mepeace.org

Please enjoy this transcript of our final 2011 chat workshop:

Event link:
 http://mepeace.org/events/mepeace-chat-december-18

You are cordially invited to take part in the third and last of three workshops in our Chat Workshop series 'After September - The Prospects of Palestine'. The workshop will begin on Sunday, December 18 at 20.00 Jerusalem time in the MEPEACE Chat.

In the Middle East, turbulent weeks and months lie behind us. The Arab Spring took us by surprise, and, even without being an accomplished process yet, has already changed realities in the region. Some weeks ago, in New York - some may regard it as having a direct connection to the mentioned upheavals in the Arab world - Mahmoud Abbas handed a paper to UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon. With this paper, Abbas, on behalf of his people, asked the United Nations for official recognition of the Palestinian state.


What was this? What significance has the September UN General Assembly gathering? A milestone, or a mere footnote? Or something in between?


In the first workshop in this series we've discussed (see also our full transcript of this lively workshop) the significance of the UN speeches, held by the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, respectively. Then, in the second workshop, we had a close look at some very recent events that have influenced the political and social environment of the Middle East (full transcript). This time, in our third workshop, titled 'Striving for balance - How mepeace.org can help to build a peaceful future for Israel AND Palestine', we will discuss what our role as peacemakers on mepeace.org in this new unstable situation can and must be. We will discuss why balance is necessary for peace. Furthermore, let's analyze what each of us can do here to create a future in peace.

 

The leading questions are:

 

Why is it so hard to evaluate political/social events in the Middle East in a balanced way?

 

How can we - as peacemakers on mepeace.org - build a discussion environment that takes into account the hopes, fears and worries of all involved parties?

 

What are the main challenges for mepeace.org in this new, unstable environment, shaped by the still uncertain outcomes of the 'Arab Spring' and other factors?

Oliver Haack

Hello everybody! Welcome to tonight's MEPEACE Chat Workshop!
Welcome Galit, Libby & Len, Eyal

Are you three available?

Libby and Len Traubman

hola
Oliver Haack
Hola Libby & Len! Bienvenue :)
Libby and Len Traubman
grazie, Oliver
Oliver Haack
Great to see you!
Libby and Len Traubman
It's Len.
Oliver Haack
Hi Len

Galit, are you with us?
Libby and Len Traubman
Just saw the Jerusalem Post.
Oliver Haack
you referring to a specific article?
galit feldman
Sometimes
Oliver Haack
Hey Galit! Great to see you. Welcome
Libby and Len Traubman
Fatah declares 'war' on normalization with Israel

They are banning citizen meetings.
Oliver Haack
yep, I've seen this.. Well, tonight, we gonna talk about balance.. and that Fatah declaration is certainly against balance
Me
Hi Galit, Hi Oliver, Hi LIbby and Len and Hi Waleed!
Libby and Len Traubman
na'am
Waleed Hammad
Good evening friends
Oliver Haack
Fatah might declare what it wants, WE here are still open for citizen meetings, and that's the good thing

Welcome Eyal, welcome Waleed!
Me
:-!
Waleed Hammad
thanks Oliver
Oliver Haack
Tonight, we're gonna hold the third and last workshop of our series 'After September - The Prospects of Palestine'

Our topic tonight will be 'Striving for balance - How mepeace.org can help to build a peaceful future for Israel AND Palestine'
Me
Quick comment: I"d like you all to know that our Chat feature is improved, and now you can click on the top-right to 'pop-out' the chat!
Oliver Haack
it's a great improvement indeed
Libby and Len Traubman
"top right"?
Waleed Hammad
it works .. I click on it
Oliver Haack
So tonight we're really gonna focus on mepeace.org...in other words, back from commenting political events, to discussing what we can do...

