Palestine / Israel and the Middle East

"People of conscience in Israel, Palestine, the U.S., etc. all desire and work for peace and justice.  It is the imperialist elements within our own governments and institutions that foment war."
                                                                                                             --Lisa Dollar, Lysistrata Project

"When a larger power rules a smaller nation, some form of violent resistance is to be expected."
                                                                                               --Matti Peled, Former Israeli General

"There are some things that only governments can do, such as negotiating binding agreements. But there are some things that only citizens outside government can do, such as changing human relationships."                                                       --Dr. Harold Saunders, Former Asst Sec. of State,
                                                                                            Negotiator of Camp David Accords


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Residents of the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk line up for supplies in 2014. Most of the camp
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What ISIS Really Wants Graeme Wood March 2015

 

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Matti Peled in San Francisco May 1992
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Excerpt: "Especially after the people of occupied Palestine were so unruly as to elect a Legislative Council in which Hamas won the majority of seats –that was in January of 2006– Israel imposed a siege on Gaza.  And after Hamas blocked an American-inspired coup d’etat by Fatah in Gaza to try to eliminate the Hamas government–the democratically elected Hamas government, according to all international observers who were present for the election– the siege was, in fact, intensified.  So that means that currently, or before the current fighting, Israel was allowing less than one truck of exports from Gaza per day. ... Israel destroyed the airport and the seaport of Gaza back in the early 2000s and has not permitted them to be rebuilt.  Israel regulates to a very very low level the amount of cement that can be imported into Gaza because it is afraid it will be used to build fortifications but that also means it can’t build a seaport or an airport, which in any case Israel has said it would bomb if that was attempted.  Israel has been severely controlling the import of food into the Gaza Strip.  One of Ariel Sharon’s advisors called this ‘putting the people of the Gaza Strip on a diet’, that is to say, the intention is not to starve them to death but to keep them alive just at the level above starvation."
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"Besides demanding
ethnic cleansing, driving
all Palestinians into the
desert for the goal of a
“Greater Israel” cover-
ing all of Palestine,
some extremists have
called for annihilation.
Recently, on June 30th,
a leader of the Jewish
Home Party, part of
Prime Minister
Netanyahu’s ruling
coalition, posted a call
for the destruction of
the Palestinian people
including “its elderly
and its women, its cities
and its villages, its
property and its
infrastructure,” adding
that Israel should also
not exclude Palestinian
mothers because they
give birth to “little
snakes.” Thousands
of viewers responded
favorably."

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    Pounding Gaza,
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Assault on Gaza July 2014

 

 

 

 

 

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The U.S. provides Israel $8.5 million* in military aid each day,
while it gives the Palestinians $0** in military aid

U.S. aid to Israel totals $233.7b over six decades

"Every candidate for Congress at that time had a pledge. They were given a pledge to sign..." ... "You make a commitment that you would vote to support the military superiority of Israel, that the economic assistance that Israel wants that you would vote to provide that." ... “You sign the pledge. If you don’t sign the pledge you don’t get money.” ... “I made it public. And then the excuse was, ‘well, those were just overzealous advocates for Israel.’ So then the tactic changed. But this is what is done for 535 members of the United States Congress. 100 senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives have to now write a paragraph which basically says the same thing. So it’s not a pledge but it’s a paragraph and you post it. And there are these forums you have to go to at the synagogues or whatever . And if you don’t perform appropriately, then you do not get money to run your campaign."
                                                       – Cynthia McKinney, in an interview with Press TV, May 22, 2011

 


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OBSTACLES TO A JUST & SUSTAINABLE PEACE AGREEMENT

David Glick
February 22, 2014

There are three major reasons why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most intractable conflicts in the world: the disparity in power between the warring parties, the essential nature of the Zionist enterprise, and the underlying psychological dynamics of the conflict.

The US has not only provided Israel with enormous amounts of financial and military assistance to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, but it has also provided Israel with total diplomatic immunity by exercising its Security Council veto to ensure that Israel is never held accountable to the many General Assembly and Security Council resolutions condemning its occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

Throughout the long and tortuous so-called peace process, US involvement has never been that of an honest broker as demonstrated by Rashid Khalidi in his book Dishonest Broker. In reality the US has continuously served as Israel’s lawyer, allowing it to continue its massive settlement construction in the occupied territories even as the peace process limped along. The US never put any serious pressure on Israel to conform to international law while continuously insisting the Palestinians concede more and more to Israel’s demands. It was as if the two warring sides were sitting down to divide a pizza while one side was already eating it. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, roughly 600,000 Israelis have been settled in the occupied territory of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law.

Many argue that this special relationship between the US and Israel is because Israel serves US strategic interests in the region. To whatever extent that remains true, one cannot discount the overwhelming influence of the Israel Lobby on US policy towards Israel. Due to the power of the Israel Lobby—comprised of AIPAC, The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the numerous Christian Zionist organizations that comprise a major part of the Republican Party base—Congress has essentially become Israeli occupied territory. No member of Congress, not even the President, dare challenge it. To do so is to do it at one’s own political peril.

A second major reason for the intractability of the conflict is the nature of Zionism itself, the ideological movement established to remedy Jewish victimization and powerlessness. The founders of the Zionist movement were secular Jews who nonetheless appropriated God’s promise in the Bible to legitimate their colonization of Palestine even as they sought to secularize Jewish life and free it from the grip of religious orthodoxy. The Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, once wryly observed that the founders of the Zionist movement did not believe in God, but the God they did not believe in nonetheless promised them Palestine.

Since its inception as a political movement, Zionism aimed at the creation of a Jewish state in a land populated by another people who had been living there continuously for many centuries. Political Zionism, as acknowledged in the writings of virtually every major Zionist politician prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, saw itself as a colonizing movement that could only succeed if the Palestinian people were dispossessed from the very land eyed as the future Jewish state. Inasmuch as the Jews were a small minority and the Palestinians, Muslim and Christian alike, comprised the vast majority, expelling them was a necessity built into Zionism from the beginning. Vladimir Jabotinsky wrote about this most candidly and since then every major Israeli political party has seen its task as acquiring as much land as possible while ridding it of as much of the indigenous Palestinian population as possible. Today we call this ethnic cleansing. The famous Zionist rallying cry, “a land without a people for a people without a land,” was pure nonsense and sophistry, designed for internal consumption and to win support from the outside world.

The tragic truth is that the Zionist movement, created to remedy Jewish victimization, ended up victimizing the people of Palestine who had nothing to do with the centuries long anti-Semitism Jews had experienced throughout Christian Europe. To put it crudely, the Zionists solved their European problem on the backs of the Palestinian people.

Thus any just and sustainable solution to the conflict would require Israel to abandon the very essence of the Zionist project because it is incompatible with compromise and sharing the land. This de-Zionization would be tantamount to Israel abandoning its birth mother and this dilemma accounts for Israel’s bad faith and intransigence in its negotiations with the Palestinians. Abandoning one’s cherished identity does not come easily and requires much courageous soul searching and internal education.

Zionism is riddled with many complexities and contradictions that at the time stirred up deep controversy in the Jewish world that continues to this day. Some Jews saw Zionism as a national liberation movement intended to remedy the long history of Jewish victimization and powerlessness. However, if it was a national liberation movement it was a most unusual one. Typically we think of national liberation movements as revolutionary movements that seek the national independence of a country from a colonial power. But in this case, the Zionists saw themselves as a nationality seeking independence through the establishment of a state, but which under the circumstances could only be accomplished with the aid of a colonial power. One cannot fully comprehend Zionism without acknowledging the contradictory elements of colonialism and East European nationalism that reside within it.

