you have created a new problem in your effort to fix an existing problem."

"I had never thought about needing to reverse this. I . . . I guess it could be done."

"Good, then you should do it," Itai responded.

Terry fell silent again. After a long pause he said, "I still have my doubts that undoing this is the right thing. I wish I could send all the mixed families to yet another dimension, but I don't think it's possible, or at least not any time soon. It could take a lifetime to figure out. I've spent over twenty years just to get this far."

Abeer insisted, "It is wrong to tear loving families apart. You must fix this."

Terry became lost in thought as he looked at his machine and then his phone.

Itai pressed his point. "In spite of your good intensions, you are playing God with peoples' lives. This is a sin for all the religions of this land. You must undo it."

Terry bristled and shot back, "I am not playing God! All I've done is taken what exists in nature to try and help people -- try and stop a lot of senseless violence and death. Don't all the religions of this land also teach about helping those in need and promoting peace? Where exactly is the line between playing God and trying to use tools given to us by our creator to improve the lives of the innocent?"

After a pause, Itai responded, "I don't know if there is a line, perhaps it is more like a grey area. This is a question that we will not be able to figure out here. I do believe that if peace is possible in this land, it will have to come from those of us living here and not be imposed by outsiders, even those with the best of intentions. People like yourself can help, but in the end, it will come down to whether we find a way to live together in peace or die together in conflict. Surely you can see this?"

Itai then looked at Abeer and said, "Perhaps people like Abeer and I are an early step on a path to peace, I don't know. If such a path can exist, then we need to find ourselves."

Terry sighed and replied, "OK, I'll undo what I've done. God help us all."

He then started to adjust his machine, which took several minutes. Itai and Abeer stood, watching patiently. Finally, Terry stood up and began to punch codes into his phone. There was a flash of light, and all the people who had disappeared suddenly reappeared, somewhat dazed.

Itai and Abeer thanked him. Terry was expressionless at first, then softly said, "Good luck."

Article © A. L. F. Fagan. All rights reserved.
Published on 2020-03-30
Image(s) are public domain.
1 Reader Comments
12:26:15 AM
Interesting... indeed, these problems can't magically go away. Itai and Abeer and those like them may be the ones to figure it out.
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