As always, please stick to some rules during the conversation...
8:09 PM
Oliver Haack
which are: please say 'rmh' before you speak...

end your statement with a period (.)...
if you want to go on, add (...) at the end of the line...

that's pretty much it...

before we start, let me just say that I'm proud of the second anniversary of the MEPEACE Chat Workshop idea...

almost exactly 2 years ago (on 20 Dec 2009) we hosted our first MEPEACE Chat Workshop.

Waleed Hammad
Congratulations Oliver and the members of dialogue team
Me
Congrats
Oliver Haack
Thanks Waleed and Eyal

Ok friends, let's start...
As always, we have a couple of leading questions for tonight's event. The first one is as follows:

Why is it so hard to evaluate political/social events in the Middle East in a balanced way?

8:14 PM
Oliver Haack
The floor is open!
Me
rmh
Oliver Haack
Eyal
Me
Thanks. I'd like to try the first question....

For me, it is so hard to evaluate political events here in general... even unbalanced...
There are so many factors, so many players, and things are happening so quickly... I have difficult making sense of the Middle East...

Plus...

The Middle East doesn't make that much sense to start with... so I am left confused...

Finally... I'd like to say that each of us have our biases, traditions, ideology... it is hard to overcome that.

Libby and Len Traubman
rmh
Oliver Haack
Len
Libby and Len Traubman
From a distance, and in the big picture.....

my perception is that most government statements are lip service. . .
and no politician can take a step that appears, in the old view of power, "weak."

So I don't believe. . .

that it is useful to spend great energy analyzing government activities at this time(.)

8:21 PM
Waleed Hammad
rmh
Oliver Haack
(Eyal, I like your point about 'overcoming biases, traditions, ideology,...')

Waleed
Waleed Hammad
To start my answer to the question I will mention the Arab Spring ..

The Youth succeeded to change their leaders and force them to step down but the image is not clear yet ..
What happens in Tahrir Square shows that chaos and disorder taking place so it is difficult to predict ..

I bet that nobody predicted the Arab Spring to happen this year in many Arab countries ..

Elisha Namelessej
Good evening to u all
Oliver Haack
Welcome Elisha! Welcome to our Chat Workshop!

...and welcome to mepeace.org
Waleed Hammad
The second point is that it is difficult to know the intentions of people as they are governed and led by their own interests ..
Elisha Namelessej
shalom and salam thanks for having me
Waleed Hammad
What is happening between Palestine and Israel is very complicated to evaluate ..
Oliver Haack
(Elisha, please scroll up the chat to see what's our topic, and how we conduct our chats. Thanks.)
Zsuzsi Schindler
good evening friends, just came home
Elisha Namelessej
i will
Oliver Haack
Welcome Zsuzsi!

rmh
Elisha Namelessej
Zsuzsi welcome
Waleed Hammad
political leaders won't meet or resume peace talks .. Palestinian peacemakers are banned to attend on ground peace events ..

so this creates the difficulty in evaluating the events in Middle East
.

Oliver Haack
The reason I added that (leading) question was that my feeling is that we automatically develop a certain bias towards one side when evaluating political/social events.
Waleed Hammad
Welcome Elisha .. Thanks for joining mepeace.org
Oliver Haack
In other words, it's hard to be 100% balanced all the time
Elisha Namelessej
thanks grateful for ur trust so far
Zsuzsi Schindler
:-D
Oliver Haack
Who else likes to comment on our first leading question for tonight?
Zsuzsi Schindler
RMH
Oliver Haack
Zsuzsi
Me
rmh
Oliver Haack
Zsuzsi - Eyal
Zsuzsi Schindler
I have the old question why is Waleed the only Palestinian/Muslim here?
Libby and Len Traubman
rmh
Mutasem Mafarjeh
Hello everybody and sorry for being late
Oliver Haack
A good example for the lack of balance, Zsuzsi!
Zsuzsi Schindler
THANKS!!!!
Mutasem Mafarjeh
lol
Oliver Haack
Welcome Mutasem!
Mutasem Mafarjeh
you can add me zs
Oliver Haack
Eyal - Len
Mutasem Mafarjeh
my lovely friend
Zsuzsi Schindler
I said thanks!!!!

it was for you
Me
So first of all, Mustasem, welcome!! You are here just in time to answer Zsuzsi's question....