Other Jews rejected Zionism as imposing an undemocratic solution on the Palestinian people and feared it might stir up more anti-Jewish sentiment in the world. Some Jews opposed Zionism on theological grounds while others feared it was creating a civil religion that in emphasizing the more tribal and nationalistic elements in the Jewish tradition was undermining the universal values found in the prophetic tradition of Judaism. Still other Jews were more attracted to various forms of socialism and political struggle in their home countries rather than embracing Zionism as a solution to the problem of Jewish powerlessness. The Palestinians, on the other hand, saw Zionism as the actual colonizing movement that the various Zionist leaders acknowledged it was in their internal writings.

In so far as the Zionists understood their movement as a colonizing enterprise, the state it created is best understood as a settler colonial state, much as the US, Australia, and South Africa prior to the ANC’s rise to power, were originally settler colonial states. However, Israel is an unusual kind of settler colonial state in that its colonists did not come from a single mother country, but were gathered from countries around the world. Nonetheless Zionism from the very beginning sought and ultimately acquired the assistance of an imperial power and found it in Great Britain with the Balfour Declaration.

But unlike the US that long ago accomplished its goal of manifest destiny by committing genocide against the native peoples who bravely but in vain opposed the theft and conquest of their land, Israel arrived late on the scene. Consequently it is still in the process of implementing its own version of manifest destiny by relentlessly seeking to acquire the entirety of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea at the expense of the Palestinians living there.

In many respects Israel is similar to apartheid era South Africa. But whereas the white ruling elite of South Africa saw the South African Blacks as a captive labor pool to be exploited for profit and gain, the Zionists primarily saw the majority Palestinians as a demographic threat and an obstacle to the goal of a Jewish majority state who had to be either driven out by force of arms or persuaded to leave by virtue of the intolerable conditions under which they are forced to live. Given the historical context in which Zionism arose, it was inevitable that for it to succeed, deep-rooted elements of racism, chauvinism, militarism, and an aggressive expansionism were tragically built into its DNA. Thus the state it ultimately created is best understood not as a democracy, as Israel likes to call itself, but rather as an ethnocracy, since it privileges by law and custom the rights and benefits of its Jewish citizens above those of its Palestinian citizens who comprise some 20 percent of the population.

A third reason that contributes to the intractability of this tragic conflict is the psychological dynamics that undergird, complicate, and perpetuate it. One of these factors is the dynamic of shame. Shame has many sources, but fundamental to it is a sense of helplessness and impotence that causes one to feel weak, inadequate, and defective in one’s essential being. Shame is a deeply painful emotion because it casts a cloak of unworthiness over the entirety of who we experience ourselves to be.

The experience of the Shoah, or the Holocaust as it is typically called, has seared itself into the Jewish psyche. Whether consciously or unconsciously, this has created fears, despair, rage, and shame due to the helplessness Jews experienced before the overwhelming might of the Nazi regime, a condition which ultimately led to their extermination. One way in which Israelis compensate for that shame is to become tough, aggressive, and hardened as if to say, “I will become so powerful that no one will dare mess with me. I will become so powerful that I will never again be helpless and vulnerable and allow what happened to us in Europe happen to us again.” It is a way of attempting to purge the shame, to purge that defect, to rid oneself of it by becoming tough, strong, and so militarily powerful as to never show weakness.

Inevitably Israel’s overwhelming military might and its brutal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people understandably produces among Palestinians that same helplessness that leads to despair and rage. As a result a mutually reinforcing cycle of violence fueled by fear and rage on both sides is then let loose with tragic consequences for all.

Psychologists call this mutual “projective identification,” a concept that operates unconsciously that elucidates one of the core dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If one sees oneself exclusively as a victim of the other’s violence, it is all too easy to believe in one’s essential innocence and the goodness and purity of one’s cause and point of view. We then become blind to our own hostility, violence, and aggression and attempt to rid ourselves of these disowned parts of who we are by projecting them onto the other. We then see in the other what we refuse to see in ourselves and behave toward the other with that very aggression that evokes the defensive and retaliatory behavior of the other that is then used to confirm our picture of them as essentially hostile, violent, threatening, and ultimately evil.

As someone Jewish, I feel more confidant exploring how these psychological issues impact the conflict with respect to American and Israeli Jews. As mentioned previously, I believe it is a safe generalization that virtually all Jews grow up under the shadow of the Holocaust. Jewish consciousness is shaped by it and Jewish identity is steeped in it. Consequently there is a kind of collective wound in the Jewish psyche. Many Jews carry within their historical DNA the trauma of the persecution Jews experienced in Christian Europe—systematic discrimination, the Inquisition, forced conversions, mass expulsions, pogroms, and ultimately genocide.

For many Jews this has resulted in a kind of psychological sickness, a deeply felt conviction that they are the eternal victim, that has resulted in an inability to reflect honestly about their own behavior toward the Palestinians and their other neighbors in the region. The understandable resistance of the Palestinians to the Zionist theft and conquest of their land, whether done violently or non-violently, is experienced by the Israelis as unjustified aggression and confirms in their mind fearful images of the Jewish past.

After the Holocaust and the refusal of the Western countries to take in the desperate Jewish refugees in substantial numbers, many Jews sought a safe haven where they could live in peace and security that found expression in their attraction to Zionism. Sadly this collective wound in the Jewish psyche has resulted in a deep-rooted moral blindness that has prevented all too many Israeli and American Jews from understanding the very real suffering that Palestinians have experienced at the hands of the Zionist enterprise.

Palestinians could not understand why they were expected to give up their homeland to pay for Europe’s anti-Semitism and the horrible crimes committed against the Jews prior to and during the Holocaust. While most of the Jewish refugees preferred a safe place other than Palestine, had the Zionists who came to Palestine been merely seeking sanctuary as guests in another people’s home, they more likely would have been welcomed. But once it became clear that they intended to establish a state of their own by dispossessing the Palestinians, conflict became inevitable. Understanding this grievance is fundamental to understanding the tangled roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is essential that we Jews face this inner sickness and heal it. As long as we wrap ourselves in the self-righteous mantle of the eternal, innocent victim, we will be unable to take responsibility for our part in creating and perpetuating this tragic conflict. When and if we have the courage to do this, I believe this will go a long way to finding a just and sustainable solution to this conflict, regardless of whether what is ultimately worked out is a two-state, one-state, bi-national state, or regional federated solution.

Regrettably there are those in Israel and the larger Jewish community who cynically use the Holocaust to play on Jewish fears and suppress legitimate criticism of Israel. Jews who voice such criticism are often slandered as self-hating Jews, and non-Jews who voice such criticism are often slandered as anti-Semites. This manipulative use of the Holocaust to disingenuously cast Israeli aggression into acts of self-defense desecrates the sacred memory of all those who perished in the ghastly inferno of that Nazi hell.

The late renowned Edward Said once famously observed that it is the tragedy of the Palestinians to be the victim of victims. While this is true, we must not let Israel off the hook. We must be careful not to view the powerful state of Israel simply as a victim. Many Christians understandably feel a sense of guilt and embarrassment over the way Jews were historically maligned in Christian theology leading to their deplorable treatment at the hands of the Church. Nonetheless if Christians are to be fair-minded, it is important for them to speak out when there is legitimate criticism of Israel. Keeping silent not only betrays their own faith, it neither helps the Palestinians nor ultimately the Israelis, both of whom deserve to live in peace and security.

