mepeace.org

Hi,
  I live in Israel and consider myself open minded.  I truly believe that a two state solution is the only real means to solve the conflict in the Mideast.  On the other hand, as a liberal individual, I can not see myself supporting regimes that are brutal to their own people and take away most of their human rights?

Why is it that the biggest peace activists are seen supporting dictatorships in Cuba, Iraq (Saddam), Syria  and the worst human rights abusers like Hamas and Iran.... these are just a few countries that give women few if any rights, don't have fair election, if at all, no freedom of speech, press or Assembly and persecute other religions, gays and other ethnicities....

How can this be accepted?  Why is America and Israel, be in they are far from perfect, always the bad guys?  Why is it the UN human rights council says nothing about the mass murder in Sudan or Congo, the Iranian murder of their people on the street, the missile attacks into Israel cites etc.... Why are these atrocities ignored?

Hamas is part of the Moslem Brotherhood, the umbrella organization that includes Al-Qaeda and connected to the Taliban.  Is that our hope for the people in Gaza to be ruled by the Taliban.  If you are Gay, women, Fatah, Christian life in Gaza is beyond intolerable.... Internet caffe's are being torched there is no freedom of the press...

Does anyone believe that Palestinians will have self determination as individuals under a Palestinian state?

How can we, who do "we"as humanitarians support such brutal regimes?  Why does no body stand up and say it is wrong?

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Dan,

You live in Israel as jew you experience freedonm and normality in your life you can plan your pension budget and buy property ....

People experience Israeli differently and they see the support in their freedom comes from this countries. from their experience Israel is no less brutal then the state you claim to be brutal.

Hamas is a complex organizaion, there are people that support violent resistance and destruction of israel from within Hamas, but there are many who care for the future of palestine and social services the population need.

"we" as humanitarians do not support brutal regimes, we are support the developement of the Palestinian state into a good state that serve its population needs
Neri,
I always hear calls for stopping the occupation, the brutality and humiliation so that the Palestinians can be free. In the meantime what is happening in the areas controlled by these authorities are horrible...i am not even talking about what they are doing to Israelis but how their governments treat them.

There are no calls for war crimes or regime change for any of these leaders.... Does anyone honestly not believe the Egypt and Abu Mazen are huge supporters of the blockade. They all know that Hamas is fanatic and without the blockade you are making them stronger. The fact that Fatah activists have head their knee Caps blown off, thrown out of buildings and lined up and killed in a military execution fashion because they are a different political party is of no interest to these humanitarians... Forget about life of women, Christians and gays...

Living in Israel I can tell you ever time an innocent civilian is killed on the Palestinian side it is big news and very regrettable. In Gaza they dance and hand out candies on the streets....why do people not see this? It is beyond me?
There are many partners involved on the positive side, including . . . Hamas and . . . Israel. However, the militant wings of these organizations and thugs who "buy in" for support wreak havoc, and they're hard to influence for that. Hamas continues to carry out "extrajudicial killings" against "collaborators" and, possibly, political rivals (so I've heard but in this instance have not done my online research thing). The invisible moderate, who must exist, has a tough go of acquiring political or policing powers.

This is generally not the behavior of an adversary locked in mortal combat: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32650677/Gaza-Strip-Merchandise-and-Human...

I suspect Gaza's economy and culture will come more and more to life with agricultural business and aid, and Hamas will either become more contemporary in its governing or wreck again on its undeniable and unworkable autocratic and militant habits, of which the boat show would seem both expressive and symptomatic. Obviously, issues, including a strident, anti-Semitic Islamism, in the surrounding states loom large in this, and Hamas is a small spear tip for it. How is it to relinquish that role and better assume the kind of "responsible and responsive government" roles that seem wanted here?
I am not aware of the political details of the region, nor do I have any confidence in political processes at all, anywhere. I have very little hope for "political" peace, at least until there is "personal, human" peace.

As well, my support is never on the basis of loyalty to a certain group -- whether a state or a religion or some other group. A group cannot be good simply by its name, it cannot claim favor in the eyes of God or man simply by its name (in this case, whether Hamas or Israel). There are no "sides". The only side there is -- is people, and we are all people.

I support human beings on an individual basis and the choices they must make with the best they have to work with in life. I believe that whether in an individual human or in a group, there is the possibility for both good and evil. We have to keep changing and transforming, being willing to choose the good and forsake the evil. Opposing a group outright MAY be an important decision to make. OR it may be important to acknowledge and engage the good that is done and build relationships on that, so that what is wrong about individuals, groups and relationships can gradually get starved and no longer exist. Perhaps this decision is possible also.