This can help us see how we sometimes jump to conclusions... all of us...
Oliver Haack
Mutasem, please scroll up the chat to see what's our topic, and how we conduct our chats. Thanks.)
Mutasem Mafarjeh
oki
Elisha Namelessej
Mutasem welcome
Zsuzsi Schindler
Mutasem and Waleed love you happy to meet you here
Mutasem Mafarjeh
though i cam from watching a crul egyptian video for the egyptian army
Me
We tend to think others have prejudices and we don't.. but research shows it is almost impossible to be unprejudiced...
Mutasem Mafarjeh
try get back my balance
Elisha Namelessej
the balance is some better now
Libby and Len Traubman
rmh
Oliver Haack
Mutasem, Elisha, please don't speak while another participant is making his/her point. Thanks
Me
And finally, I'll share that traveling and meeting people helps us gain the perspective of others... and helps us overcome our own biases.
Oliver Haack
Please have a look at our

chat rules above. Thanks
Len

Libby and Len Traubman
about Balance. . .

in 19 years of Palestinian-Jewish face-to-face Dialogue where we live, we do have blance in our goups, but. . . .
Jewish participants sometimes ask: "Why aren't there more Palestiniians?"

But it is often out of dependency on "someone else" finding the Palestinians.

So. .

each of us might consider being more initiating to go "out there" and find the new participants to expand the circle. :-D (.)

Oliver Haack
Thanks, Eyal and Len... You both make the point...

of 'going out there'...
in order to learn and develop. It is also my opinion that you overcome bias by encountering the 'other...

and try to walk in the other's shoes.

Let's tackle our second leading question for tonight:

How can we - as peacemakers on mepeace.org - build a discussion environment that takes into account the hopes, fears and worries of all involved parties?

Zsuzsi Schindler
there was a great meeting of Palestinian and Israeli artists(music, theater, painting...) in Beit Jalla this weekend
8:39 PM
Mutasem Mafarjeh
we palestinians and israeli,the peace activist..who look like a match in very deep darkness should go on and grow more
Me
rmh
Libby and Len Traubman
:-*
Oliver Haack
Zsuzsi, Mutasem, please always say 'rmh' before you speak

Eyal
Me
Well, thanks, I agree with what Mutasem wrote...
Mutasem Mafarjeh
oki
Zsuzsi Schindler
RMH
Mutasem Mafarjeh
rmh
Oliver Haack
Eyal - Zsuzsi - Mutasem
Me
"We look like a match in deep darkness..."...
Mutasem Mafarjeh
:)
Me
To answer the question...

WE must practice listening....
We must create a safe space on mepeace.org for peace to talk about their needs....

and we must listen to understand others before we talk.

Oliver Haack
Zsuzsi
Zsuzsi Schindler
I personally believe mostly in personal contact the more the better; Politics? dont know...but people meeting as i met Waleed and Mutasem and really feel warm friendship to them is the way. If every single Palestinian would have one good Israeli friend, we would solve all the problems
8:44 PM
Oliver Haack
Mutasem
8:45 PM
Oliver Haack
Please go ahead, Mutasem
Mutasem Mafarjeh
yes yes

im writng
plz forgive my slowness...im tortle in writing

Oliver Haack
(ok, take your time :)
Mutasem Mafarjeh
I agree with eyal and zs...actually i love them..I believe very much in meetings on the land

and
me personally

would love to meet those israeli who really think that they hate arab, the most right israeli people who hate the arab, i wana meet and discuss them

8:48 PM
Oliver Haack
Wow, I respect that very much, Mutasem
Mutasem Mafarjeh
of course isn't good idea for all to do,but only who are ready to understand the other side no matter what they think about them..this is what i call real challenge..and much more to say..but i let you take the pen
8:49 PM
Mutasem Mafarjeh
oliver the pen is free
Oliver Haack
I think we all agree on the importance of mepeace.org to act as a 'safe space' to meet...
Waleed Hammad
rmh
Oliver Haack
but, still, discussions here are often unbalanced..what can we do to maintain more balance?