Finally, when and if the Palestinian political leadership overcomes its deep divisions and comes together in the same powerful manner as has Palestinian civil society, then the hope for a just and sustainable peace will be closer at hand.


David Glick is psychotherapist and member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

 

 

 

 

Videos, audios, etc...

Israel's New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land 101713

Max Blumenthal on "Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel" 100413

Meet 2011 TED Prize Winner: JR

Chomsky: Instead of "Illegal" Threat to Syria, U.S. Should Back Chemical Weapons Ban in All Nations 091113

Chomsky on 9/11, Syria’s "Bloody Partition" and Why U.S. Role Ensures Failure of Mideast Talks 091113

Watching this video could prevent us from going to war with Syria 091013

The history and geopolitical dynamics of Shia and Sunni Islam with Imam Muhammad Ali and Dr Hatem Bazian 090513

John Nichols & Robert McChesney - Dollarocracy: How the Money/ Media/ Election Complex is Destroying America
Sydney Levy & Dalit Baum - Divesting from the Occupation
(2nd hour)
KPFA KPFA Sunday Show w/Philip Maldari 072113

Israeli Journalist Amira Hass Sparks Furor at Home for Defending Palestinian Right to Resist 041013

Brokers of Deceit: As Obama Visits Israel, Scholar Rashid Khalidi on How the U.S. Undermines Peace 031913

Rashid Khalidi - How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace 031013
with Philip Maldari

Daniel Ellsberg - Tribute to Bradley Manning - 1st hour
Documentary - Roadmap to Apartheid and Palestine @ 1:02:10

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show w/ Philip Maldari 021713

"Where Should the Birds Fly?"
A Film by Fida Qishta

The Gatekeepers: In New Film, Ex-Shin Bet Chiefs Denounce Occupation, Compare Israel to Nazi Germany 012913

 

 

 

Parity for Peace in Israel-Palestine: Two States on the Same Land with Bilateral Governance

Abraham's Vision
Conflict transformation... examining social relations within & between the Jewish, Muslim, Israeli and Palestinian communities

Build Palestine Initiative

The Public Peace Process

Other Voice, For a civil solution in the Sderot-Gaza region

Articles

Israel Has Reached Childhood's End -- It's Time to End U.S. Aid to Israel 111013

Israel Cranks Up the PR Machine Max Blumenthal 110413

6 Things You Buy That Help Support Israeli Brutality
Alex Kane 103113

Exposing the Dark Underbelly of Israel: The Horrors Your Tax Dollars Support Alex Kane 101613

Mark Mazzetti: A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood 040713

Inverse hasbara: How '5 Broken Cameras' changed Palestinians' attitude toward nonviolence 040713

Israel in trouble: review of The Gatekeepers, by Dror Moreh Mark Taylor 012113

 

"This wall constitutes a psychological barrier between us, a barrier of suspicion, a barrier of rejection; a barrier of fear, of deception, a barrier of hallucination without any action, deed or decision. A barrier of distorted and eroded interpretation of every event and statement. It is this psychological barrier which I described in official statements as constituting 70% of the whole problem."
                                                                               --Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat in an address
                                                                                  to the Israeli Parliament on November 20, 1977

 

 

 

Videos, audios, etc...

Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams on Gaza: "We Can’t Support Punishing an Entire Population" 112012

"No Place is Safe": After Assault’s Worst Day, Gaza Doctor Says Israel Terrorizing Civilians 112012

On the Ground Coverage by Al Jazeera English @ 0:06:20
Hatem Bazian, Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley - @ 00:20:12
Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs: A History @ 00:36:33

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 111912

Cynthia McKinney on 911 Zionist Controlled Media, Congress
and Syria - Truth!
111912

Personal Narratives of Change - Israeli-Palestinian Relations 070612

Dalit Baum - Who Profits from the Israeli Occupation? 041212

CROSSING THE BORDER - Interviews with Peace Builders
Israeli Dan Bar-On -- Palestinian Sami Adwan
033007

Norman Finkelstein: Waning Jewish American Support for Israel Boosts Chances for Middle East Peace 060412

Boycotting Israel: Mustafa Barghouti vs. Rabbi Arthur Waskow on BDS Movement, Palestinian Solidarity 032612

Palestinian writers, activists disavow racism, anti-Semitism
of Gilad Atzmon
031312

THE PEACEMAKERS and their pursuit of understanding
from Libby and Len Traubman

 

 

David Glick: Hear O Israel

 

Images of the Wall

 

 

"A state ruling over a hostile population of one million people will necessarily become a Shin Bet state, with all that this implies for education, freedom of speech and thought and democracy. The corruption found in any colonial regime will affix itself to the State of Israel. The administration will have to suppress an uprising on the one hand and acquire Quislings, or Arab traitors, on the other."
                                                             --Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz - in 1968, one year after the
                                                                beginning of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip

 

Articles

1000 Table World Cafe in Israel - Interview, Inspiration & Invitation 091011

Academic claims Israeli school textbooks contain bias 080611

David Glick: Egypt's Proud Moment 021111

 

 

Cynthia McKinney:  'US lawmakers forced to support Israel'

 

If access denied, see 052211 article.

Acknowledging the long and bitter legacy of persecution and displacement that tears at the hearts of both Jewish and Palestinian civilians, we grieve with both... and bless the swelling tide of those choosing peace.
                                                                                                                            --Lysistrata Project

 

 

 

Videos, audios, etc...

"Middle East Peace start with each of us" 121410

Johan Galtung on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Mideast Peace Talks 091610

Israeli and Palestinian Teens Mix at MEET 072910

Musaique - Music without Boundaries 070810

New Video Smuggled Out from Mavi Marmara of Israel’s Deadly Assault on Gaza Aid Flotilla 061010

Israeli Commandos Seize Videotape and Equipment from Journalists After Deadly Raid 060910

The Story of Budrus 050410

Diana Buttu: Palestinian Refugee Rights & Negotiations 050210

Amit Deutsch - The roles that narratives play in perpetuating both group and interpersonal conflicts TEDxBerkeley 040310

Jerusalem: War in my Land 022110

Films, videos show Palestinians and Jews living beyond war 051210

MEET - Our Vision for 2020 - What is MEET? 122709

Voices from the Women's Circlework Leadership Training 2009

RSA Animate -- The Empathic Civilisation

Compassionate Listening Project 1 & 2 - 072408
Compassionate Listening Project

Matti Peled in San Francisco May 1992

 

 

What Eisenhower Could Teach Obama 070610

David Glick:  Israeli Madness 060910

A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing NYTimes, 12/30/09

A growing Spiral Dynamics influence in the Middle East 082209

Elza Maalouf - Fateh's Sixth Convention and the Building of a Nation 082009

David Glick:  A Letter to My Fellow Jews Apr 09

Palestinian seeks a land of freedom 072405

Israeli hopes for peace to take root 072405

Three Women, Palestinian Christian, Muslim and Israeli Jew on Life under Occupation 071805

Stitching for Social Change

 

 

 

Hear O Israel

Hear O Israel intoned our forefathers
swaying back and forth in their crowded shtetls
to the beat of thousands of years of history
to countless arguments
petitions
and prayers of gratitude
addressed to the Holy One.

But what O Israel
have you become?
The Nazis made me afraid to be a Jew
but you have made me ashamed.

Over thousands of years
you grew and matured
from the fierce tribalism of our youth
to the universal teachings of our revered prophets
their uncompromising demand
for justice and peacemaking.

