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Here's an approach that may work; let's reframe who is in conflict here. I suggest it is not Israelis and Palestinians, and not Arabs and Jews. I think the conflict is between those who recognize each others right to exist and those who don't.

I wish the Israeli government would offer to all the citizens of Gaza that are willing to recognize Israel's right to exist and want peace with Israel a safe haven, quickly. It is these people that need protection.

Let those who are unwilling to recognize Israel's right to exist remain in Gaza and realize their shared fate whatever that may be. I suggest it is only fair that we be equally intolerant of anyone who doesn't recognize the Palestinians right to exist.

What do you think?

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I agree but define "right to exist". Many Palestinians say that Israel exists but the idea of a Jewish state is racist so it has to be redefined to a bi-national state. Many Israelis say Palestinians can exist in Palestine but no right of return to Israel. Part of the issue is that we use the same terms but understand very different meanings.

But you are right, those on the fringes of both societies who are contributing to the violence are those who have a problem with the other's existence.
Hi Corey -- Thanks for the reply. I define "right to exist" as a declaration made by an individual that recognizes and respects the other. Recognizing that something "does exist" is not the same as being committed to that it has a "right to exist". There are some that think the other is guilty simply because they are drawing a breath.

The injustices and healing will have to be addressed for there to be peace. But this can only happen with people who accept that the other has a right to exist. My wish is for Israel to reframe who the conflict is with. As I understand it, there are people who because of what they believe are committed to the death and destruction of the state of Israel. These are the fundamentalists - the Jihadists - and are not the majority of the Muslim population.

I am hoping that Israel will invite those that are willing to grant Israel the right to exist and who want peace to come out of Gaza and be given a safe haven so they are not harmed.

I thought Israel was founded as an ethnic-democracy that grants rights to all. The State of Israel is guilty, as is many others, of not respecting and taking care of its Indigenous Peoples. It certainly needs to do a better job of addressing these legitimate complaints and start healing the hurts. The sooner the better.
Jon and others,

For the last eight years triggered by 9-11, I along with many others in Seattle have reached out to our Muslim community and I personally have dedicated my energies to a Jewish - Muslim dialogue. This past December we held a session at our home of 24 individuals from Temple B'nai Torah and the IMAN Muslim community. At that session we were planning on how we could come together and discuss the situation in Israel - Palestine in a respectful way to understand how we each have been impacted personnally. We had started to work through a national organization called "Brit Tzedek V'Shalom a Jewish group committed to a just, two state solution.

With the advent of the Gazan crisis I have listened and drawn the following conclusions and ideas for proceeding:

1. Israel has a right to exist with secure borders.
2. The Israeli occupation of the teritories where the Palestinians have lived for forty one years + with the suppression of civil rights is the root cause and must over the next years be rectified with an indepoendent Palestinian State.
3. The tactics of Hamas to target innocent Israeli civilians with their rockets hidden in homes, Mosques and civilian areas must be stopped to make room to address the issues a lasting peace in the area.
4. Ironically however despicable the Hamas actions have been, it does express the deeply felt anger and desparation of the Palestinians over the intolerable occupation.
5. So, in some sense the situation had to get worse before the real issues could be addressed.

Actions for us:

A. At the appropriate time we should start or continue the Jewish - Muslim dialogue here and everywhere to compassionately listen to each other.
B. Though our network of people of goodwill, we should identify people and organizations in Israel Palestine who have the courage to speak out for Peace and support them in whatever manner we can that will strengthen their voice and give them whatever resources they need to change their communities.
C. Lobby our President and Congressional leaders to create a more balanced effort to deal with the crisis before us.

I look forward to working with you all towards the just solution for all in the area.

Phil Gerson
It is fear again, why is it so hard to let an Arab/ Palestinian live, work, study........etc in Israel if he recognizes its right to exist? unless we try to put trust into eachothers we will not reach far places.
Another thing recognizing Palestinians right to exist means to drop the term of WestBank and adopt the term of Palestine as an independent state within the boundaries of 1967 then Gazans will not be in need anymore to escape to anyplace, because then they will be living in their state not in an occupied prison with no place to run to.
Hiba,

The people who question the right to exist use historic terms, and as much as they can argue for that we can recognize the existence of Palestinian Nation by the acts and the growing accepting between nations.

The question of right is the human right we must provide them as humans to humans. these rights is Israel responsibility, the worlds and the Palestinian themselves as the right to self identify as member of a nation is prime human right.

We are all have the right to identify as palestinians and support their effort for independence and self expression as individuals and as a nation sister to all nations.

let the dark we experience in Gaza will signal the end of the night and the beginning of the first day of the future where all nations focus their resources on making social equality and protect our environment and prevent poverty.
Thanks, Hiba. I think of myself as a "realistic optimist." It is time all people of peace to come together to help establish an independent Palestinian State.

