On 16th February 2011, the MEPEACE board met in Jaffa to:
Update: review on 2010 and look ahead to 2011
Approve: the non-profit's statements, activities and progress
Brainstorm: together look ahead to our future: 3-5 years
Please share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions in the comments below.
Here is the heart of our brainstorming (the document is attached here as well):
Eyal: Where do we want to see the Middle East 5 yrs from now? And where do we want to see MEPEACE 3-5 yrs from now?
David: My dream for MEPEACE – close down! No need for us!
Gershon: Maybe not. In 5 years will use MEPEACE to discuss culture, music….instead of politics.
My dream for the Middle East? A strong, stable, democratic Palestine next to a much more democratic Israel.
Vicki: Inspired by this month’s events, I dream of people making change, taking change into their own hands. MEPEACE can be a part of this, as Facebook has been integral to organising revolutions
Dalya: Take a train from Tel Aviv to Baghdad!
Freeman: Complete normalization with all the Arab states and Israel. End to military conscription. Technology is key. Through MEPEACE I met my first Arab and Palestinian friends, which wouldn’t have happened only online. Translation of literature between Arab and Israel states.
Bayan: Egypt shows we can free ourselves. It allows us to dream of the possibility. MEPEACE needs more exposure in Israel.
Eyal: An Israeli ambassador in all Arab countries. In the Knesset a clear voice that represents our dreams that sometimes we are afraid to voice. A clear Israeli voice. Israel officially taking responsibility for its history and its impact on Arab citizens and Palestinians. MEPEACE as a competitor for Facebook (Gershon – should be the 2nd page people open in the morning!) 5 yrs from now, MEPEACE as an interconnected world.
Chaya: Every end is a beginning. Challenge once the revolutionary force fades to find an incentive to coming together post conflict. MEPEACE may be even more relevant then, needs to be as inclusive as possible.
Eyal: Movement. We want to mobilize a movement to win hearts and minds of people. How can we play a role in helping a movement, a new party develop??
Gershon: Numbers count! Need to get more people on the site, if we want to make a movement. Interconnectivity. To get more people involved, needs to be linked to other msn, facebook etc. eg. Share articles from newspaper – get option to share on MEPEACE.
Chaya: you mentioned a movement, are we political?
Eyal: we are not political, right, left, etc. but need to think of where we are going.
David: Unique about MEPEACE – a web presence. MEPEACE exists primarily through the website, which is a shame, because websites are old. Need presence on youtube, facebook and twitter. All MEPEACE events should be facebook events. Recently, orgs don’t even need their own website.
Mossi: Average Israeli spends 1 hour on the internet daily – 14 mins facebook, 7 mins ynet…. How long on MEPEACE?!
Eyal: For the purpose of…? So we have a stronger media presence. What then? Movement – what does that mean to you? Does MEPEACE have a role in creating a new movement?
Vicki: The question is do we want to remain open as platform for inclusive discussion, or head in a direction that we decide?
Eyal: two goals: empower individuals and orgs and mobilize. Do you want to see us support a movement? Do you want to see us out on the street supporting hasmol haleumi?
Dalya: lots of people are out supporting. MEPEACE should be a place for any peace-promoting agenda. Trying to create a movement out of MEPEACE doesn’t match.
Gershon: During the Egypt uprising, where did we get info? Not on MEPEACE. Many people go tinfo via Facebook pages – dynamic source of dialogue and information.
Lemuel: About turning into a political movement. If you build a community where people can share their own ideas, and then impose own agenda.... best for MEPEACE to promote the importance of political involvement, lobbying, how to influence… Left parties are disappearing. MEPEACE’s role can be to advise, encourage, inform about the options…
Gershon: MEPEACE is not just Israeli and cannot support an Israeli political party.
Chaya: Pluses of the online community – value to anonymity. Plenty of other orgs to be active in the street, open to ideas without commitment. When Eyal gives interviews – personal opinion or representing MEPEACE?? Be careful about how representing MEPEACE. General message - get politically involved.
Eyal: diversity, encouragement, anonymity – help people get out in the streets, but don’t tell them where to go.
David: We are a platform. Like Google, youtube… The only things we don’t do is racism, pornography, incitement. No political line.