With deaf ears you've turned your back on them.
Yours is a different calling
a tearing apart rather than a gathering together.
Your bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes
and unroot ancient olive trees.
Your young soldiers humiliate old men and women
at your horrid checkpoints.

Your rubber bullets maim
your tanks and F16s and Apache helicopters
terrorize and brutalize
a people yearning to be free
and to live in dignity.
The Star of David is stained with blood.

You drew the wrong lesson
from our long history of oppression
from forced conversions and ethnic cleansing
pogroms and genocide.
What happened to us
must never be the fate of another.
This is the sacred lesson to be learned
this is the stern obligation to be carried
into this sad and broken world.

It is time now for truth telling
time for courage
time to confront the darkness we have become.
When it comes to the Holocaust it is Never Forget
but when it comes to Deir Yassin it is Never Mind.
This must never be.

The Star of David emblazoned
on your tanks and fighter planes
has become a badge of shame.
This wretched war over land and identity
belongs in the dust bin of history.

Hear me O Israel
you claim to speak for me
but you don't.
Yet still I carry your shame in my bones.
Make me proud once again.
Heed the call of justice and compassion
heed the cries of those you have oppressed.

Do it for Amos and Micah
do it for all the beautiful Palestinian and Israeli children
who yearn to laugh and play together as cousins.
Do it before a new generation is saturated
in this madness of hatred and fear.

Do it before
one more home is toppled
one more tree felled
one more innocent child is maimed
and scarred for life.
Do it because it is right.


-- David Glick
    copyright March 7, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Inverse hasbara: How '5 Broken Cameras' changed
Palestinians' attitude toward nonviolence


One Palestinian prisoner writes that the bravery in the Oscar-nominated
documentary, denounced by the Israeli government as slander, affected
even militant inmates, suggesting they could benefit from exposure to nonviolent literature

 

By Amira Hass | Apr.07, 2013

The Palestinian security prisoners incarcerated in Hadarim Prison in Even Yehuda recently had the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated documentary “5 Broken Cameras,” about the protests against the separation fence in the West Bank town of Bil'in, not once but twice: on Israel's Channel 2 as well as on the Palestinian television station.

One of those prisoners did in fact watch the movie on both channels. Walid Daqa a 52-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel from Baaqa al-Gharbiyeh, followed, somewhat amused, the discussion over whether the documentary – which was co-directed by an Israeli and a Palestinian and criticized by Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat as slandering Israel – qualified as an Israeli or Palestinian. But most of all, he was interested in the reactions of his fellow prisoners, as he wrote in a letter to his friend Anat Matar, a philosophy lecturer at Tel Aviv University and his pen pal of several years.

At a time when Palestinian prisoners are in the headlines for their deaths, whether during interrogation or due to cancer, hunger strikes, protests or stone throwing, Daqa’s letter to Matar (written in Hebrew) offers a glimpse of the world of Palestinian prisoners from a different angle.

“The prisoners are a masculine society or subculture that praises and glorifies the values of aggressiveness and sees nonviolence as feminine,” wrote Daqa. “If a man espouses nonviolence, he is thought of almost as gay, as someone whose place is not among the freedom fighters. And of course, they don't see any contradiction between being freedom fighters and [supporting] the repression of a man's right to live how he wants, whether it's a gay man or anyone else.”

He continued, “The film has exposed the prisoners to something new. They suddenly discovered that the struggle of these 'yuppies,' these 'spineless' people from Bil'in and Na'alin, isn't simple at all, but demands faith and sacrifice, and bears with it not a little risk. And suddenly they discovered that standing exposed to the barrel of a rifle, without any means of defense, reflects courage and bravery that are far greater than the bravery required to stand behind a rifle. And I would add that in order to stand behind that rifle and be a good gunman, all you need is to be a coward and a person who lacks ethics and values.”

Daqa has been in jail for 27 years, since March 1986. In 1987, a military tribunal in Lod gave him a life sentence for his membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine cell that killed an Israel Defense Forces soldier, Moshe Tamam, in 1984.

Daqa has admitted to belonging to the cell, but continues to deny any connection to the murder. A fellow member of the cell who incriminated Daqa during questioning by the Shin Bet security service has since retracted this part of his statement, but the military tribunal dismissed Daqa's request for a retrial.

Over the years, Daqa has reached the conclusion that his social and national aspirations can be best expressed through membership in a group that is active in Israel – the Balad political party. He won a legal battle to get the Israel Prison Service to remove his classification as a member of the Popular Front, and his sentence was recently commuted to 37 years.

An “elder” who has been imprisoned for almost three decades, Daqa noted, “The movie changed the minds of many of the prisoners regarding the nonviolent popular struggle. From my perspective, the movie could be Israeli or Czech; what's important is that it shook up the prisoners' macho culture and militaristic outlook.”

“The question that remains unanswered and that prevents people from adopting the concept of a nonviolent struggle is whether such a struggle can advance [their] objectives and reach [their] goals,” he wrote. “There is a ton of literature in the jails that explains and glorifies armed struggle, but there aren't any books about Mahatma Gandhi, for instance, or the struggle of African-American citizens – Martin Luther King and others.

“If I were in the shoes of the Israeli culture minister, instead of condemning and attacking the movie and the directors, I would fund the purchase of books and studies about nonviolent struggle and flood the libraries of Israeli jails with that literature,” Daqa continued. “This movie can help prevent killing and fresh graves [from being dug] in this land.”

Israeli TV programs are one of the windows through which Daqa keeps up to date on Israeli society. On March 4, he wrote to Matar about watching the evening news, clicking between channels 2 and 10.

“Over the course of the news broadcast, during half an hour, incidents of racism were reported that, taken individually, were not sensational stories, but the mass [of such reports] on its own is frightening,” he wrote.

Daqa listed several news items: the attack on an Arab woman in Jerusalem by passersby; the attack on an Arab laborer in Tel Aviv; the similar attack two days prior on an Arab sanitation worker from Jaffa; the walkout of hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans from a soccer stadium when the team's Chechen Muslim player scored a goal, and the separate public transportations for settlers and Palestinian workers from the West Bank to Israel.

“If that's what made it into the headlines, it's reasonable to assume there are hundreds of incidents of racism that aren't reported, not to mention the demolition of homes in Jerusalem or the settlers' attacks on West Bank residents,” wrote Daqa. “This is a situation that requires urgent Arab-Jewish efforts. Not to come out with joint statements of condemnation and certainly not to use these incidents for political taunts, but to find the most practical ways of reducing the level of violence and making the majority see it as something contemptible.”

“This kind of discourse should not define the Israeli-Arab conflict,” he wrote. “Such a discourse is very popular among and welcomed by religious forces on both sides. Through such wordings, an extreme religious discourse is being imposed, and it overrides common sense and repels every possibility of resolution. Fascism, all fascism, thrives on hatred and the absence of rational thought and rational politics.”

Haaretz      

 

 

 

Egypt's Proud Moment

David Glick
February 11, 2011

The Egyptian people's courageous struggle for freedom and democracy is a source of hope and inspiration. The overthrow of a brutal dictator through a non-violent people's movement is a stunning moment in history to be celebrated by lovers of freedom everywhere.

For Israel, Mubarak's departure is a dangerous opportunity. It is dangerous if Israel persists in its brutal and illegal occupation precisely when the winds of resistance to authoritarian rule are sweeping the region. There was no anti-Israel rhetoric that accompanied the massive demonstrations in Egypt. What the people wanted was to be able to live in freedom and dignity in their own country.

But we can be certain that any new government will be more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. This then is precisely the right moment for Israel to extend a genuine hand of friendship to the Palestinian people, especially if it cares more for its own security than its ambitions of territorial expansion.

