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Dear mepeace friends! In the file ipcri2.doc below I have recorded some of my very personal impressions in Israel both before and after IPCRI in April. I would be interested in general comments, but…

Dear mepeace friends!

In the file ipcri2.doc below I have recorded some of my very personal impressions in Israel both before and after IPCRI in April. I would be interested in general comments, but more specifically I am especially concerned about the suggestion from my Ramallah friend Hekmat about arranging reconciliation meeting between say a member of 'combatants for peace' and 'victim'/survivivors of attacks by previous 'combatant' in Palestine. As for the few people I mentioned this idea to at IPCRI meeting in Tantur, it was easier for me to see objections than possibilities.

However, I do not want to 'bury' this idea but would be most interested if any of you could see possibilities here!

Another question of great concern to me was the critical comments my friend Ofer made about cooperative endeavors Israelis/ Palestinians in e.g. sports, music etc. While I felt his point about power differentials most important I was especailly fascinated by Paul Moore 'ukuleles for peace' and had occasion to enjoy his hospitality when I was in Israel.

Hopefully it is possible to have friendly cooperative endeavours as above without this being 'corrupted' by power differences?

Otherwise I hope you do not read this as critique of Gershon but rather see our lack of communication as 'this is the Middle East'. Again I would be most interested in comments here!

Looking forward to further contacts with all of you!

finn


ipcri2.doc

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Comment by Yigal D. Kahana on May 30, 2008 at 8:49pm
The rulers of Arabia, Iran, Syria, Egypt, and the Gulf states, all also exercise power in a way that is relevant to this discussion. So do the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas) and Hizballah (again, Iran and Syria).
For that matter, so do the UN, US, and EU.
Comment by Finn Tschudi on May 30, 2008 at 7:24pm
For anyone else happening to go into this particular thread, I am very happy to note that Paul and I really agree, and I continue to write him privately about how long time to stay in Sydney this fall.

Will, however, be interested if anyone else has an opinion on the question I have tried to raise (yes, difficult questions, perhaps not very clearly stated)
Comment by Paul RETI on May 30, 2008 at 6:27pm
There is nothing wrong with anyone at all making reconciliatory endeavours. It is probably true that the stronger party can and probably should set an example and possibly lead the way.

It certainly is true that Israel has lost some of its moral power because for now it is not the underdog and it has behaved in ways that not beyond moral reproach. Expecting Israel to be moral without expecting the same of the others is interesting, and kinda condescending to the others.

It certainly is true that Israel's military and economic power is much greater than that of the Palestinians. My real point is that that the Palestinian people are not powerless and that they and their leaders have not exercised the (limited) power available to them as well as might. And so they too share some (though not all) of the responsibility. So do people like you and I.

When you come I will introduce you to some academics who can in turn introduce you to others. :-)
Comment by Finn Tschudi on May 30, 2008 at 4:16pm
This 'discussion' had better stop, it is not leading anywhere. It conforms to the etymological meaning of 'discussion' viz. 'breaking apart'.

Changing my wording to 'break apart' my argument has dubious validity. What I know of academic life in Australia and UK does not conform to your rewording (Even if you could quote cases it would probably be someone like Dershowitz who has a doubtful academic standing.)
My point was that Israel has lost 'moral power' but concerning examples of 'exercising power' as for instance in the military realm, economic realm, border control, resource control (e.g. water) etc. etc. there can be no doubt that Israeli power is tremendously much greater than the Palestinian.

So returning to my original question:; Is it really unreasonable to suggest that the stronger part might well start making reconciliatory endeavours??

[there is the sad, tear-wrenching and heart-breaking, feeling at the back of my mind that we now risk being embroiled in the 'this is the middle East' tragedy which was the point of departure for my ipcri essay. Anyone else around who might save my friend Paul and me from an unfruitful impasse?]
Comment by Paul RETI on May 30, 2008 at 3:21pm
In Australia and the UK (and probaly in much of the EU), to use your words, if you are a pro-Israeli university professor you risk loosing jour job, there are ardent 'guards' tolerating no infringement onpro-Palestinian having a superior moral status.)

You will notice that when you come here.

Your original words are in italics. My changes are in bold.
Comment by Paul RETI on May 30, 2008 at 3:09pm
Could we please continue this as discussion about power started?

That discussion is Power in the Muddle East: Who had, has, and will have what power?
Comment by Finn Tschudi on May 30, 2008 at 1:35pm
Powerful? Of cause the Israelis, I think they are about the four on the scale of military power, in the world, added to that extremely strong support by US. As is well known also lots of atom bombs. I feel more afraid of Israelis dropping a bomb then North Korea!

Some have used the ironic concept of 'trauma bank'. Once upon a time (right after WW2) there was so to speak almost infinite 'capital' to draw on for this 'bank' for Israel. Today I cannot think about 'shoa' without 'nakba' coming to mind.. At least in Norway it seems that for more and more people the 'Israeli trauma bank' is by now defunct. Put otherwise what might be called 'moral capital' is on the wane in Europe. (If you are a pro-Palestinian university professor in US you risk loosing jour job, there are ardent 'guards' tolerating no infringement on Israeli having a superior moral status.)
Comment by Paul RETI on May 30, 2008 at 12:54pm
Clearly you feel compassion for the plight of ordinary Palestinians. To not feel that would be inhumane. Few people are inhumane.

Who do you identify as poweful and exercising very real power in this conflict?
Comment by Finn Tschudi on May 30, 2008 at 12:30pm
Hi Paul

Well briefness here because I do not think my questions make much sense without seeing the larger context I try to sketch.

As is evident form the paper I mainly saw myselff as a messenger for a Palestinian friend in Ramallah.

Furthermore :Re - 'only their (preferred side as victims': Well I may have been victim of a bias, a bias in favour of the weak which obviously are the Palestinians. Furthermore as I have tried to follow the statistics over the year for each Israeli killed, ther ehave been at least three Palestinians killed.

According to my moral feeling it is not inappropriate to make a strong plea for the powerful side to start reconciliation.

This being said: Of cause it might be even better with a mutual reonciliation ceremonies perhaps in line with work of the Parents forum -. for whom I have the higest respect.
Comment by Paul RETI on May 30, 2008 at 10:38am
Hi Finn,

Your comments are brief. Very brief. The problem is indeed very complex.

For example: Some just want JUSTICE! Some only see their (preferred) side as victims.

Notice that even in the brief list you made above you do not mention (the too many) Israeli victims. This (in my view) simply illustrates how people can and do inadvertently compound the problems. :-)

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