mepeace.org

Hi everyone,

Some may remember that a while ago I told you about our project HotPeace.org - well its been a long time coming, but we have completely redesigned the site, and now we are asking people to participate!

Basically the idea of Hotpeace is that it is a peace process that anyone can contribute to - and you get to do so by talking to people from the other side of the conflict, and trying to reach an agreement with them. Its a really cool idea so have a look and sign up. Let's get the first few agreements going!

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Hi Tomer,

This is a great platform and easy to use. I hope that many members of mepeace will find it useful dis discussions.

I do not think that Peace will be manifested trough negotiations, but we have many other objectives that we can use this discussion forum. To try and create a Peace agreement it will be hard to build a community for such long term effort, nor any of us hold the charter to represent or act for any of the sides.

I also advise to add to the sign up form other options then "Palestine" and "Israel". i think that "Arab", "Jew", "Syrian" and many other national names are involved in the conflict; the conflict is wider then Palestine, and it touches interests and people from all over the world.
With all due respect, I dissagree with the whole idea of the site being focused on Israeli vs Palestinian (negotiations). The assumption here is already taking the side of a political idea (Zionism) that there is an Israeli and a Palestinian "tribal" conflict. It would be just as bad as if we were invited to join a forum to negotiate between "blacks" and "whites" in Apartheid South Africa. Or negotiate between "Germans" and "Jews" in Nazi Germany. I advocate for human rights.. period. When talking about basic rights, I do not have nmuch to negotiate for. We either have our right as a refugee to return to our homes and lands or we don't. Jews have a right to be treated equally with everyone else or they don't (not superior or inferior in their rights!!). Definitions are also important. What is an "Israeli" perspective (the perspective of the 20% Palestinian Israelis, Meretz, Hadash, Likud, Kadima....)? What is a Palestinian perspective (Hamas, Fatah, PFLP, DFLP, PPP, or the diverse 50% who identify with none of these)? I think it would be better to begin discussing seriously how we end apartheid here and join as humans in the struggle against those (Palestinians, Israelis etc) who advocate apartheid. That is a discussion I would be willing to "take sides" on.
Neri,

Thank you for your kind words.

Of course, none of us hold the charter to officially represent any side. That is not the purpose of hotpeace, I do not presume that any agreements reached will be binding. The purpose rather is to show that there is an avenue open to peace that can be reached through dialogue. It saddens me that you do not believe in negotiations, but I know this feeling is shared by the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians. "There is no partner". Well that's exactly the point of hotpeace, to show that there is a partner and there is a will by many people to live in peace. I believe that if, in the abstract, all Israelis and Palestinians sat together in one room for long enough they would reach an agreement that would satisfy most of them. Call me crazy. But even if you don't believe that, fair enough, but still give hotpeace a shot, go on there and state your views, whatever they may be, I think you will be surprised by the results.

I should also point out that I don't want anyone to "represent" the official views of Israel/Palestine. In fact that would be contrary to one of the things we are trying to achieve, which is to come up with some novel solutions that have not been presented before. So you should represent your own views,not your government's.

Anyone can sign up to the site, you do not have to be Israeli or Palestinian to do so. I agree that there is also a need to discuss issues more broadly then the Israeli Palestinian conflict, including the general situation in the middle east, relations among Muslims, Christians and Jews (within and outside of Israel) and other issues. However, you have to start somewhere, and the Palestinian Israeli conflict seems like a good place to do so.
Mazin,

Yes, there are some basic assumptions to the site. They are: (1) that there are two entities, Palestine and Israel, (2) that these entities have political aspirations.

Now if you disagree, this could mean that you think that there are not really two political entities but one, or that there should only be one (or it could mean something else, I don't presume to know what you think). Well that is certainly one solution, and you could propose that kind of peace on the site too.

But there is no assumption that this is a tribal conflict. In fact the complete opposite - the assumption is that it is a political conflict.

Of course there are many human rights issues relating to this conflict, and they need to be solved. I don't think this precludes negotiating for peace, I think it goes hand in hand with it.