Perhaps instead of saying to ourselves that "Israel is bad" or "Hamas is bad", we can be willing to believe "Israel and Hamas CAN do good. It's possible. We're going to keep going in that direction. No matter what the bad may have been in the past (properly acknowledge and forsaken)." It's a hard belief to have, but it's the one I prefer than trying to figure out that I have to be against anyone. I don't want to be against Israel, I don't want to be against Iran, I don't want to be against U.S., I don't want to be against anyone. I want to love all the parts of the earth.

This particular organization, mepeace.org, is very concentrated on the matter of Paletinian and Israeli peace. I agree with you that there are (*gasp*) bigger problems in this world, bigger suffering, bigger peace problems than the Palestinian and Israeli challenges. However, what I like about the Palestinian and Israeli peace puzzle is that it is so POSSIBLE. We are so CLOSE. It may not seem like it on a day to day basis, but it's really not that far away in terms of things that people can choose and live, if we are willing. And once Palestine and Israel can come to peace with each other, this will be a huge example to the REST OF THE WORLD and its problems. It's a vector. I did not make this idea up, btw, I heard it from another mepeace.org peacemaker. His name escapes me at the moment, but he discussed how the problems/opportunities regarding Palestine and Israel tended to be a vector for the rest of the world -- whether as a cursing or a blessing.

Hopefully a blessing. :)

~Jennifer
being fairly new to posting here I must admit I am trying to figure out the meaning of occupation in the terms used here. If the UN created Israel as a nation then those living there are in their homeland.

The Jews lived there for centuries before being driven out by the Romans in 70AD. That the UN made mistakes in 1948 is not in question. I dont think they realised that not everyone would be thrilled with a large influx of tragic refugees.

The question is do entities like Hamas support Israel's right to exist or do they just want them dead.

I support a 2 State solution but I honestly ask myself do Palestinian leaders and Israeli leader support them? I think not. Until the idea of Israel being driven into the sea is taken off the table, peace will be impossible to achieve.

The Jews are not going back to Poland or Germany. They were driven there by forces they could not control.

When I was a little girl, a Palestinian was someone who lived in Palestine be they Jew or Arab. There was no such thing of Jews hating Arabls and vice versus. Anti semitism came from the pogroms of Orthodox Russia and Catholic Europe. Muslims were of great assistance to the Jews in the time of the Spanish Inquision. Thre was no animosity.

Now I realise this is a different world now and that most Arabs see Israel as the occupier but Jews and Arabs have a great history that involves none of hatred going back and forth today.

Tell me can this history be built upon? Can anyone remember better days? If we take this back as far in history as it can go this war now going on is a war among the decendants of 2 brothers. Isaac and Ishmael, the sons of Abraham. I know I am foolish for thinking somehow that could be brought to mind and help heal the land.
"The question is do entities like Hamas support Israel's right to exist or do they just want them dead."

Reference the Hamas Charter to answer that one in about 60 seconds.

While the overall Jewish-Muslim experience has been mixed--for example, Islamic Turkey took in hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Spanish Expulsion in 1492--one would be wise, I think. to start with some combination of the Qur'an's references to the Jews and Muhammad's record with the Banu Qurayza (Wikipedia may provide a start at this address: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banu_Qurayza ; it's worth cross-checking a few online references to get the essentials of the story about right.

For more modern historical times, look-ups for "Hebron Massacre" and "Safed Massacre" (1834 and 1929); for a counterpoint benchmark "Deir Yassin" and "Sabra and Shatila" may open some windows.

For how the "Nakba" went down, I cannot too highly recommend Ephraim Karsh's still new book, _Palestine Betrayed_. (http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300127270)

The Preoccupation provides a rallying point for the destruction of Israel (and the Jews and democracy), imho, but such efforts may be matched by more quiet and yet powerful initiatives involving physical and business infrastructure and security. Certainly, two of Israel's neighbors, Jordan and Egypt, today feature trilateral partnerships with Israel and the United States in Qualified Industrial Zones, about 20 in Jordan and 15 in Egypt representing possibly as many as 800 Jordanian and Egyptian firms (e.g., http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=173011 but more material is available online). As cooperative, contributing (worldwide), and productive partnerships develop, it's possible that the energy required to sustain a predominantly exploitive, punitive, and violent political posture will dissipate.