Whether the ultimate outcome of deliberations is two states living side by side in peace or one secular democratic state, let us pray that this singular moment in history is not ignored to the detriment of the desires of both peoples to live in peace and security.

 

David Glick is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israeli Madness

David Glick
June 9, 2010

Whatever one's view of the legitimacy and historical necessity of the creation of a Jewish state after the Holocaust, one must in all honesty conclude that today's Israel has become a rogue state flagrantly violating international law and ruthlessly oppressing the Palestinian people. Israel's recent murderous attack on a peaceful flotilla of boats carrying human rights activists and humanitarian relief to the besieged people of Gaza reveals a poisonous cruelty that has infected Israel’s national consciousness. The attack, which occurred in international waters, resulted in the deaths of nine peace activists by Israeli commandos who dropped onto the lead ship from helicopters in the dark of night. Many others aboard the ship suffered serious injuries at the hands of the commandos. It was a clear and simple case of state terrorism and piracy that rightly occasioned an outcry all around the world.

The question must be asked, "How can a people once the object of such horrific persecution become, in turn, the persecutors of another people?" While this is a question for psychologists and philosophers, there is a more urgent and immediate question facing all of us. It is U.S. unconditional support--military and diplomatic together with some $3-5 billion annually in our taxpayer money—that sustains Israel. We, then, are unwitting accomplices in Israel's brutal and illegal treatment of the Palestinian people.

The recent Goldstone report documents that Israel committed war crimes during its 2008-09 attack on Gaza. Israel's colonial settlement of Palestinian land is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and numerous UN resolutions. And Israel's use of American provided military weapons in acts of aggression is a violation of U.S. law under the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

The failure of the Obama administration to forthrightly condemn the Israeli attack and demand an independent, un-biased international investigation is shameful. It is time for this administration to develop some backbone and moral clarity and cut off all military and economic aid until Israel ends its siege of Gaza and the entirety of its occupation of the West Bank and allows for the creation of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital, together with a negotiated resolution of the Palestinian refugee crisis.

As far back as 1991, a prominent military officer, General Matti Peled, was quoted in the Progressive Magazine as saying, “The (Israeli) expansionists, the annexationists, are deliberately working against every possibility of solving the conflict. So those of us who believe that this is an unacceptable development must think of radical and unprecedented steps. And since they cannot go on implementing their annexationist policies without American money, I think it is our duty to call upon the United States to stop giving money to Israel.”

While many mainstream Jewish organizations like AIPAC claim to be simply defending Israel from its enemies, they are, in reality, actually taking sides in a struggle within Israel itself, supporting its rightwing government against the forces for peace within Israel. Given that AIPAC is in reality a lobby for a foreign government shaping public opinion and working to elect pro-Israel members of Congress, the U.S. Justice Department should, under the law, require it to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. According to the act passed in 1938, its purpose “is to insure that the American public and its lawmakers know the source of information (propaganda) intended to sway public opinion, policy and laws.”

It has long been a triumph of Israeli propaganda that it has been able to couch its acts of aggression against the Palestinian people as acts of self-defense by exploiting the memory of the Holocaust to justify its actions. This manipulative use of the Holocaust to disingenuously transform Israel’s aggression into acts of self-defense desecrates the memory of those who perished in the ghastly inferno of that Nazi hell. Nonetheless, in recognition of this tragic history of the Jewish people, the noted Palestinian-American cultural critic, Edward Said, once said, “It is the tragic fate of the Palestinians to be the victims of victims.” Consequently the sorrowful history of the Palestinians at the hands of Zionism is seldom given the recognition it deserves in the shameful and biased pro-Israel coverage of the mainstream media. Despite this fact, a growing worldwide movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel has grown up as a non-violent response in support of Palestinian human and national rights.

The question for our government and for all of us is this--what side are we on--that of the Palestinian people and the Israeli peace forces or Israel's fanatical right-wing forces. Our silence is complicity in the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people and a betrayal of those courageous individuals in the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps who have worked tirelessly for justice for the Palestinians, security for Israel, and reconciliation between them. The fate of the Palestinian people and peace in the region hangs in the balance. Moreover a just solution to the Palestinian crisis will eliminate a major grievance tragically fueling anti-Jewish sentiment around the world and increasing hostility toward the U.S. as Israel’s benefactor.

More than ever Israel is in a defiant, bunker mentality blind to how its own aggression is fueling anger and hatred toward it around the world. This then seems to confirm the belief that the world is unalterably against them and the Jewish people. This vicious circle has by now become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If this dilemma is not soon resolved and Israel continues with its settlement activities and its siege of Gaza, the fast disappearing chance for a two state solution will soon be history and the only remaining remedy will be a single bi-national state, secular and democratic, with equal rights for all its citizens, Israelis and Palestinians alike.

 

David Glick is a member of the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition
and Jewish Voice for Peace.

 

 

A Letter To My Fellow Jews

David Glick
April 2009

What, I ask, has come of us? “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” say Israeli leaders Simon Peres and Tzipi Livni. Have we, who historically have been subjected to such horrific prejudice, persecution and even genocide, become so callous that we are now morally blind to the violence and oppression that Israel is inflicting on the people of Palestine, a large number of whom are innocent civilians?

We, who once were the victims of the Nazi genocide, which murdered six million Jews while the world was silent, have now become the perpetrators of violence. After the experience of the Holocaust, “never again” quite understandably meant that we Jews would never again allow ourselves to be so vulnerable that we would go to the slaughter like lambs to the kill.

But “never again” must never be the sole possession of the Jewish people. That cry belongs to the world—to all who suffer under the boot of an oppressor who visits violence and death upon them.

It is the great tragedy of the Palestinian people that they are the victims of victims. Consequently the crimes and suffering they have endured have gone unacknowledged by all those who disingenuously use the Holocaust to justify whatever Israel does as self-defense. That manipulative use of the Holocaust desecrates the memory of all those who perished in the ghastly inferno of that Nazi hell.

The killing of innocent civilians is deplorable, whether by Hamas rockets or Israeli fighter planes and helicopter gunships. But let’s be honest. Enough of the lies and self-deceptions. Israel’s aggression against Gaza is not a legitimate act of self-defense. The rockets being fired upon Israel are an understandable, if regrettable, act of resistance born of the despair of an ongoing illegal occupation that is at the heart of the conflict.

Israel argues that it evacuated Gaza two years ago only to have Hamas rockets rain down upon its civilian population. But let’s be honest. Israel imposed a ruthless siege on Gaza after Hamas, like it or not, won a fair and honest election monitored by international observers. In response Israel turned Gaza into a virtual open-air prison by totally sealing off its borders and cutting off supplies of food, water, medicine and electricity. Israel’s current bombing and invasion have magnified that crisis into what the UN has called a humanitarian disaster with a dreadful loss of life and limb among Palestinians, with more casualties mounting daily. As of this writing, the dead include13 Israeli soldiers and over 1300 Palestinians, most of whom are innocent civilians, including over 400 children. In addition over 5800 Palestinians have been seriously wounded in this high-tech slaughter, again the vast majority innocent women and children.

Israel’s collective punishment of the people of Gaza, its excessive, disproportionate use of force, and its indiscriminate bombing of civilians are war crimes under the Geneva Convention.

We Jews who criticize Israel do so out of the values of our Jewish moral heritage. It is high time that we Jews reach back and embrace our proud tradition of social justice and honestly admit to ourselves that the Zionist enterprise, in its urgency to find a sanctuary, made the Palestinians pay the price for Europe’s anti-Semitism and the horrible crimes committed against us prior to and during the Holocaust.

