In this increasingly hostile world of ours, it is only natural to search for even the slightest hint that peace may be possible. As I watched the news last night, two such hints came into sharp focus right before my eyes. The first is Iran’s recent attempt to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. And the second is the imminent, God willing, release by Hamas of Gilad Shalit, a captive Israeli soldier, in exchange for the release of approximately 1000 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.

You may well ask: Why do these seemingly two unrelated news items point to the possibility of peace?

Iran’s assassination attempt underscores the threat that the current regime poses to the Sunni Arab world, and for that matter, to the world at large. It is seemingly inconceivable, in light of the threats that confront Iran’s leadership, that they would even attempt such a bold and brazen attack, against a Saudi diplomat, on U.S. soil no less. Who in their right mind would do such a thing? And yet, as the last few years clearly demonstrate, Iran’s leaders have not hesitated to finance and carry out terrorist attacks of all shapes and sizes, including the bombing of a Jewish synagogue in Argentina, with over 100 killed, as well as the murder of over 100 dissidents throughout Europe.

And as we all know, Iran makes no secret of her desire to develop nuclear weapons, and to use that umbrella, and her proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, to wield an even greater influence throughout the entire region. There is no doubt that at least some of Iran’s leaders wish to remake the Middle East in their image. Even if it turns out that this plot was perpetrated by a rogue faction, still: Would you want a rogue faction to have its finger on a nuclear trigger? Is that a risk we can afford to take?

It would be natural, therefore, for Saudi officials to be quite worried about Iranian intentions, especially considering the historical enmity between Shiites and Sunnis, the acts of terrorism sponsored by Iran, the attempt to become a nuclear power, and the recent attempted assassination of the Saudi Ambassador. Taken as a whole, the assassination attempt is just further confirmation of Iran’s intent to take charge, and of her willingness to use extra-ordinary means to do so.

So why does this point to the possibility of peace? Because as Saudi looks around, and searches for a way to keep Iranian designs in check, she may have no choice but to look to Israel and the U.S., because only they have the wherewithal to accomplish such a mission, and the self-interest to do so. And therefore, a strategic alliance between Saudi, the Sunni Arabs, Israel and the U.S. may soon be in the offing. And what will be the price for such an arrangement? That is easy enough to fathom; assistance in closing the deal on peace between Israel and Palestine, and leveraging that into an overall understanding between Israel and the Arab world.

The second hint that peace may be in the offing is Hamas’ apparent willingness to release Gilad Shalit in exchange for Israel’s release of over 1000 Palestinian prisoners, 300 of whom are serving life sentences. Why does this prisoner swap bode well for peace, you may well ask. And the answer is quite simple. Because it shows, in a rather perverse way, that Israel and Hamas can cut a deal, even though both are sworn to each other’s destruction, and have vowed never to negotiate with one another. Still, somehow, a deal was cut, and if that deal could be cut, it follows that other deals could be cut as well.

Ask yourself a simple question: Why did Hamas cut this deal? Because it wants to look good in the eyes of the people, and bringing home 1000 Palestinian prisoners looks good. Well, what if the people begin demanding jobs and a greater measure of freedom, which they are? What then? Is it just possible that if Hamas needs to deliver on jobs and freedom, that it too will look to Israel and the U.S. to help in this regard, because in reality, they are best able to do so? And if that is the case, what will be the price that Hamas has to pay? Well, that too is easy to fathom…peace! Nothing more, and nothing less.


     So in the end, when push comes to shove, peace may be possible, not because people love one another, God forbid, or because they want a better world for their children, or because they believe in the sanctity of life. No, none of that crap. Peace may come one day because as we face some very common existential threats, we may finally come to realize that we actually need one another, for a change, to stave off these threats, and to save our very own necks.


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Comment by AshDiane Hunt on November 8, 2011 at 3:08am
Oops, the end of what I wrote was cut off. There must be a character limit and silly me failed to highlight and copy this time prior to sending, and the back arrow is greyed part of what I wrote has been lost. I will now have to reconstruct it and ask for your patience while I do so.
Comment by AshDiane Hunt on November 8, 2011 at 2:57am

Thanks for that, Nissim. I must admit that I was a bit puzzled by things, then surprised to find that the discussion here was being taken elsewhere. I am glad you have explained this. Something feels a bit impolite about this, though I am am still looking at my own responses, checking them first with mindfulness.