But not today, unfortunately.
James thank you for your most informative post. I appreciate the links and the information you shared. I want to read the book Palestine betrayed to get a better grasp on what really happened rather than totally relying on my grandmother and others remembrances of the era of 1920-1947, the year I was born.
I agree. There seems to be double standards on all sides. Israel and the US can act in defence and justify overreactions with that word by the more conservative, the developing countries tend to have their atrocities received with more understanding by those who are more liberal. I am not sure any country is being held to the standards that either side claims. To me it is more annoying that most in the world choose a side: condemn every violent action for the side they don't agree with and excuse every violent action of those they do agree with. Neither is very helpful.

My idea for supporting both Palestinian and Israeli peoples is to have workshops on what is a democracy. I am not an expert in this area but democratic values isn't simply one person=one vote. A liberal democracy includes other values such as accepting and nuturing the 'other' in society, compromise, fairness, good government, strong institutions, checks and balances, listening to diversity, participatory, transparent, etc. Israeli society has a basis and Palestinian society is working towards it but neither society seems to grasp the true meaning yet the term is thrown around alot.
Back to my original post...... Why is it that humanitarians demonetize countries like Israel and the US... as flawed as they are can you really compare them to the likes of the brutal dictatorships in the Mideast. These countries containing 100s of millions of people afford their people almost no human rights.

As horrible as the occupation seems to everyone here, a resolution is being worked on, be it slow and painful but, what about the 98% of Arabs who live in the Mideast, why does no seem one care. By supporting things like free Gaza campaigns you are trumping up Hamas at the expense of Fatah....

Many of the passengers of this ship explained this has nothing to do with bringing aid it has everything to do wit ha political message, Can we start to look at the people themselves and not at the politics - that is human rights. Stop supporting the butchers and killers of the Mideast and the world - it does not help promote rights for anyone....
I agree with you. I think what happens is a combination of colliding dynamics:
1. Most of conflict is reacting to another party- you interpret their actions or reactions in a way that makes sense to you based on your history with them or with others, and decide that you will take the OPPOSITE stance. All information tells you that your new stand makes perfect sense and any information that does not (for example, human rights abuses by those you support) are ignored. The other side sees your reaction but interprets it as an action against them so they further react to your reaction. This of course spirals into a strange dance where everyone has to pick a side.
2. Most people who support a specific cause are usually well meaning people who just want the best for all involved. They picked a side so they want that side to win but don't necessarily want the other side to "lose". Within these groups are people with various agendas. Their agendas often have little to do with the people they claim to protect but are more political, long term and strategic for thier own belief systems. So Muslims who believe that all of Palestine is Muslim land and the Jews cannot control it get mixed in with those who see pictures of dead Palestinian children and just want it to stop. The true human rights person becomes blind to the different agendas going on and choose to pretend they don't exist.

So if you mix the natural tendency we all have of choosing a side and the blindness that ultimately happens to what is going on (we are good, they are bad even when other information tells me differently), you can see how the human rights activists selectively choose Israeli and the US to criticize but don't seem to notice or care that the Palestinians have many human rights abuses.

My point above is that we the people shouldn';t be waiting for our politicians to come to agreements, we should be actively working together to make the region better for all of us in a way that makes sense.
I agree with what you wrote and just am very frustrated when people go under the guise of human rights to push a political agenda which is contradictory to basic human rights. I have more respect for those who say - "this is arab land and we want to freeit from occupation" - but that is not human rights.

All the fuss about the material being brought in on the flotilla and how important they are. Hamas will not let Israel bring it in, why is there no uproar from the same activist who claim they are essential? Because this will not forward their true cause? They claim people are starving but they are only willing or care about their food when it suits their agenda - that is sad....

If they really wanted to bring goods to Gaza they would send 10s of Flotillas to Israel and Egypt to force then to bring the goods in but once again this will only help the "starving" that will not accomplish anything politically so why bother.
"I have more respect for those who say - "this is arab land and we want to freeit from occupation" - but that is not human rights."

++++ It is exactly of human rights.

"All the fuss about the material being brought in on the flotilla and how important they are. Hamas will not let Israel bring it in, why is there no uproar from the same activist who claim they are essential? Because this will not forward their true cause? They claim people are starving but they are only willing or care about their food when it suits their agenda - that is sad...."

++++ From where did you get this information that hamas will not allow such an items to imported to gaza ?

And that continued gaza blockade hasnt worked either, so why bother to continue ? Time to think another ways ?

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