As for definitions, as I mentioned, everyone defines his/her potion for themselves. You do not represent Kadima or Likud or Fatah or Hamas on the site. You don't represent the official Palestinian Perspective, or the official Israeli Perspective . You represent yourself and what you think is the best way to solve the conflict. Thus, no one is precluded - Palestinians who are Israelis, religious Jews identifying with Palestine, etc. - they all have a place in this dialogue to share their own perspective.
I think there is a disconnect here or a wider problem that will lead to further conflict. Each side has a different understanding of the issues: Palestinians view the conflict as one of rights and justice (Mazin’s argument), Israelis see it as a conflict over land between two nations (Tomer’s argument). Of course there are others who see this as a religious, tribal, extremist vs. moderate, but these are the two main divisions that the mainstream on both sides believe. These two viewpoints are incredibly different- Israelis are in search of the magic solutions that will solve the conflict and allow Israel to remain a Jewish, democratic state where Jews have self-determination. Palestinians want to undo the original sin of 1948 and have their pride and rights restored to thrive as Palestinians on their homeland. These two viewpoints cannot at this point have solutions because they directly contradict one another. A right of return ends Jewish self-determination and no right of return won’t bring true peace. So if both sides are so entrenched in these views, what do we do?

I don’t mean any of this to take away from hotpeace or any attempt at non-violent solutions- I think the more we have of this, the more understanding we will create of the needs of each side and the closer we may one day come to true peace. I think it is important to point out the dynamics so the inevitable disappointment when no one from the other side agrees doesn’t keep the violence, anger and frustration going.
Corey,

These two viewpoints do indeed seem contradictory, though this is not necessarily a difference between "Israeli vs.Palestinian" views. Many Israelis seek justice too and not just solving the land conflict, and most Palestinians seek self determination as well as justice.

Unlike what you said, It is not my argument that this conflict is just about land. With hotpeace I am not making any presumptions as to how the conflict will be solved, or what is more important - land or justice. I am just providing a platform for people to discuss this issues and see if they can reach a solution. A great solution would indeed incorporate both these elements, at least to some degree. It will be a solution that restores the pride and rights of Palestinians and it will also solve the land conflict.

But I don't believe it can only be magical (i.e. unreal) solution like you said, because if this is true there really is no point in this discussion, or my website or this website.
Tomer:
You are contradicting yourself. On one side you state taht you do not make "any presumptions as to how the conflict will be solved" but on the other hand you do see the conflictt as a conflict between a national identity that you call Israel and a national identity that you call Palestine. In this presupposition of the conflict as between two "nations" and that one either has to identify with one or the other to present a point of view, you have defacto required participants to accept the Zionist narrative. If I set up a group that demands peopel assign themselves to white vs black I have already set up the idea that this a conflict about skin color. In other words you have set up the rules of the game in a way that someone like me has no place and cannot play by these rules that we consider based on false assumptions. I believe in human rights and full equality and that complying with International law and human righst would be sufficient to solve the conflict and I dop not believ it is about Israelis vs Palestinians. It does not just exclude me but most Palestinians and even many Israeli groups. Islamists and groups like United Torah and Yisraeli Beitanu I am sure would also has difficulty with the predetermined slots of "Palestinian" and "Israeli" perspectives. Hamas for example considers the conflict as ideological not political or over land (ie. it is between Islam and Zionist Judaims as an ideology). I dissagree with themm but when I first engage them to educate them I do not force them to choose between two entities that I create (in my case it would be for human rights and against human rights not Palestinian and Israeli).
Mazin:

1. The only presupposition I make is that there is such a thing as 'Israel' and 'Palestine'. I do not make any presuppositions as to the content of these entities, nor do I think that they are unified entities. That would be ludicrous - of course every national entity contains many viewpoints, some wholly conflicting to each other. Shash and Yisrael Beitanu, and Hadash and Meretz and Likud all have differing views, and are all part of the entity that is Israel.

Similarly, the national entity that is Palestine contains many view points, some of them Jewish, some of them even Israeli - no state is truly homogeneous in its identity, all national entities are influenced by outside identities.

