Part 1: A Cataclysmic Apocalypse or a Catalytic Thrust
What is better? A cataclysmic apocalypse or a catalytic thrust based on mutual trust! Can the politicians solely resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Quest To Co-Exist? Should terror for or against, perpetrated by either or both with the inevitable repercussions of reprisals, reign? Blood begets more blood, triggering the warring parties to fortify their resolve to regain their dignity; and, the world is enraged; and the people of Israel and of Palestine are split apart from within. Imagine being interlocked with unlikely people, the key to enduring change. Without that key, peace building itself collapses. The richness and vitality of our differences will dignify and can deepen our dialogue.
The task is no longer a question of ‘who is right’ but to focus on building a path that will be best served for all, a path that embraces human courtesy predicated on kindness and a generosity of spirit. Can and will the GOOD Israelis and the GOOD Palestinians destroy their enemy by becoming friends with all the give and take to make and keep the friendship? Hope, unlike optimism, is a struggle from darkness – both real and imagined – to reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. Optimism without hope is mere wishful thinking.
Rabbi Michael Lerner, in ‘Embracing Israel/Palestine’, states: “During the long history of propaganda battles between Zionists and Palestinians, each community has perpetrated pain and suffering against the other. Both sides have made and continue to make terrible mistakes. Yet the choices of both sides are also understandable, given their perceptions of their own and the other’s situation. As long as each community clings to its own story, unable to acknowledge what is plausible in the story of the other side, peace will remain a distant hope”. Repeatedly rehearsing and nursing our hurts is like treading in stormy water. Is the plan to go nowhere, or should we move forward?
The first task is to heal the traumas and to commit to understanding each other. So, let’s get radical! Be kind! I am challenging the noble and proud Palestinian Resistance to combine forces with the noble and proud Israeli Resistance of Peace Activists and deploy kindness as their stealth weapon. Friendship destroys enemies. Yes, there is an Israeli ‘underground’ consisting of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. They, too, despise the present Israeli regime. More than anything, they want a democratically invoked regime change. Can and will the Palestinian Resistance and the Israeli Underground come and work together to reach common goals? Is there another choice? And, will a Nelson Mandela type come out of the ashes?
Walking the tightrope requires a balancing act, dealing cautiously with tension and compromise. “We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed, words to consider, reconsider,” as cited by Poet Elizabeth Alexander at the first Presidential Inauguration of Barack H. Obama in January 2009. And, light outshines darkness. Everyone deserves to be happy. Everybody wants to wake up to a more fulfilled life. On all sides of the Divide, people do their best to provide food, shelter and education. Jews, Christians, and Muslims everywhere whisper the same daily prayer: “take care of our children”.
Part 2: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” Philo of Alexandria, Hellenized Jewish Philosopher (20 BCE to 40 CE)
Israelis cannot love Israel enough unless they also love Palestine, ALL of Palestine and I’m not referring to all the granules of sand sculpturing the land; and, the same is true on the other side. Palestinians cannot love Palestine enough unless they recognise the Divine inspired and inherent goodness of Israel. And, all the sand in Israel and all the sand in Palestine are ONE. So, permit others to call the Land by the name of their conscience. What’s in a name if it’s the same? ‘Holland’ and Netherlands are the same.
For millennia, many have called the Region Palestine. Just as many have called the same region, Israel. And Zion, the City of God, the heart of human consciousness, stands central. Zion has always meant to be the place where people can become the Light Among Nations. Zionism has always meant to create a Heaven on Earth in reverence to the God of Abraham, the God of ALL Muslims, ALL Christians, ALL Israelites; the God of Adam and Eve, the God of ALL mankind, the God of all believers and, especially, unbelievers; the God of ALL who are lost in their ways. The region has always meant to be the Promised Land for EVERYONE, ALL the descendants of the Biblical Abraham, the “Father of a Multitude of Nations”.