Palestinians could not understand why they had to give up their homeland to remedy something for which they were not responsible. And so one tragedy was heaped upon another. Let us be big enough to acknowledge this reality and ask the Palestinians for their understanding and forgiveness and in return genuinely commit to seek as just a remedy as possible.

To that end there are only two realistic solutions to this terrible tragedy. One is for Israel to completely end the occupation and evacuate all settlements, return to the pre-1967 armistice lines and support the formation of a truly viable and independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza along with a negotiated settlement of the right of return. The other option is to agree to one secular state in all of Israel/Palestine, with equal rights for all its citizens.

Let no more children die, whether Israeli or Palestinian, when the solutions are apparent to all people of good will.

David Glick is a psychotherapist in Fairfax, CA and a member of the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition and Jewish Voice for Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All articles reprinted
under the Fair Use
doctrine of
international

copyright law
(
http://www4.law.
cornell.edu/uscode/
17/107.html
). All
copyrights belong to
original publisher.

 

 

 

Parity for Peace in Israel-Palestine:

Two States on the Same Land with Bilateral Governance

Juggling the conflicting claims of two nations for the same piece of land is a major challenge. All existing proposals for peace between Jews and Palestinians leave one side or the other feeling shortchanged with respect to the land and its resources. This proposal, called the Parity for Peace plan, starts by asking what people in each nation want and then seeks to meet as many of these wants as possible in the fairest possible way.

Clarification of Words Used in This Proposal
What People on Each Side Want
Shortcomings of Existing Proposals in Terms of Wants
The Basics of the Parity for Peace Plan
An Elaboration of the Parity for Peace Plan
Why This Proposal Is Better Than the Others
Questions and Answers

Clarification of Words Used in This Proposal

1. “Proposal” here does not mean an official offer but an idea for a solution.

2. This proposal stretches the conventional notion of statehood; it is out of the box.

3. This proposal distinguishes between Israelis and Jews because 20 percent of Israeli citizens are of Arab (Palestinian) ethnicity and their interests are not the same as those of Jews. Furthermore, Israel is designed to serve the interests of Diaspora Jews as well as those who have Israeli citizenship.

5. “Mandate Palestine” refers to the geographic area called “Palestine” during the British mandate, that is, land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

6. “Palestine” in this proposal refers to the state that is envisioned for the Palestinians.

What People on Each Side Want

Jews

1. Control over their destiny after centuries of persecution and discrimination culminating in the Nazi Holocaust. (“Never again!”)

2. Physical and economic security.

3. A geographical place where they can express their nationhood.

4. In an ideal world, physical possession of all of Mandate Palestine (“the Land of Israel”), with its historical and religious associations.

6. Control over sites that are sacred to Jews.

5. International acceptance.

Palestinians

1. Control over their destiny after centuries of occupation and empire.

2. Physical and economic security.

3. A geographical place where they can express their nationhood. (If they were not formerly a nation, they are now.)

4. Recognition of Israel’s role in the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem.

5. Israeli recognition of the right of Palestinians to return to the homes they lost when Israel was created (and subsequently). (“the right of return”)

6. Compensation for property lost to the Israelis.

7. In an ideal world, physical possession of all of Mandate Palestine.

8. Control over sites that are sacred to Islam.

9. International acceptance.

Thesis: The best way to produce a lasting peace is to satisfy as many of these wants as possible.

Shortcomings of Existing Proposals in Terms of Wants

A binational, secular, democratic state:

1. Jews would soon be outnumbered by Palestinians and would thus lose control over their destiny in a democratic state.

2. The Jews would no longer have a Jewish state.

Transfer of Palestinians to a state to be carved out of one or more Arab states:

1. No Arab state has offered land to the Palestinians, nor is one likely to do so.

2. Palestinians do not want their state to be outside the territory in which their forefathers lived for many generations.

3. Forcing millions of Palestinians to move would be extremely expensive and traumatic.

4. Many in the international community would consider the wholesale, forced transfer of Palestinians to be morally unacceptable (in contrast to the transfer of settlers out of land the settlers knew from the beginning was in dispute).

Two states, with enforcement of UN resolutions:

1. If all refugees who wanted to return were allowed to do so, it would upset the demographic balance in Israel, and Israel could not then be both democratic and Jewish.

2. If Jews were required to withdraw to the pre-1967 border, they would lose control over the heart of their ancient kingdom, with its historical and religious associations.

3. If Jews were to withdraw to the pre-1967 border, Israel would be vulnerable to attack, both along the Green Line and from the hills overlooking Jerusalem.

4. Relocating settlers would be very expensive and traumatic.

5. Palestinians would be left with 22 percent of the land they once thought of as theirs; the division would seem unfair.

6. Israel would lose control of the aquifer and of fertile land along the Jordan River.

7. Israeli Palestinians would continue to live in a Jewish state in which they are second-class citizens because they are not Jews.

Two states along the lines of the Geneva Accord (an unofficial peace plan):

1. Palestinians could return to Israel only in token numbers, thus being unable to exercise fully their right of return.

2. Jews would be giving up the heart of their ancient kingdom, with its historical and religious associations.

3. Israel would lose control over part of the aquifer.

4. Relocating settlers would be very expensive and traumatic.

5. Palestinians would not have full control over their borders or airspace.

6. Palestinians would have only 22 percent of Mandate Palestine; the division would seem unfair.

7. Palestinians would be asked to trade fertile land for desert on a 1:1 basis.

8. Israelis of Palestinian ethnicity would continue to live in a Jewish state in which they are second-class citizens because they are not Jews.

Two states as apparently envisioned by Sharon:

1. Palestinians would be left with an even smaller fraction of Mandate Palestine (10–15% instead of 22%), making the division of land seem extremely unfair.

2. The Palestinian state would likely not be viable: (a) There would be insufficient land to absorb refugees. (b) Palestine would be dependent on Israel for water (Israel would control the aquifer) and electricity (which would also be true of other two-state plans), both of which could be cut off or rationed at will. (c) Palestine’s borders and airspace would be controlled by Israel, making it difficult to conduct commerce. (d) Movement between different parts of Palestine would be by very narrow corridors (roads), which could be cut off at will by the Israelis, further impeding the free flow of commerce. (e) Because Israel has expropriated the best farmland, because so much Palestinian infrastructure (farmland, orchards, commercial enterprises, housing) has been destroyed, and because Jerusalem and its associated jobs (including jobs in the tourism industry) would belong to Israel, it would be difficult for Palestinians to make a living.

3. Because of Palestine’s small size, and because movement to, from, and within Palestine would be controlled—or could easily be controlled—by Israel, Palestinians are likely to feel imprisoned and harassed.

4. The Palestinian claim to a right of return would be met, if at all, in only a token way, leaving many Palestinians unsatisfied.

5. Israelis who live on the Palestinian side of the Wall or Fence would feel isolated and vulnerable; the same would be true of Palestinians living on the Israeli side.

6. Moving settlers from Palestine to Israel proper would be very expensive and traumatic.

7. Jews who feel that God has given all of Mandate Palestine (“the Land of Israel”) to the Jews as a birthright would feel bereft.

8. Palestinians who feel that God has given all of Mandate Palestine to the Arabs would feel bereft.

9. Israelis of Palestinian ethnicity would continue to live in a Jewish state in which they are second-class citizens because they are not Jews.