I have been thinking somewhat about these discussions though and, because of work I do plus the fact that I prefer my energies and focus to be directed towards positive actions as well as to be a do'er and not simply a talker/discusser, I must apologise for the fact that I cannot do justice to all the energy and time you both put into these. Upon rereading I have realized there is much I have failed to either take in/respond to, and I feel this is not something I am able to I do apologise.

I have also been worrying somewhat over how to respond to Gabe without it being an attack back. I do not wish to cause injury to him in any way, because for me attacking Gabe is like attacking myself. Nor do I feel it is necessary. This was not a conclusion I came to easily. It certainly was a subject for some meditation and kept me awake a few times. Then I saw something he wrote to you in the blog on your site. It kept flashing for attention:

"I think I know you pretty well from the information that I gleaned from our discussions. I am still at a loss to figure out why your politics are what they are. I guess the cost of my Psych education was not a complete waste."

Now I do not have the psych study experience that Gabe does, so please forgive if I stumble painfully and awkwardly to express what I am trying to say. Yet after initial reactiveness (not helped by fatigue as I have been working quite a bit lately in a number of roles, with an additional heat factor I am no longer used to) to what seem to me to be personal attacks which Gabe has made, and I must admit my mind was thinking of retorting and my body was also going into flight and fight adrenaline - with unhelpful thoughts such as that perhaps it was indeed a waste if he cannot understand and other such responses circling around mixed with others that perhaps I am the failure he paints me to be.

I then had a good dose of chamomile, did some breathing, allowed my energies to work on other things while setting the intention to not react but to instead treat Gabe how I myself would prefer to be treated and look for the higher self and a solution.

What then came to me is that what I would have been responding to, if I had allowed myself to do so, was not the core of things at all and I would be the one wasting as well as doing so rather unpleasantly and unnecessarily. For I think and feel the underlying matter is that, all things being relative, it is most difficult for people to see beyond their realm of experience and upbringing, as well as that of the collective. We all know what we know until we perceive or feel something different. This said, there is therefore no blame either, nor need for attack.

We can talk about circles and squares, wag the dog or dog the wag until the cows come home, but will none the wiser be or closer to resolving difficulties in the world. For we are only tangling it all up with what we personally know as well as semantics, and in doing this not seeing the common denominators.

And this is that underneath everything nobody wishes to be without food or shelter, nor should there be a reason for them to be going without, and most would not wish this on others either.

There are a myriad of solutions and no reason to have to pick one above others. And the more of us who actually apply ourselves with sleeves rolled up instead of just talking about it, because it has been proven that it can be done a number of times including with the kitchen and camp at Occupy Melbourne for one, the more we can start creating a better world and life for all. Again, I

Comment by Nissim Dahan on November 7, 2011 at 7:15pm

Diane, it's always good to hear from you.

Gabe has been willing to comment on my website, on a regular basis. He has been one of the few to do so.

He and I have an understanding that these discussions be forwarded to this website as well, so that others, such as yourself, could join in.

That's pretty much it, from my point of view. I hope that helps to clear it up. If you have any other questions, please feel free.

I think that your point of view is important, and I applaud whay you're trying to do. My goal is to find a way to take all of our good intentions, and give them some substance in a way that counts.

Comment by AshDiane Hunt on November 5, 2011 at 6:12pm

Actually, before I respond any further, I would like to know what the situation is with regards to Nissim forwarding on Gabe's responses each time. Is Gabe a member of mepeace?

Nissim, if you wouldn't mind letting me know what the arrangement is. Perhaps you already have and I have missed it. There is such a lot of dialogue to wade through and to do so takes a lot of time and energy which I am afraid I do not have much of to spend debating instead preferring to use it for positive action or spending quality time with people. I hope neither you nor Gabe mind my asking this. Especially you, Nissim, who have been very kind. I have had a bit of a look at your webpage btw and perceive some dovetailing of intentions for the good of our world. Gabe, I cannot say yet as to what exactly our common denominators are, apart from of course the need for food, shelter, air etc, yet I hope to in time find more of these with you. Diane :-)

Comment by AshDiane Hunt on November 4, 2011 at 5:30pm

And, Gabe.... I will try to answer some of your questions about the Occupy movement, though of course these will be tinged with my particular take on things. I would like to take time to think about this first though, out of respect to what I think are good questions even if somewhat attackingly phrased.

