I wrote a poem titled God makes peace in Gaza and shared through my Facebook networks. The poem is written in Indonesia but it can be translated using the google facility. You can see through my blog "Indonesiaku Indonesiamu Indonesia untuk semua" . Leaders of two sides do not want to have peace. But peace is the right of common people. Therefore we have to get back our rights to have the peace in the world, especially among the Palestines and Israelies. Yes, peace is possible, and war is useless..salam from Yogyakarta, Indonesia..
Why I want peace:
Peace is the right for common people who can empower ourselves to get it back from our leaders who do not give the life of peace in our environment.
Interests and activities:
A member of an international peace network, Peace for Life which has worked closely to the issue of the peace in the middle east.
Something you didn't know about me:
I am a blogger, an activist on grassroots, an intellectual, an anthropologist and a theologian,
The Israeli government is very large and expansive. The last time I was there, it was 102 political parties. The ones that always seem to take the majority are Labor, Likud, and Kadima -- which broke off of Likud. The Likud government currently in power, is quite rigid and unyielding. I personally would love to see Netanyahu out of there. I am a big fan of Tzipi Livini, and she came close to becoming prime minister. If she did, she would have been the second woman prime minister, after Golda Meir. But the big difference is that when Golda Meir was prime minister, Israel was not even remotely incorporated into the political, economic, and cultural fabric of the Middle East. Israel is more integrated now, but it needs to be taken further. I would like to see someone, male or female, who can take Israel further. You probably had it presented to you, when you were growing up, that Israel is just an outpost. But the necessary step to be taken is make Israel from an outpost to a nation-state. Most important of all, a nation-state within the Middle East. But at the same time, a nation-state completely surrounded by Dar al-islam. But after all, is not East Timor a nation-state completely surrounded by Dar al-Islam? But if predominately Roman Catholic East Timor can be surrounded by Dar al-Islam, then so can Jewish Israel.
One thing about Seeds for Peace, is that it is a non-profit organization which gets its funding from donations and grants. For them to expand their services, it would be a requirement that they have the funding to do so. Birthright was originally funded by the Israeli government, but after they stopped, philanthropists such as our nasty Sheldon Adelson started funding it. Adelson was funding Mitt Romney's Presidential Campaign, but fortunately Romney never echoed what Adelson proposes -- the expulsion of all Arabs out of Israel and the West Bank. I cannot see someone like Adelson funding an organization that proposes Israelis and Palestinians to coexists and get along.
That gets to be difficult, on what defines a Palestinian refugee and what does not. The over 1,000,000 Arabs living in Israel, obviously were not the ones driven out. Yasir Arafat, the leader of the Palestine LIberation Organization, was born in Cairo, but had family roots that went back to Gaza. So you have to define it by current standards, which are those living in the West Bank and Gaza. Those in surrounding countries have different levels of rights. The ones living in Syria, almost have the same rights as those of Syrian citizenship, yet the Palestinians living there are not Syrian citizens. Only when they leave Syria, are they granted exit visas, to leave and come back. Those in Lebanon were not granted exit visas until 1993. So when we talk about Palestinian rights, it can only be referred to as those currently living the West Bank and Gaza. Most important of all, is how they get along with Israel. Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague -- Indonesia's former colonial master -- said they will not deal with any Palestinian claims to war crimes. Because it would just be whining and complaining over bad feelings. Not because a grave of 5,000 Palestinians was discovered, like the war crimes hearings over Bosnia. So it is not the question of dealing with a displaced people, but how those people in those designated areas interact with each other. For those areas are Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
When you look at nations within Dar al-Islam debating about establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, they are Malaysia, Pakistan, and Morocco. While Jakarta is indeed not all of Indonesia, elements such as the Muslim extremists in Aceh are not just fringe elements within the country. It would be interesting to see how the central government in Jakarta, is either counteracting it or accommodating it. I got censored by the Indonesian press for mentioning how two important exportable commodities, such as petroleum and palm oil are harming the environment. So the press there can be quite tight about the information that goes out into print. Fortunately, I have never gotten into questionable circumstances within Israel or the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. But on-line with Hamas, they can sure talk in circles. So it is like psychotherapy, getting people to express their true feelings.
The mandatory requirement, is that they were to serve in the Israel Defense Forces starting at age 18. But after their military service, they could go on to advanced studies at a university. One of them, discovered a Palestinian was on a suicide mission in Israel. He spoke Arabic, and was able to consul this man to not fulfill his mission. After his military service, he enrolled in Tel-Aviv University, were he is now working on his Masters' Degree in Conflict Resolution. Several of them are working in juvenile education with both Israeli and Palestinian children. One of them started an organization called Windows, which specializes in joint education of both Israeli and Palestinian children. So those who were involved in the Seeds for Peace program, are not just strictly keeping it to themselves. They are very much into activities that are impacting their generation, and the next one. I learned some Bahasa when I was in Malaysia and Indonesia, but only a smattering. Malaysia is debating about establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, I hope they do because all of Dar al-Islam should be participating in Israeli-Palestinian peace. I have worked with some women from Indonesia in the United States, who are part of the Greater Islamic Society. They were very much into ecumenical dialogue and grassroots' outreach with other faiths. I found them to be very warm and gracious. Because the big problem I have with Jewish extremists, is trying to convince them that Dar al-Islam is not the problem, but the answer. In Indonesia, I was invited to a Feast of Eid celebration in Jakarta. But it can be an uphill battle to try to convince a Jewish extremist, that every time you with a Muslim, they are not going to kill you.
What you are mentioning is the sociological, and that change has to come from within. I have been involved with organizations, such as Seeds for Peace, which brings Israeli and Palestinian teenagers together, to simply get to know each other. Overcoming attitudes is lengthy and formidable. It was like overcoming race relations within the United States. The Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964, but it took a long time after that to break down attitudes, and those attitudes can be tough nuts to crack. But it is making sure that organizations, such as Seeds for Peace does not remain just fringe, but can start becoming mainstream. For a great deal of players can come into this, such as the mepeace.org website. I have dealt with Jewish extremists on this website, that were just dreadful to deal with, but fortunately these individuals did not remain on here. Purging the enemy is one thing, but transforming the enemy is another.
The big difficulty was going through the West Bank, and finding so many Palestinians with advanced degrees, but not in work equal to their education. A great deal of these people immigrate, like almost all the Palestinians living in the United States. Since there is no independent Palestine, there is no access to multi-lateral development assistance from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, so Palestinian access to capital is slight. Capital is what is needed to start and expand a business, this is where the Israel-Palestine Chamber of Commerce comes in and helps. Identifying those businesses, and trying to expand their markets. The Palestinians are very productive now in producing olive oil, but it is trying to use this product as a tool for peace. With Hanukkah coming up, and a great deal of deep frying cooking takes place, to symbolize the miracle of a single curse of oil burning for eight days. It is trying to get Jews throughout the world to use that olive oil produced in the West Bank for the deep frying cooking. So they are using a product that will promote peace and coexistence. But the big problem is, how many Jews throughout the world are going to use a product produced by the enemy? Olive oil is parve, and it is not kosher. So it fits within Jewish dietary law. But the problem is current political mentality.
I have with the Israel-Palestine Chamber of Commerce. I have also worked with Mercy Corps on getting businesses set-up, and for Palestinians to get loans from the Grameen Bank. Currently, the Palestinians do U.S. $3 billion dollars worth of business with Israel, and Israel is the Palestinians largest trading partner. Israel also exports over U.S. $3 billion dollars worth of commodities to Areas A, B, and C in the West Bank. So the potential for joint Israeli-Palestinian business ventures are indeed very great.