In sum: Implementing existing proposals would leave major groups unsatisfied. The conflict would remain unresolved, and violence would likely continue.

The Basics of the Parity for Peace Plan

(1) Two states—Israel and Palestine—on the same land (each state encompassing all of Mandate Palestine) (2) with bilateral governance in which each state has equal power regardless of the size of its population but (3) with economic resources allocated on a roughly per capita basis, taking the population of the two states as a whole, (4) with management of religious sites to be determined by the clerics of the religions involved, (5) with Palestinians who lost their homes and businesses being compensated for their loss and having the right of first refusal to buy them back, (6) with amnesty for all political and military prisoners who agree to live in peace, and (7) with a publicly funded program to heal psychological wounds, arrive at common understandings, and promote goodwill so that the two nations can be reconciled.

An Elaboration of the Parity for Peace Plan

(1) Two states on the same land: The psychological and practical benefits to each nation of being able to claim the whole of Mandate Palestine for its state are tremendous. Jews and Palestinians could now rejoice in what they have rather than lament over what they have lost or are about to lose. Because the boundaries of each state would be internationally recognized as going from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, Jews and Palestinians could now settle anywhere, subject to land laws agreed to between the states. Jews could retain the heartland of their historic kingdom, and Palestinian refugees could reestablish themselves in or near their former homes. Two of the biggest obstacles to peace would thus be removed.

Each state could express its nationalism through the usual trappings: flag, song, holidays, the issuance of passports, and so on. Jews could call the whole place Israel and sing “Hatikva.” Palestinians could call the whole place Palestine and sing their own national anthem. No longer would Israel’s Arab citizens of Palestinian ethnicity have to sing “Hatikva”; they would now be citizens of Palestine and have a national anthem they could identify with.

Each state would have a legislature, a president, and representation in the United Nations. The legislature of each state could pass laws where uniformity with the other state is not required, such as laws on marriage. Within narrow areas, people might even be able to choose between sets of laws. In Israel today, people can choose to be tried under Jewish religious law or under secular law. Palestinians could be offered the choice of being tried under Islamic law or secular law. This possibility might satisfy Islamists.

Children of mixed marriages could choose which state they wanted to belong to.

(2) Bilateral governance in which each state has equal power regardless of the size of its population: Because of the intermingling of the populations, the two states would have to agree on laws affecting everyone, for example, laws regarding traffic, commerce, taxes, natural resources, land use, the environment, immigration, and government expenditure. To ensure equal application of the law, executive and judicial branches of the bilateral government would need to be fully integrated, with power shared as equally as possible at all levels.

As in other institutions of international governance, for example, the General Assembly of the United Nations, each state would have equal power regardless of the size of its population. Each nation would thus have sufficient power to protect its interests. Jews would no longer have to worry about demographics. They would retain enough power to continue to be a haven for Jews and a place where Jews would never again be at the mercy of a government that chose to discriminate against them. Some mechanism, such as international arbitration, could be worked out if there were a true deadlock between the two states, but on the crucial issue of human rights (“Never again!”), it could be assumed that international arbitration would decide in favor of human rights.

Laws could be passed in one of two ways: the two legislatures, which would be of equal size, could meet jointly and pass laws with a simple-majority or higher-majority vote, or a system could be set up whereby a bill would have to be passed by both legislatures to become law. The former is less likely to lead to gridlock.

Although it would be up to the Jews and the Palestinians to decide how to organize the government, the following is suggested:

At fixed intervals, say, every four years, each state would select a prime minister from a slate of candidates presented by the other state. This would encourage moderation. The two prime ministers chosen would rotate positions, say, every six months, with the alternate serving as deputy prime minister during the same period.

The prime minister, deputy prime minister, and presidents of the two states would then select the ministers and deputy ministers of each ministry, subject to the approval of the joint legislature. The rotation principle could apply here and to lower executive levels as well.

Foreign policy would be handled jointly by the two states because of the need for uniformity in immigration, trade, and matters of war and peace. Israel would benefit from the special relationship Palestinians have with the European Union and the Arab states, and Palestine would benefit from the special relationship Israel has with the United States.

To avoid the influence of big money or money from outside interests, campaigns for elections in both states would be paid for by state funds.

(3) Economic resources allocated on a roughly per capita basis, taking the population of the two states as a whole: This is a matter of equity and is fundamental to an enduring peace. Water resources have to be allocated so that each person gets his fair share. Israelis and Palestinians as individuals would have equal access to state land, currently 80 to 90 percent of the entire area of Mandate Palestine. Offering Palestinian refugees state land would help to compensate them for the economic losses they incurred in 1948 and 1967 and would enable them to reestablish their villages if the land were still available and they agreed to live in peace. Peace would free up money for bringing water, sewers, schools, and other essential services to Palestinian areas.

(4) Management of religious sites to be determined by the clerics of the religions involved: The clerics know what is involved to make the sharing of religious sites work and are probably more inclined to be conciliatory than the politicians are, assuming they are people of the Spirit. Furthermore, clerics have the ability to make whatever they decide (if they need to bend some rules) sound as if it were God’s will, thus bringing the people with them. They are better able to lead in religious matters than the politicians are; politicians look over their shoulder and try to figure out what will be tolerated, whereas clerics can set policies and get people to follow them.

(5) Palestinians who lost their homes and businesses being compensated for their loss and having the right of first refusal to buy them back: This seems fair to both Jews and Palestinians. No Jew would be kicked out of a home or forced to sell a business, but before either the home or the business were put on the open market, the original owner would have the right to make an offer on it.

(6) Amnesty for all political and military prisoners who agree to live in peace: This would follow the customary practice of releasing prisoners at the end of a war and would signal a new beginning.

(7) A publicly funded program to heal psychological wounds, arrive at common understandings, and promote goodwill so that the two nations can be reconciled: This would entail Living Room Dialogue Groups on a massive scale, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the pairing of Palestinian and Jewish families, and a conscious effort to develop skills in compassionate listening and forgiveness. Such programs already exist, but they need more funding to make a difference. Both in schools and in society at large, Palestinians would be taught the Jewish narrative, Jews would be taught the Palestinian narrative, and every attempt would be made to come up with a common narrative about the history that has affected both peoples. To facilitate communication, all schoolchildren and government workers would be taught Arabic, Hebrew, and English. Language courses would be available to other adults as well.

Why This Proposal Is Better Than the Others

This proposal recognizes the rights of both nations to the land and asks the same concession of each: that each nation give up exclusive control of the land in exchange for peace. By meeting the key needs of each nation and coming up with a solution that is fair, the causes for the conflict are removed. As a result, Jews and Palestinians can expect a peace that endures. This proposal also recognizes the current reality: an intermingling of populations in the West Bank that makes it impossible to divide the land in a way that does not leave tens of thousands of people on the “wrong” side.

Questions and Answers

1. What if there is a bloodbath?

If key wants for land and self-determination are met on both sides, there is no need to destroy the other to achieve these wants. Once the plan is agreed to and implemented, anyone who continued to resist, or who sought revenge through killing, would be apprehended and dealt with through the courts. People are less likely to kill others if there is another mechanism for settling disputes, which the judicial system provides. One advantage to an integrated police force and judicial system is that people who harm and harass other people would be more likely to be arrested and tried than is now the case: for example, injury and harassment of Palestinians by settlers is largely ignored by the Israeli police and military officials; this would not be the case if Palestinians had the power to arrest them as well. Taking care of conflicts as they arise would help to keep them from blowing up into larger conflicts. A publicly funded effort to heal psychological wounds, arrive at common understandings, and promote goodwill (the last element of the plan) would help to reduce the hostility that now exists. Agreement to the plan would in itself bring a great feeling of catharsis among those who feel victimized and would replace despair, which leads to violence, with hope. If both sides can see steady progress being made in implementing the plan, the frustrations that have led to violence could be avoided. Special care would need to be taken at the beginning to prevent possible exuberance from descending into lawlessness. The presence of a large number of trained, nonviolent peace workers could help with conflict resolution, especially during the transition phase. Respect for each nation’s sensitivities would have to be a part of the framework. For example, drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed or drawing swastikas would need to be outlawed from the very beginning.