Waleed
Waleed Hammad
In case that the Palestinian Authority approved Fatah's declaration " A War on Normalization" ..
Mutasem Mafarjeh
rmh
Oliver Haack
Waleed - Mutasem
Libby and Len Traubman
rmh
Waleed Hammad
this includes on ground peace events so mepeace.org will be the right place to meet instead til we find a way out to cancel that declaration ...
Oliver Haack
Waleed - Mutasem - Len
Waleed Hammad
Second point, what happens here reflects what we already had on ground events ..
8:55 PM
Waleed Hammad
When people share their concerns, hopes and fears with each other, they understand and try to solve or achieve them together

.
Oliver Haack
Mutasem
Mutasem Mafarjeh
i don't belive in normalization

its an invented thing
to kill love and peace

and it should be stopped

those who think they want peace

they need be clear

black or white

Oliver Haack
(but aren't there shades of grey, too, Mutasem?)
Mutasem Mafarjeh
between them has no place here...i wana go deeper even...suppose there is no peace treaty but war

and in this case i have israeli friends whom i really love
does this mean im gainst my people...im sick of sick minds...and doubting everythings

no grey everything should be clear in our case...no time to joke or hobocrcy-miss spelled

9:00 PM
Mutasem Mafarjeh
in our time we need brave people...listen ..i want to grow peace in the land of thorns ,yes i wana do that... before it's too late

i wana do it now..., so help me
Oliver Haack
Len
Mutasem Mafarjeh
the pen is free
Libby and Len Traubman
In support of deep, sophisticated Mutasem. . . .

we need to clarify that that what has been "normalized" for decades is. . .
near-absence of Relationships, and thus ignorance and exaggerated fear. . .

9:03 PM
Libby and Len Traubman
and the needed "balance" needs to be between BOTH the (1) government and (2) public face-to-face peace processes. . . both are imperative!!!

(.)
Oliver Haack
rmh
Waleed Hammad
Oliver
Oliver Haack
I think 'normalization' is indeed important...

if it means economic normalization, or just the fact that mutual discussions are held...
Mutasem Mafarjeh
rmh
Oliver Haack
My view is that you cannot have a kind of 'immediate peace'... Small steps make big peace, that's my view.

Mutasem
9:06 PM
Mutasem Mafarjeh
Oliver my dear, everybody...what is the benefits of inventing idioms everyday ...forget about normalization...

i tell you why
9:08 PM
Mutasem Mafarjeh
here i come to one palestinian friend and talk about peace and how beautiful is it to meet groups together and talk...he feels happy...then i say they call it normalization,then he feels upset

isn't peace enough???????
9:09 PM
Oliver Haack
(my point is that peace is the end state, after a long process of 'normalization')
Mutasem Mafarjeh
isn't this word enough..why shall we go with many identifications and give a chance to this and that making judges ...

it should
still tell me normalization

Oliver Haack
Let's move to the third and last leading question, as our time is scarce:
Mutasem Mafarjeh
i tell you how palestinian start thinkng about it as a balck image

while they feel comfotable about the idea of peace
i mean do normalization but dont call it so

Oliver Haack
What are the main challenges for mepeace.org in this new, unstable environment, shaped by the still uncertain outcomes of the 'Arab Spring' and other factors?
Libby and Len Traubman
rmh
Oliver Haack
Len
Mutasem Mafarjeh
rmh
Libby and Len Traubman
I'm diverting, to say more about what each of US -- We -- can do to expand the circle.

After meeting Omar on MEPEACE, we included him. . .
Waleed Hammad
Oliver
Oliver Haack
Len - Mutasem
Libby and Len Traubman
in our local California Dialgoue's end-of-year meeting via Skype. . .

and you can see photos athttp://traubman.igc.org/light2011.pdf
(.)