“Can we quietly Cross the Boundary of Life and Find New Meaning in Our Tangled Roots of Our Combined Histories,” a whisper of hope from American poet, Dario Robleto? Imagine, the Israelis and the Palestinians in full reconciliation, living apart together, within one homeland inside two borderless states (zones), rejoicing freedom of movement and the right of passage, sharing Jerusalem and the region not too different from the BENELUX countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), the forerunners of the open borders of the European Union (EU)? “We live in a very surprising world where nobody has anticipated the way the Berlin Wall would fall or the Arab Spring would rise up. [President] Obama was unelectable six months before he was elected,” says author Rebecca Solnit and contributing editor of Harper Magazine.
Time for Jihad … “Striving in the Path of God … al-jihad fi sabil Allah”
It is time. The word ‘Jihad’ frequently appears in the Quran with and without military connotations, idiomatically articulated as “striving in the path of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)”. Jihad, Arabic: جهاد jihād, an expression of hope, literally means striving or struggling, especially with a praiseworthy aim.
Let’s show ‘them’ and the world. Let’s become Jihadists, Walking in the Light exemplifying humanity with dignity. I’m calling on ALL the GOOD people on ALL sides of the Divide to come together and shine as ‘A Light Among Nations’. Conduct yourselves according to the imprint of God’s DNA embedded inside your souls.
Time for Real Zionism … “Creating a Heaven on Earth”
It’s time for real Zionism. Simply stated, ‘Zionism’ means doing God’s work, God’s people creating a heaven on earth; ordinary people doing extraordinary things; exemplary in every way, the Light Among Nations.
The word ‘Zion’ ranks among the most sacred words in Judaism and Christianity and, is just as sacred as the word ‘Jihad’ with strikingly similar meanings and connotations. Zion and Jihad are but two words that connect Jews, Christians and Muslims in our Abrahamic Faiths. Judaism and Islam are the two closest religions to each other. What’s more, for centuries Jews and Muslims have lived in harmony side by side. Many classical works of Judaism are written in Arabic. Historically, both have lived a lot better together than in Christian realms.
Lights and shadows with moments of grief characterize the relationship among Jews, Christians and Muslims. Can we work toward real reconciliation among all believers in the one God? Can we become one in the Spirit, to do that which has the most chance of being good for all concerned? Judaism honours the Almighty as protector of the human person and as the God promulgating the promises of life. Christianity knows that God is love and expects mankind, created in His image, to manifest Agape love. Islam views God as good. He grants the believers His abundant mercy. Inspired by these convictions, those who are one in the Abrahamic Faiths – Jews, Christians and Muslims – reject the supposition that hatred threatens the earth; that endless wars continue to plague humanity; that mankind will destroy itself. And yet, peace between our people remains a bridge too far unless trust can be the thrust to bring us together.
Zion has a broad spectrum of meaning that is greater than any one single entity or identity. Zion, which simply means ‘fortification’, is also known as the seat of power not just for the ‘kingdom’ of Israel, but especially the Kingdom of God. Zion is also another name for Jerusalem, the ‘City of David’ but always superseded as ‘the City of God’. (Isaiah 52:1-2, the “City of God”, the people of God becoming the “Light among nations”. Jeremiah 31:6, “Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.” Mount Zion signifies the Kingdom of God as in Hebrews 12:22: “you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem”… the New Jerusalem that will descend out of heaven (Revelations 21:10-26), the ‘heaven on earth’).
But nothing is more anti-Semitic than the modern day precepts of ‘Israeli Zionism’ and ‘Christian Zionism’. The so-called Zionists have bastardised a most beautiful, God-given word to veil their crimes and ingratiate themselves on the world stage, to justify their atrocities against a defenceless people under the banner of Holy Goodness. It is worse than FAKE, it is FALSE. They have grimly misrepresented and gravely misconstrued true Zionism as depicted in the Sacred Texts. FAKE Zionism, referred in my writings, as ‘neo-Zionism’ has been a rupture and a rebellion against Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The ‘return to a homeland’ with a modus operandi of ‘taking – attacking, invading, dispossessing, displacing and imprisoning the indigenous people of Palestine – rather than humbly giving as exemplified by the Biblical Abraham’, defiles all that is good and Holy in our Abrahamic Faiths. When it has emerged in the late 19th century, most religious Jews have rejected this FALSE doctrine, fascism veiled as Zionism.