I personally would be inspired if Israel put forward the notion of declaring Jerusalem an International City of Peace, an Open Source city. In this new world we need to rethink property and ownership. I think it would do Israel a world of good to be generous and make a move such as this. Unfortunately I don't rule the world!
phil Gerson said some thing about what he thought Hiba . I feel it should not be hard to let the both sides work may be it is the trust that has to be gain
First there is no such thing as a right to exist for countries only for people under International law. Mexiuco was not required to recognize the US "right to exist" after the war. This is a bogus issue. But even if we accept the spurious existance of such right, we can ask:

Did Apartheid South Africa have a right to exist as a racist state?
Did Nazi Germany Have a right to exist as a racist state?

As Israeli artists and thousands of Israelis said befopre: only when Israel sheds it sracist apartheid laws, will it be acce[pted as a normal nation state. Before that this is all distractions from teh massacres being committed. It is akin to saying that only if the Warsaw Ghetto people reject all those who engaged in teh uprising and accept Germany's right as a sovereign state to butcher them, should they be offered some safety. That is farcical.
Thanks, Mazin. I really appreciate your sharing this and discussing it with me.

When I first started this discussion I was referring to individuals declaring countries right to exist. I am not suggesting that a country declare Israel's right to exist. I am attempting to reach out at a personal level. Like me declaring my support for a Palestinian State. Are you committed to their being an Israeli state?

The Jews of Germany were not working to obliterate Germany. The Freedom Charter by the ANC was an attempt to redefine South Africa and the change of its racist regime it was not calling for the obliteration of South Africa.

I recognize that the policies of the current Israeli government may be unacceptable to you and many others. But I don't hear you saying that Israel should be destroyed. Am I missing this? I think for some that are reluctant to support a Palestinian State they will be comforted to hear that there is a reciprocal attitude. What am I missing?
OK, let us then deal with the personal level. You say you are for a Palestinian state? Can you define that for me (what borders, does it have sovereignity/true independence, control of its natural resources, can conduct treaties etc)? Would you agree that it would have equal land, standing, authority, etc as the state of Israel?

It is only fair to ask since you ask me the nature of the Israel I would accept as an individual. I personally accept Israel if it abandons racist laws and implement International law and human rights. That is actually precisely what Black and White Africans who worked against apartheid demanded. It is actually the same as the original charter of the PLO demanded (a secular state for all its citizens with democratic structures and rights of all protected).

Finally, when you say "The Jews of Germany were not working to obliterate Germany" this is simply not the right question that I asked. What is Germany? If by Germani you mean Nazi Germany with its Nuremberg racial laws etc then certainly they challenged that (and I would too). If by Germany you mean the German people, then no; even though ofcourse there was much hatred of Germans and people did not refer to "Nazis" only but to Germans because the Nazi system overtook the German state. Similarly here, the Zionist movement hijacked Jews and Israelis and made them willing partners in its crimes that are daily perpetrated like todays shelling of a UN school that killed 43 civilians. They succeeded in doing this using the same tactics the Nazis did: by making ordinary people afraid (in the case of Germany of the "Jewish conspiracy") and in the case of Zionism the fear of gentiles and especially Islam and Muslims (and I am not a Muslim BTW). It is actually the tragedy that goes to the old psychological phenomenon of abused children growing up to abuse their own innocent children.
Mazin, the problem is your (and Arab) skewed views of Israelis, Zionism and Jews. Just as Israeli Jews have a skewed view of Arabs and Palestinians which draws them to conclusions which may or may not be true. If you can’t ever see the positive role Zionism plays to most Jews and most Israelis, you will never understand our side of the conflict. You will forever be fighting against an ‘ism’ which is only in your mind. It is not Zionism or Judaism or colonialism which killed 43 Palestinian civilians. It is other human beings who are reacting. Yes, I agree it is the same on your side- it is not Islam or being Palestinian that makes a person bomb a bus of civilians. On both sides, these ‘isms’ may contribute to our rationale but they do not cause it.

I will give you an example. My family who are observant/traditional Jews is perfectly fine with their children marrying non-Jews. But they are not fine with them marrying Arabs. Why? Are they racist against Arab culture? They are Yeminite so they are part of the Arab culture. Do they hate Muslims and Arabs for the sake of hating or because Zionism “tells them to”? No. They hate for the same reasons Palestinians in Gaza hate Jews. They hate because each side blames the other for the violence and misery and neither side sees how they have contributed to the situation.

I can relate to this. Today I am very hateful of Palestinians. A qassam fell close to where my 9 year old son is. Objectively I realize every Palestinian is feeling the same hate for Israelis but emotionally I find it hard not to feel protective towards my family and people and be filled with hate.

I know this is falling on deaf ears. You will continue to view Israel and Zionism as just another view of South African Apartheid, ignoring the differences and the reasons for what is going on and just blame. You will continue to tell us what is wrong with us but never look at what is wrong with your side. I don’t see how this will make a change for either people since we have been doing this for almost 100 years and look where we are. The greatest tragedy is that Palestinians and Israelis will continue to suffer because we are all too stubborn to see humanity in the other.

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