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This site has been a healing place for me - I've needed the community of others to discuss my fears, and hear the fears and frustrations of others.

On one of these threads I posted something that surprised me & I'd like to copy it here as the beginning of a discussion on how do we create Peace? Christine Quelch has such a beautiful profile - and I was struck by her thoughts on 'how to create Peace' where she said:
"Without peace, most people are unable to even start to live their lives, or worse still, their lives are destroyed, (not literally, just slowly through never being able to achieve anything meaningful)."

I felt the truth of that - and would like to start a thread focused not on any of the 'reasons' for any of our wars - but a reflection on creating Peace.
This is part of a comment posted on another thread:

'If we really want Peace, then we need to think not about the reasons for this war - but the ways in which we can create Peace. I don't believe Peace is simply removing all the weapons - it is a state of mind that allows us to feel compassion and understanding for that 'hated other'. If all weapons were to suddenly vanish from the earth - the fear anger & hatred would still be present, and this is what is preventing Peace.

Ultimately this question is not about who is "right". It is about whether human beings are capable of fully owning the consequences of their actions - atoning for all the harm we cause others - and then facing our fears & finding if we are capable of loving all the ugliness in ourselves that we project onto others. We need to look into the eyes of that other & find that we can forgive ourselves.

We need each other to find what love is.'

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Well, Stewart, you really put a lot of work into this, and I appreciate that. There are a few little details that are simply not worth nitpicking about, like the 90,000 Bedouins who used Israel to graze but it certainly wasn't their home, much as here in Australia farmers use the High Country to graze though their farms lie elsewhere.

What is worth mentioning, I think, is that Britain was a mandatory, that is, it was Britain's task to carry out the wishes of the League of Nations. But Britain, seeking to retain influence in the area, had clearly come to the conclusion that that influence didn't lie with the Jews but with the TransJordanians, and Britain set about cultivating them, building their army and infrastructure. Britain also built infrastructure and railways in Palestine, but they were the poor cousin, and certainly, in contrast to the TransJordanians, the Jews were not permitted to arm themselves.

Looking at what you wrote, using that context, it is clear to me that, given that only a Jewish homeland was asserted and no other, and given the League's requirement that the mandatory (Britain) encourage Jewish immigration, the League of Nations intended there to be a Jewish state ... that after all was the sole purpose of mandates, to prepare areas for independence and statehood. Britain's aim had been to extend the Empire by sharing the Middle East with the French through the Sykes-Picot agreement. America put a stop to that, insisting on the land be given to the residents ... hence the mandates. I think it is safe to assume that Britain sought to retain power, and as I said before, it struck them that the Arabs were more amenable .... that's a very longwinded way of explaining the British position that "homeland" didn't mean "state". I have quite a bit of anecdotal evidence that the British were instrumental in formenting at least some of the violence between Arabs and Jews. They certainly used that violence as an excuse for limiting Jewish immigration in direct contravention of their mandate, even to the point of sending Holocaust survivors back to their deaths in Europe.

The only explanation for this draconian British activity, in my opinion, is that where it came to the statehood of the area, it was Britain's intent that it become part of TransJordan ... I have absolutely no evidence for saying that, besides that it fits so logically with everything I know about the period. Had Britain been left to its own devices, I'm convinced that there would never have been a Jewish state, and I believe that was the main reason the Jews wanted the mandate over and Britain gone so desparately, and declared a state so quickly.

In brief, Stewart, you're absolutely right about Britain and her decisions and declarations, but this is actually about a League of Nations decision, which was very different, with a very different vision and agenda. The mistake that was made was that too much discretional power was granted the mandatory nations ... but then, they were both the superpowers of their time.

I think we may disagree on the mechanics for peace. I firmly believe that the greatest tragedy to befall both Palestinians and Israelis was the world's imposition of Terrorist groups, all intent on Israel's destruction to be the leadership for the Palestinians in the lead-up to Oslo. Hamas, for example, couldn't make it clearer that it wants Israel gone, and Israel can have about as much productive discussion with them as the early Christians could have with the lions. They have made, not just Israeli lives intolerable, but have destroyed those of Gaza for years. Their singleminded efforts to kill Jews have robbed the Palestinians of jobs in Israel, a good standard of living, and the ability to develop Gaza into the wonderful place it could be.

I believe that if we could snap fingers and have Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP and the other members of the PA gone, and the real Palestinian builders and peacemakers available for talks, all of what you say will fall into place ... because it already exists amongst the people.