Yes, yes, am going to bed now.... ;-)


Comment by AshDiane Hunt on November 4, 2011 at 5:22pm

Sorry, I have been offline for a bit. I was housesitting at my brother's place (yes, instead of the streets for a change, lol! *cheeky grin*) and there was a bit of confusion over two phone bills before he left - though of course this confusion wasn't realized until too late - which were of very similar amounts and this led to somewhat of a farce, as well as a fair amount of hair tearing on the part of my brother, when they disconnected his phone and internet the day he returned from holidays. On top of this, while away he had his iphone stolen, and his laptop blew up. In some places in the world they refer to this type of thing as Murphy's Law, and in others they call it Sod's Law - yet I say sod that Murphy and his Law! As for my brother, what he has been saying is not really repeatable in polite company.


Anyway... I finally got back online and in touch again, and found your messages, Nissim and Gabe. I won't respond at any length now as I am a bit tired yet my first reaction was to giggle at my being termed an anarchist. In fact I am still giggling a bit. It has rather tickled my funny bone, but then I do often see funny sides of things, and at times have a bit of a surreal sense of humour. Something else made me laugh, and that was this thought which came to my mind... of saying to you both "don't fight over me, boys" hee hee. Well, I am assuming Gabe is male. Could be Gabrielle for all I know! Which illustrates something... that I don't know much about you both at all. Yet, Gabe, you do seem to be purporting to know a great deal about me. This last sentence not meant as harshly as it may come across though. Instead please look at it as a request from me that you not confine me to a little box. They get frightfully stuffy and hot (hmm, looks like I have picked up some Brit speech habits from my time there...quite, indeed!) and I tend to bang my elbows which ain't very funny at all. Perhaps one day we three will all sit around a table together and have a drink (looks like Gabe thinks my cocktail will be a molotov - more likely lemon lime and soda! Oh go on, perhaps a dash of something stronger in there), and laugh over the rather - oops Brit speech again, aaargh! - passionate ( which is not so Brit lol!) start to our dialogue.

Okay, am off to bed now. *yawn*

From Diane who formed the Occupy Melbourne Sanctuary with our plants (which were handed to me and then I had to look after) when OM were evicted from City Square,  and at that spot comforted distressed people, kindly and informatively gave out info and free hugs to passersby (as well as a few police officers and security staff),helped guide a blind man who was having difficulty navigating past the fuss and fuzz, and is now giggling about being termed an anarchist lol! ;-)

P.S. This message will self-destruct after the amount of time it takes to soft boil an egg.

P.P.S. Don't all run for your cookbooks at once, to check how long that is...though the cookbook may provide shelter....

Comment by Nissim Dahan on November 4, 2011 at 4:41am
Taking Things Up A Notch
written by Nissim Dahan, November 03, 2011

First of all, I don't see the connection from the words she wrote, to the label "anarchist."

She doesn't mention the use of violence, or dismantling civilization as we know it. In fact, there is truth in her words that applies to each and every one of us. "Mistakes," I've made plenty, and so have you. Family problems? Show me someone who doesn't have them in one way or another. And as to her notion of "personal resonsibility" I would think that is something you could relate to, Gabe. We're sure as hell not going to bring peace to the world, if we don't find it first within ourselves. Just ask Ghandi.

You mention that Israel has missions all over the world helping people with agriculture. I know this to be true from first hand experience.

My wife and if visited our daughter in Turkmenistan when she did her Peace Corps Service. When over there, we saw some funnly looking green houses. I asked, "What are these things doing here in the middle of nowhere?" Well, guess what, they were Israeli greenhouses, used to demonstrate new ways of irrigation and the like.

And of course, whenever there's a tragedy somewhere, like the earthquake in Haiti, or even the recent earthquake in Turkey, you see Israelis helping, even when they are not so welcome, as in the case of Turkey.

In other words, Gabe, you're right to say that Israel is always willing to lend a helping hand, even under circumstances when that help expends to places where she is not particularly welcome.