Oliver Haack
Mutasem

(Thanks for sharing this, Len!)
Libby and Len Traubman
:-*
Mutasem Mafarjeh
really thanks len for sharing
Me
it is really great work.
Mutasem Mafarjeh
mepeace is such an inspiring idea and site with such clever people like Eyal...still
9:17 PM
Me
;)
Oliver Haack
pls go ahead, Mutasem
Mutasem Mafarjeh
need to be more activated on the LAND..talking about one or 2 meeting in the year isn't enough...my point is...look at those people from both sides who try to make violence or kill or damage against the people

they are even dare to do it and proud of doing it..but we peace activits still in little corners
Libby and Len Traubman
rmh
Zsuzsi Schindler
Mutasem I say this all the time
Mutasem Mafarjeh
like we are shy to raise our voice
Oliver Haack
(The main focus of mepeace.org is online. That's what makes us distinct)
Mutasem Mafarjeh
and shy to show our identity
Oliver Haack
Len
Mutasem Mafarjeh
with respect but still not enough

rmh
Libby and Len Traubman
At http://traubman.igc.org/dg-prog.htm are hundreds of outreach activities our local Dialogue has initiated, in addition to our in-home, monthly face-to-face meetings
Oliver Haack
Len - Mutasem
Mutasem Mafarjeh
many many respect Len...very inspiring
Oliver Haack
(Please, everybody, stick to our leading question)
Libby and Len Traubman
Pen is free, as my Ramallah friend would say
Oliver Haack
To everybody:
Mutasem Mafarjeh
oliver eyal meeting in Qutar worth thousand of online site,but still online was the source ,the point again online alone isnt enough
Oliver Haack
Let me just quickly point out that we will announce our rough event plan for 2012 soon
Mutasem Mafarjeh
in one of mepeace meeting f 2 f i invited one israeli familyt to my home
Libby and Len Traubman
Did they come to your home?
9:23 PM
Mutasem Mafarjeh
yes

all the family
Oliver Haack
Mutasem, in general, I think that mepeace is - mostly - what its peacemakers make of it. Online acquaintances can become real, face-to-face acquaintances

Friends, we have 5 minutes left.. Conclusions of tonight's workshop welcome.
Mutasem Mafarjeh
rmh
Elisha Namelessej
rmh
Oliver Haack
Mutasem - Elisha
Mutasem Mafarjeh
alot of efforts needed from mepeace...even online activities
9:26 PM
Mutasem Mafarjeh
pen is free
Oliver Haack
Elisha
Elisha Namelessej
I will do my best to find people for this me peace organisation since i have many connections with both Isr and Palestinians all day and have my limited partipation since im new here

:)
participation

Oliver Haack
Thanks, Elisha. Spread the word, please, if you can. Tell people about our online events.

Again, welcome to mepeace!
Elisha Namelessej
thanks again
Oliver Haack
Thanks everybody for taking part in our last chat workshop of 2011

It was an exciting year in the Middle East...
things happened we haven't dreamed of a year ago...

I hope that for you present here, and many others, mepeace was a forum to express your views, hopes, concerns, worries about these events...

Libby and Len Traubman
Maybe Elish has one last word, too.
Oliver Haack
Additionally, I'd like to say, that I personally mourn the death of Vaclav Havel...
Mutasem Mafarjeh
thank you
Waleed Hammad
Merry Christmas to all Christian peacemakers
Oliver Haack
one of the great peacemakers of the 20th century

Thanks Waleed
Libby and Len Traubman
Even from a prison cell, Havl envisioned and planned for a new world.
Elisha Namelessej
yes he was th door to democraxy for east to west europe R.i.P Vaclav Havel
Oliver Haack
In around 10 minutes, we will start our Volunteer Chat.. All welcome to stay around!
9:32 PM
Oliver Haack
Again, thanks for being so active in our Chat Workshop.. It was one of our most active chats in 2011!

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