As we write this, a spontaneous movement has arisen in Israel to collect whatever will help for the people of Gaza ... ironically, it all started in Sderot. Similarly I am convinced that the average Palestinian is just as sick of violence. I saw a Palestinian movie recently, in which the characters yearned for the jobs they had in Israel. It can all happen when the people stopping it are gone.
Sorry Stewart, I just noticed that I had missed a couple of your questions, probably the ones I have the least definitive explanations for. They are certainly questions I had never encountered put quite that way ... thanks. It's about Israeli Arab compulsory military service, and why Arabs don't have that obligation.

The best I can offer you is my understanding, and I find the issue complex. There is probably an element of what you hinted, that Arabs are not trusted in an area so sensitive. It would today be a small factor, for despite that quite a number of Israeli Arabs have helped suicide bombers by ferrying them to their targets, it's but a drop in the bucket, and something a good screening process could overcome. I think most of it has to do with the Jewish experience, much like the experience of the American Civil War, in which brother may have found himself killing brother. It was an untenable position to put Arabs into, given that the enemy was Arabic and could easily be relatives. Instead Arabs were offered voluntary "National service" which in Israel is non-military, and could be anything from educating the poor in remote areas to helping out in hospitals. There have been relatively few takers. Some years ago volunteering for the army was made an Arab option (one of my reasons for saying it isn't the trust issue). Perhaps a final reason is not to stir the pot. Finally, there are huge exemptions from army service for many (dare I say most) of the very orthodox Jews ... perhaps a different issue.

But Stewart, your reason for bringing it up intrigues me. Given that Arabs can volunteer for the army, but not many do, and there haven't been any demonstrations demanding compulsory army service from the Arab sector. How did you arrive at this as an issue? It's not one that the Arabs are pushing. They are disadvataged by not doing at least national service, but so are Jews who don't.
Hi Mick,

1. The effect of discrimination in the military - broken trust - social and professional disadvantage

I realise Palestinian Israelis (Israeli Arabs) on the whole are not actively seeking compulsory military service (and I am not advocating for compulsory military service for anyone). My point was the military service is significant part of life for many Israelis. There are tremendous social bonds formed. Military service can in turn lead to advantages in the professional life through the social bonds, shared experience or by certain agencies in excluding those without military service given the alleged critical nature of the work.

I believe it is difficult to have true equality in Israel while Arab Israelis are denied compulsory military service. [Again not that I am advocating for this system - I am merely identifying why the present system is discriminatory].

If Arab Israelis are in the military they may achieve a better result given they can speak Arabic and can negotiate their way through difficult situations to minimise the loss of life. Alternatively, they may choose not to fight and exercise their democratic right to join the refuseniks and accept the consequence of this.

If Jewish Israelis cannot trust Arab Israelis in the military what does this say about the unity of the state and trust between people? How will this division create further havoc as the Israeli Arabs demographically increase more than Jewish Israelis? How will this affect the democratic choices people make and why?
Mick -
i'd like to ask you if you've seen the movie 'Encounter Point'?
if so, i'd like to hear your comments on it...
Are you using the same justification of Manifest Destiny that US President Jackson imposed with huge military power against peoply who owned land the USA wanted.

Your explanation of Israel's right to take what it wants from whomever they want and call it Destiny is elitest;
and supports the might makes right statements of people on this list. As long as Israel governs with might makes right authority; there will be people who kill Israel's to get their things back.

I asked Israel earlier why Palestinians aren't entitled to the things Israel has taken from them. Not one Israeli supporter could explain it other than Dror who says he wants Israel to be a Jewish State. You've come the next closest by defending the annexation of Palestine as Israel and Palestine's destiny.

Might doesn't make right morally, spiritually, ethically or honorably.

I'm confused what you refer to Israel wanting to dismantle Israel? Could you explain your meaning here?

All this presume that you accpet that the Palesinians are a national entity with their own culture,histor, etc and therefore their own destiny; just not in Palestine.

Who decides destiny?

Peace is a life necessity! No home, no family, no economic growth and development, no solutions to climate change, clean water, poverty, equality. War destroys everything in terms of human progress, don't fall for that war gives us all those medical breakthroughs (50% of people who die each drink contaminated, polluted water : fact). If we spent the money spent on war, for health research, care, preventive care, clean water, 90% of the world's population would improve "peacefully" in just two years. Amazing the facts the waste of war and it's costs long term.

so true ~ and harder to have this much needed conversation with those who've made their careers in military service

Thank you for this.

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