I'm an incoming PhD student (Political Science) at the University of Toronto and a Trudeau Scholar studying democratic transition in the Middle East. I recently competed a Master's degree in Political Science (Political Theory and Middle Eastern Politics) at the University of Alberta. While in Edmonton, I co-founded 'Peace by Piece', a graduate student organization whose mission is to "encourage and facilitate constructive, meaningful, inclusive, and respectful personal and communal dialogue in promoting mutual understanding and appreciation for divergent perspectives on sensitive political, social, and economic issues through advocacy, participation and educational activities." The Peace by Piece Initiative is now a non-profit organization through the province of Ontario in Canada. My concern with Middle East peace grew exponentially following my experiences while studying at York University, Canada, wherein Jewish and Arab/Muslim students often clashed in protest, rarely productively, and often destructively. After completing my undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science there I spent two years studying a Master's degree at Tel Aviv University (Middle Eastern History) to gain first hand experience of the cultures and narratives of the region. Following a short post as a political consulting with the PA in Ramallah's Ministry of Foreign Affairs office (2009), I decided to develop a perspective that could be considered the "radical centre," meaning that I am consciously critical of the viewpoints on both the Left and Right. Instead, I urge sympathy towards all 'sides,' all truths, and all narratives. To this end, I support and promote dialogue as a means of moving from positive forms of tolerance to genuine acceptance and understanding of the 'other,' the endpoint being transforming the 'other' into a form of 'self.'
Why I want peace:
Why wouldn't I want peace?! In addition to the obvious and intrinsic value peace brings to the Middle East, this conflict has significant spillover to the region and the globe. In addition to seeking out Middle Eastern peace for denizens and citizens of Middle Eastern states, I am concerned with how Middle Eastern peace affects diasporas and the international community. Many confront the conflict with openness and respect, but many also perpetuate and deploy bias claims that are fueled, no doubt, by unfortunate ignorance, hate and fear. I believe that if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved (whatever that means), peace in the region, and perhaps in other conflicts across the globe, may follow. Palestinian-Israeli peace could very well be a model for peace between warring factions worldwide.
Interests and activities:
My interests include reading philosophy, history and politics, playing the piano, guitar, and drums, swimming, hiking, cycling, basketball, baseball, and any form of relaxation in the wilderness, whether canoeing, kayaking, or camping.
Something you didn't know about me:
I don't believe in nationalism, but I advocate for a two state solution nonetheless.
Researching peace NGO's catered to the Middle East.
What I want to achieve here:
I'd like to make contacts with like-minded individuals who strive for peace, and to commit whatever knowledge and experiences I have to the cause of peace in the Middle East. If this is general it's because my intentions are really quite overarching.
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A True Story By Faisal Al-kateep
I am a Palestinian Arab from Hizmeh, a village between Jerusalem and Ramallah. When I was 15 years old I fought against the Israeli Occupation in search of freedom. At that time I thought every Jewish person, whether soldier or citizen, man or woman, young or old, should be killed. I rejected the right for any Jew to live and every Jew was a target. I was just a kid, believe me, and I didn’t understand anything about politics or the Arab-Israeli conflict. I was arrested and sat in jail for 12 years. This was during the first intifada from 1987. At that time nobody talked about peace but only of violence. I matured during my time in jail. I started studying and reading books on politics, literature, poetry, and about the Madrid Conference.
It gave me hope to live in peace and dignity. I learned that violence only breeds violence and that peace is the only solution for the two nations, the only way for both to have a respectful and beautiful future. We live on the same land. We are neighbors. We drink the same water and both pray to a monotheistic God. We must live in peace on the basis of religion for God and land for everyone.
Sorry Matt, but I haven't worked on outposts and settlements in the West Bank. Have you tried looking into Peace Now's site. They are quite good at monitoring constructions, so they probably possess the information you need. And there's Gush Shalom (here's an interesting memo they wrote: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/9422322/Gush-Shalom-memo ).
I also found this article to be quite informative (http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Politics/2905.htm) of the dynamics.
best of luck for your presentation
Welcome to mepeace,
Did you study the brigades? did you ever find the one thread each one had in common. I noticed you don't agree with nationalism and I am finding each mafia group within this region and many other countries have studied one theory. Which I find amazing. "Marxism." I still think Karl Marx was a fraud! and believe the man who did the work did a great job. I am still wondering if so many people went to varied colleges and studied and then created varied political parties with the mind set of Marxism is it achievable? I think it is not. I think with this the community of two cultures will crumble. Just curious what you think of a two state solution created by two groups that neither have a true constitution. Without this the structure of political mafia groups remains. If the political party lines become divided how can the common thread remain without the "goal" being the same.