2. But you disagree that there is even such a thing as separate Israeli and Palestinian entities. Well, If you feel that the two entities 'Palestine' and 'Israel' should not really exist as separate ones, that is certainly one way to think about a resolution to the conflict. I invite you to come to the site and offer this as an alternative.

But you seem to be only interested in denying the validity of the viewpoint of those (including most Palestinians and most Israelis) that think there are in fact two separate national entities, and want to have two states to accommodate these entities. (You keep labeling this as a Zionist viewpoint- so every Palestinian who believes in a two state solution is a Zionist?) So while claiming to be worried about abuses of human rights, your way can only result in perpetuating these abuses, so long as you are not offering any alternative.
Tomer
The logic is not there in your argument. You say you recognize that there are divisions with Israel and Palestine national entities but that there are national entities called Israel vs Palestine. This is in itself dogma and it is not true that it represents the majority of Israelis and Palestinians (and even if it does, I would still have a problem with imposing the majority view on the minority). THe vast majority of Palestinians do not believe "Israel" is legitimate as a Jewish state. 70% of the Palestinians in the WB & Gaza would accept "Israel" in a context of a two state solution but not as a "Jewish state" because the latter would give a green light to ethnic cleansing and preventing refugees from returning to their homes and lands (constrary to International law and basic human rights).

Now you go on to totally misrepresent the issues (which fits into the paradigm you espouse). You state:
"But you seem to be only interested in denying the validity of the viewpoint of those (including most Palestinians and most Israelis) that think there are in fact two separate national entities, and want to have two states to accommodate these entities. (You keep labeling this as a Zionist viewpoint- so every Palestinian who believes in a two state solution is a Zionist?) "

The false assumption you make here is that those of us who accept a two state solution (whether interim or long term) accept the (false) notion of two "national entities" (I assume you mean one Jewish Israeli, one Arab Palestinian). The two ideas are not interchangeable and certainly not the same. The former idea for conflict resolution (two states) is accepted by some liberal Zionists (although by two states they mean a strong Israeli state and a bantustan without real sovereignity), by some non-Zionist and anti-Zionists of various backgrounds including Palestinians (by which they understand two sovereign and equal states). The latter idea of a Jewish nation vs a Palestinian nation is a concept restricted to political Zionists. I do not know of any anti-Zionist or a Palestinian who accepts that. Your problem as a Zionist is that you are making the two distinct ideas (idea of two states) and you idea of nationhood confluent. It is understandable because that is teh Zionist notion. But to aexpect others to agree to this in a context of "discussing/negotiating" peace is not acceotable.

As for me "not offering solutions." I offer solutions all the time but perhaps they are just not ones that fit within theparadigm of segregation/apartheid ("us here them there" as Peres/Rabin used to say). In my hundreds of published articles and letters to teh editor. In my books (see my 2004 book "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle" http://www.qumsiyeh.org/sharingthelandofcanaan/). In my lectures (about once a week). In my posts to many threads and discussions here at mepeace which I urge you to respond to.
I never said that Israel should or should not be Just a Jewish state or Palestine just a Muslim one. The fact that you brought this up as an argument when it was never mentioned shows that you don't really care what I have to say, or what my argument is. Why are you "assuming" what I mean when I say two national entities? Dialogue for me me means engaging with what the other person says, not with what is convenient for you to think they said.

You use all the usual rhetorical tactics that people do when they don't want to listen to the other person, bringing up "Apartheid" "Nazi Germany." I object to your claim that believing in a two state solution is apartheid. A two state solution may or may not turn out well, depending on how it is negotiated, how it will shape up to be as a result, and how it accepted by the public. The national identity of the two states will be likely also be transformed by the agreements, certainly in the long run. How they will be transformed depends on the content of the agreement. Same goes for a one state solution.
HI Tomer!
Thanks for starting this initiative! This sounds really cool! :)
I wish you best of luck in all of your work with this!
Basil,

I joined, and you can see me in mepeace as you and I do need to leave.

I think that a "platform" for discussions, and a wiki is great platform for discussion (not negotiation) and I want to support Tomer initiative and other initiative where we, can cooperate to create something.

ning platform has some problems so I think we should use Google platforms and private initiatives as HotPeace.org

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