Part 3: Collision Course Against Judaic Conscience …
Revealed as a dark side of Judaism, Neo-Zionism rules and dominates the Israeli zeitgeist beguiling and chaining many Jews into believing in something they are not. This aberration ruptures civility in Israel-Palestine. Neo-Zionism has split many Jewish families apart. Worse, Neo-Zionists, dare in the glare of world television, torment and inter the indigenous Palestinians into concentrated encampments to live a hell on earth.
Without the Israeli – Palestinian Conflict, there would be an internal Israeli conflict that inevitably could unglue their social fabric now fragilely held intact by the fear mongering against a common enemy. Peace could bust the socio-cultural seams between the secular, the national-religious and the Orthodox; between the old Ashkenazi community, the Oriental Jews and the Sephardic Community; between the immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia; between the Neo-Zionists (hell on earth) and the true ‘Zionists’ (heaven on earth); and could further alienate the Israeli-Arab citizens, whose separation from the rest is increasing. Socially, Israel is unstable. It is even worse economically. In Israel, the disparity between rich and poor, so underreported, is reprehensible.
Zionist leaders from Mr Ben Gurion to Mr Binyamen Netanyahu have, according to world public opinion, taken many wrong turns in their territorial obsessions – their rage and blind ambition – to expand their lebensraum. Instead of triumphing in peaceful harmony, they have capitulated to criminal misconduct (lie, steal and destroy), perpetrating heinous crimes against humanity, colliding against their Judaic conscience. Zionism, meant to be a light in the world, has become a prayer without end.
Most Israelis and most Palestinians, tired and stressed out, seek a future without war. Both do not support indiscriminate brutality against the other. They desperately want security and peace. Yet, the Netanyahu regime’s relentless cruelty against civilians has scaled new heights in Operation Protective Edge, raining death and destruction on a captive population of 1.8 million inhabitants, trapped on this tiny, isolated, desperately poor and densely populated Palestinian enclave, sealed by the Egyptians on one side and by the Israelis on the other.
Israel’s precise weaponry can pinpoint its targets to the exact square centimetre. Yet, Israel launched its missiles to destroy private homes, mosques, hospitals, health clinics, ambulances, the Islamic University of Gaza, and UN schools and shelters. “A moral outrage, a criminal act”, says UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, referring to the Israeli slaughter in Rafah, which blew apart a large number of civilians sheltering in UN schools. Israel has also targeted and destroyed the only power plant as well as water and sewage systems, driving Gaza to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, with an estimated damage of $5 billion.
Over 475,000 people, who are inescapably trapped within the walls erected by Israel, have been displaced; more than 11,500+ Palestinians, injured; 100,000+, homeless; 2,200+ Palestinians, killed; and, 1,500 children, orphaned. Most were civilians, innocent bystanders, who were callously, heartlessly, violently and cruelly executed by the lethal and robotic Israeli Defence Force (IDF). These men, women and children were sentenced to death – a collective death penalty. Their crime? They were in the way, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, trapped inside one of the densest populated tinderboxes on earth.
One wonders how Israel can still make their propaganda stick. Mainstream media pinpoints, magnifies and broadcasts Israeli bombing as self-defence, a ‘response’ to terror perpetrated by Hamas. They deny their television audiences and readers to become fully apprised of the real issues: dispossession, displacement, confiscation, servitude, bondage, not to mention state terror and murder. And when some media outlets happen to show the losses on the Palestinian side, they often parrot the Israeli army’s double-speak proclaiming the onslaught only aims to target Hamas’ fighters and the tunnels threatening Israel’s security, when most casualties are civilians. In war, truth becomes its first casualty. Rule of law becomes academic.
Since 2001, the Palestinian Resistance has launched 4,890 mostly amateur rockets and hurled 15,047 mortar attacks, into Southern Israel. They have terrorized the Israelis with fear. But few Israelis were killed and injured. Within a span of thirteen (13) years, Israel suffered a grand total of 28 deaths and 1,971 injured. Palestinian resistance’s rockets follow indiscriminate trajectories, flight paths invariably going to ‘nowhere’ on the vast open Negev Desert, exploding on land or, when intercepted, in thin air. Look on the map. Gaza is located next to the sparsely populated Negev.