You see where I'm going with this Gabe?

If we take it up a notch, how far is this notion of Tikkun Olam from the idea of building, with Arab capital, and with Hamas' protection, a Green Industrial Zone in a crazy ass place like Rafah.

Logically, isn't it the same damn thing as helping with agriculture in Africa, or helping earthquake vicitims in Turkey.

It would be Israel, saying to the world, and her neighbors, "You may like us. Or you may not. But we're here to help. Like it or not. Because we think it's the right thing to do. With the hope, that over time, you'll come to see it that way too."

That is what Selling a Vision of Hope is all about.

And yes, you're right to say that the West has a safety net, and that perhaps the Occupiers may be overstating their case here and there. But I still say, that there have been wrongs perpetrated in the halls of power, and on Wall Street, and if the people on the street help to bring these into sharp focus, then that is a positive outcome.

No, they don't really have a plan. But maybe they're the first step to making a plan possible
Comment by Nissim Dahan on November 4, 2011 at 4:40am
written by GABE1, November 02, 2011

Yes they are mad but not like in angry, crazy mad would be a better characterization. What has the Arab Spring and Occupy accomplished and what are even their goals (second time asked). I am angry, angry at the Arabs for creating fear of death in 1.5 million people, so I guess I have the right to go to a Mosque and just throw a grenade in? What right does occupy have to restrict my movements or prevent some businesses from making a living with their "occupation". You also did not address any of my points re poverty, security in both Canada and the USA or the social parachute system that the West enjoys and were these lunatics are "Occupying".

As I said before, you would get my vote if you decided to look at the Indians in our own back yard and Africa and Asia and South America instead of focusing on the Middle East generational welfare Bums

Are you aware that Israel has missions all over the world helping people with agriculture.
Comment by Nissim Dahan on November 4, 2011 at 4:40am
written by GABE1, November 02, 2011

Yet along the way I have of course made mistakes, choices, judgements - as oft we all do - and some of these have led to problems of some complexity (oh the tangled web we weave, tho in this case not to deceive!) in relationships, esp in family. I have come to see that peace and unity are my life work, and that this begins with loving & knowing self better, working towards peace starting in my own self (for instance: reactivity) and my family, and flowing outwards from there. I feel that what is within us and how we think and feel then flow on to our interactions with others, and even those things unsaid can still be felt/sensed. In essence, personal responsibilty.

Unlike your characterization, she fits my bill to a tee. That is BTW the first time that I saw her characterization of herself. That is the general pattern of this type of anarchist.
Comment by Nissim Dahan on November 2, 2011 at 9:14pm
You Paint With Too Broad A Brush, My Friend
written by Nissim Dahan, November 02, 2011

I think your conclusions go way beyond the fact.

First of all, Diane is telling you that she is a mother and grandmother and that she has worked most of her life. That doesn't fit with the picture you paint.

Remember the Hippi days? Those guys were a wild bunch. They did all sorts of drugs, and enjoyed themselves in all sorts of ways, if you get my drift.

And then what happened. A lot of them went on to run Wall Street.

You expect too much from the Arab Spring and from the Occupy folks. They are mad as hell. And they can't take it any more. But that doesn't mean that they know exactly what they're angry about, or that they have concrete solutions to solve problems that are complex, as you've said, and that were years in the making.

You say the West has no hunger. I beg to disagree. We have our share of suffering. People are falling through the "safety net." However, even leaving the West aside, what about the hunger we see in Africa and the like? What about that. We in the West, who enjoy life's blessings, including the wealth that we've worked for; Do we have the moral right to allow hunger to ravage parts of this world?

Maybe I'm smoking something, but I would dare say that the West has a moral responsibility to make sure that no one on earth goes hungry.

We should do it not because we like to feel good about ourselves every once in a while. We should do it because we have the wherewithal to do it, and we have the moral obligation to do it as well.

No one on earth should go hungry. Period.

If we develop in ourselves the moral obligation to help others, and if we expand that type of thinking to other spheres, then, and only then, we will begin to tackle some of the major problems we face, like global warming, environmental degradation, and rampant extremism.

A global economy has global promlems which require global solutions. It is as if we are being forced to face the reality that we have no choice but to come together in common purpose in order to save our very own necks.


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