2. What is to persuade Israel, which now has the upper hand, to agree to the terms of this proposal?

Precisely because Israel now has the upper hand, any willingness on the part of Israel to come to a truly fair settlement would gain Israel tremendous respect in the international community. Fairness is a key value in Judaism, and a policy that embraced this principle would be in line with Judaism’s teachings to “love the stranger” and to treat the stranger justly.

Israel would gain by having legitimate, internationally recognized access to all of the Land of Israel that was in Mandate Palestine; Israel would no longer be regarded as an occupying power: its obligations to the Palestinians under international law would be met. Working with the Palestinians as partners in governance would hasten the Palestinians’ skills in governance, leading to more stability in the region.

Israel would be safer under this plan than under other two-state solutions. With other two-state solutions, Israel will always be worrying about a possible attack from Palestine and other Arab states. If the borders of Israel and Palestine are the same, Israel will have better control over what comes in and what goes out, and other Arab states will have to think twice about attacking Israel, because an attack on Israel would also be an attack on Palestine. Most important, however, is that this plan provides so much of what the Palestinians want, they will likely have no more incentive to resist. They would have a governmental mechanism for dealing with their grievances and the incentive to help apprehend people who were not willing to live in peace. If Palestinians were to accept this plan, so, surely, would their international supporters, including other Arab states and Iran.

3. What is to persuade Palestinians, who never agreed to the Zionist enterprise, to agree to the terms of this proposal?

Israel is a fait accompli; it is not going away, and a one-state, one-vote solution is simply unacceptable to Jews unless Arabs are transferred out. More than any other two-state proposal, this proposal restores what Palestinians lost when Israel was created: both states will now have access to all of what was Mandate Palestine. This plan is the only plan that provides parity between the two states in terms of borders and power while treating individuals equally. Palestinians will gain world esteem by granting Jews the political power they need to provide a haven against anti-Semitism.

4. How can such a tiny area absorb the return of Palestinian refugees, especially considering the shortage of water and the Jews’ own need to have Israel be a haven for Jewish refugees?

As part of an overall settlement, other countries could offer citizenship to Palestinian refugees, reducing the number of refugees returning to Israel-Palestine. Israel is currently using workers from many different countries. With the end of the conflict, Palestinians could just as easily fill these positions and the foreign workers sent home. As stakeholders in Israel-Palestine, Palestinians might feel motivated to reduce the size of their families, as has happened with other families around the world when their economic and political conditions improve. Israel’s recruitment of Jews to Israel for demographic purposes would no longer be necessary, because Israel would have 50 percent of the power regardless of the size of its population. Israel could continue to be a haven for Jews who are persecuted, but perhaps only a temporary haven. The best course of action is to work for human rights for Jews and other minorities in every country of the world so that there is no need for a haven. Anti-Semitism arising as a response to Israel’s policies would be reduced if there were a fair settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.

5. Why should power be shared 50-50 instead of on the basis of population?

Because Jews have experienced centuries of state-sponsored (or state-allowed) discrimination and persecution, culminating in the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews, they feel the need for a place where they have political control. Admittedly, sharing power 50-50 does not give them absolute control, but at the same time it does not allow them to be controlled. Were a true impasse to occur, and arbitration sought, the international community would favor human rights. Palestinians would gain international esteem for generously recognizing the Jews’ need for control of their destiny. The Palestinians, themselves having experienced powerlessness, also need a place where they can control their destiny. A 50-50 solution is the only one that will give each group the assurance it needs not to be dominated. Giving each state equal power has precedent in the setup of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Parity between Palestinians and Jews as nations was even suggested by some Zionists before the creation of Israel.

6. Aren’t we really talking about a binational state?

The concept of a binational state has changed since some Zionists first proposed it in the 1920s and early 1930s. Back then, when Jews were a minority, parity between the Jews and Palestinians was as an inherent aspect of the proposal for a binational state. More recently, any mention of a binational state assumes a one-person, one-vote arrangement within a single state. The Parity for Peace plan recognizes the psychological importance to Jews and Palestinians alike of each nation having a state of their own and does not call for the destruction of any state that already exists. Allowing each state separate representation in the United Nations gives each state legitimacy as a state.

One could argue that shared sovereignty belies the notion of a state, but sovereignty is shared in a federal system, and a federal system is a relatively new concept in statehood. When the thirteen colonies in America broke away from England and established themselves as states, they first tried working together as a confederation. They soon found that they needed a stronger union. Thus the federal system was born. All human institutions arise to meet a need. Just because there have never before been two states with the same borders and a shared government does not mean that this political framework cannot be instituted. The conflicting and legitimate demands posed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are unique and call for a unique response. Two people can maintain separate identities while owning a house and sharing in decision-making related to the house. As our world becomes more integrated, nations are already giving up some of their sovereignty for the sake of world order.

7. Doesn’t the cartoon controversy (the worldwide Muslim uprising over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed) show that nations with different value systems cannot live and work together?

Both nations will have to show sensitivity to issues that inflame the other. Some countries have laws against “hate crimes” or “incitement to violence.” Palestinians and Jews could do the same, specifically stating what actions will be considered unacceptable. Sensitivity must include a willingness to hear the other side’s grievances. The cartoon controversy became a worldwide uprising because Danish officials initially refused to meet with local Muslims who were upset about the publication of the cartoons.

Both the Jews and the Palestinians have qualities that bode well for living and working together in spite of diversity. The Jewish community in Israel includes people from many different cultures and with very different interpretations of what it means to be a Jew. Furthermore, 20 percent of the population of Israel is Muslim and there are, as well, a good many residents from other countries. Despite all this diversity, society functions. Historically, Muslims have been relatively tolerant and hospitable. Before the advent of Zionism, Jews were better treated in Muslim countries than in Christian ones, and in pre-Mandate Palestine, Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived harmoniously. Justice is an important value for all three religious groups as well as secularists and can be a unifying principle.

8. What if Palestinians and Jews simply don’t want to live together?

Palestinians and Jews have both experienced what it is like to live in ghettos. Under the Parity for Peace plan, forced segregation would not be allowed, but people may naturally choose to live with people of their own nationality. An active program to promote understanding and goodwill at all levels of society would help to break down psychological barriers. If such a program were publicly funded so that it could be done on a massive scale, Israel, together with Palestine, would indeed become “a light unto the nations.”

This plan is a work in progress. It was last updated on March 17, 2006. We welcome your suggestions and comments. Post them on the forum or Send feedback to the writer-editor of this site. We will not open attachments. The mailing address is Parity for Peace, P.O. Box 381, Fairfax, CA 94978, U.S.A. Please identify yourself as a Jew (J), Palestinian (P), or Other (O). Further identification would be helpful, such as whether you live in Israel, another country, Gaza, or the West Bank.

Parity for Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images of the Wall

>Israel's apartheid wall at Qalqilya
Israel's apartheid wall at Qalqilya -         See video



 

 

 

 

 

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