Lemuel: More advertisement for political activism.
Mossi: If we want to compete with facebook – it is a tool. No agenda. Facebook was the main tool used in Egypt. This is MEPEACE’s contribution to the Israeli-palestinian conflict, enable people to communicate and organize. Don’t need to have a line.
Freeman: great tool, it’s happening right now, meeting, exchanging ideas. MEPEACE is more real than facebook, greater trust, part of a community.
Chaya: what if MEPEACE was expanded not just to peace issues, food, culture, music…? Share recipes, cultural attractions. To learn about each other in real life, not just politics. Upload videoblogs…
David: Social tourism, peace tourism… ‘trips to the other side’
Dalya: needs to be more organized
Chaya: Could be organized by professions?
David: there were groups of professionals meeting before the intifada, psychologists, lawyers, accountants etc…
Eyal: transparency is very important, so this conversation will be put up on the site for all to see. These ideas are what generate practical action. Now I want to ask you for practical actions?
Bayan: Does MEPEACE has to be completely apolitical? Maybe there should be a line, a goal.
Dalya: MEPEACE is about the rules of engagement, the process, not the outcome.
Eyal: My idea is to take some sort of political stand. We have an asset, energy we can direct in a certain direction. We may be able to contribute, to support new movements,
Vicki: MEPEACE can be open and should have input from political events, and organizations/ parties but should be open to all of them.
Thank you, Rachel. My comments are not meant to say that Inbal or or whoever on this planet is not a sweet, great person. This about politics. People can say you should not include politics, but politics to some extent and views on how to deal with each other cannot be ignored. I cannot really understand how for example some when I posted a picture of a Palestinian home demolished and a homeless family. Some posters who are no longer with this expressed no sadness for them.
For a long, long time I remember that as a Palestinian that in America we heard about the mantra of a land without people for a people without land. We've been invisible for too long. Our existence was denied for a long time. That hurts and angers so many people. It should be treated as relevant. Some might say I can sound angry. Malcolm X was angry, but I am not calling for separating Jews and Arabs. I am not calling for violence and fighting. However, I can understand Palestinians fighting for their independence without taking casualties in Israel of civilians and attacking military targets, not civilians. And I don't support trying to negotiate by firing rockets.
However, for me as the US mentions in the constitution property rights are important. It comes from the English ideas of John Locke and Rousseau. Rousseau a father of socialism talked about how land is used for injustices. The reality is Palestinians bought land from the Turkish, British, and Jordanian administrations. Their land deeds did not matter. The fact that my father bought land or grandfather bought land doesn't matter to Israel's government. Of course, it will displease me. Even if we disregard international law, though some of it is the basis for even recognizing Israel anywhere on the land west of the Jordan River, land deeds in the West Bank exist, and people exist. And we want to be treated as if we are truly, truly, truly human beings.
I have nothing against Inbal. I just don't agree with dispossession. I was not trying to name someone by name and their political views. I respect she is for animal rights, is very friendly, kind, and cares about the environment. I also would add that in a regime where Palestinians in Nablus cannot buy property in Tel Aviv and Haifa while Israelis can do so in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. We cannot build in East Jerusalem or breathe without permission. I can understand for some Jews they see settlements as the places where some friends and cousins live, and they only want to think positively of them. It would be like whites who live on Sioux Indian land without a thought of how the Sioux Indians who were pushed at a distance feel about the loss of that land. Again, it wouldn't be such a sweat if buying land was not subject to racial, ethnic grounds and the Arabs and Jews could buy land everywhere, but Arabs are told it's restricted to them. Israel's leaders say they want two states. They don't want one state because we are the majority. However, where are we supposed to build this second state when we keep losing territory and homes.
I hope as Edward Said hoped before he died from Leukemia that my cousins will be free and will live in peace. I hope the same for the Israelis. I really do.
You're soone-sided in your approach, so continually one-sided, even if your contentions are accurate, Basil. You say nothing about the devastating effects of Arab terrorism on Israelis. How come? You write as if only Palestinian Arabs have been injured in these ordeals. And then, you act as if you are committed to peace. Doesn't look that way to me. It appears you are really only wishing to put forth your (very biased) view of this conflict. So, immediately, I end up lacking faith in you and your intentions.