It is truly David, the Palestinians, versus Goliath, the Israelis. Israeli’s military prowess – a highly disciplined 1) Israeli Defence Force (IDF) together with 2) Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, and 3) Shin Bet, Israel Security Agency (ISA) (working under cover or “Magen veLo Yera’e” (Hebrew: lit. “Defender that shall not be seen” or “The unseen shield”), and working alongside 4) Aman, Israeli’s military intelligence and (5) a network of Palestinian spies.
Israel’s combined military forces – naval gunboats to the east, tanks positioned on the land borders, and IAF aircraft, equipped with F-15 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache helicopters, Delilah missiles, IAI Heron-1 drones and Jericho II missiles are no match to the Gaza-based Palestinian Resistance armed primarily with home- or factory-made missiles (and some long-range rockets, Grad missiles or Qassam rockets) but, with inaccurate trajectories, which usually explode in open fields unless they are first intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome. In Israel, the term ‘overkill’ has become an understatement.
No Happy Ending! Ask Nazi Germany…
Is neo-Zionism sustainable? Create an exclusive community (kampf), a Jewish nation, by deploying brute force without considering the consequences of the other by unconscionably dispossessing and displacing ‘them’ from the land with no hope to ever return with neither compromise, concession or conciliation; them or us; the end justifies the means? This perversion and aberration, this depraved, distorted and deviant ideology can never have a happy ending. Ask Nazi Germany!
Part 4: Rise Up Against Tyranny …
Help galvanise the world to defeat tyranny! People on ALL sides of the Divide want more than peace. They want freedom. Throw out the few bad apples that are spoiling the bunch! It is a law of nature. It is the BAD people, the minority, who are tyrannising the majority of GOOD people. GOOD people on one side can work together with GOOD people on the other. All GOOD people on all sides of the Divide must come together to ask the GOOD people of the world to help out.
And, work together to replace the present regimes with new leadership. The Region needs dedicated and creative leaders bolstered with moral courage and moral imagination to hammer out reconciliation and restitution, to effectuate the Israeli-Palestinian Quest to co-Exist. Don’t fall any more for hate, fear and war mongering. Don’t cede to your worst instincts: hatred and fear against an enemy you don’t know.
No one will really help and nothing of substance will really happen unless the GOOD people of the Region come in unity proclaiming: “We need help, we can’t do it alone”. Let’s enrapture the people of Europe first to move their leadership to help solve the conflicts. The rest of the world will follow. Europe can propose. Europe cannot impose. The European Union can help move mountains. Fortified with an invincible NATO, the EU is also the most powerful economy on earth, wealthier than the economies of the United States and China COMBINED. In all due respect, the Arab Peace Initiative is insufficient.
In deference to the long-standing resolutions declared by the United Nations, the European Union together with the Russian Federation, Iran and the United States could support the Arab Peace Initiative to help the people of Israel – Palestine to form, what Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as, a ‘Beloved Community’. They have been in each other’s back yards for millennia. Any peace accord, minus full reconciliation, will inevitably collapse, the wounds will only be temporarily soothed, letting the disease to stealthily spread and eventually erupt and explode again.
The EU-Complement to the Arab Peace Initiative outlined below will make a sustainable difference. “We cannot give up on the search to end this conflict”, says President Obama in a letter on 16 August 2016. A unified people must initiate dialogue with Europe to:
- Apologize to the people of Israel and to the people of Palestine. As one who is more European than most, born as an English national and a Dutch national, I will take the initiative: I’m sorry what we have done to the Jews. I am sorry what we have done to the Palestinians. I speak volumes in silence.
- Measure the State of Palestine and the State of Israel by one standard with fairness and equitability.
- Recognise Israel and Palestine and treat both equally as de-facto NATO ‘affiliates’ so that neither may ever attack, invade, and occupy the other. Frankly, Israel already embraces de-facto NATO status. Iran will never directly attack Israel, despite the rhetoric and spin and fears perpetrated by Israel. Iran reveres NATO, not Israel.
- Propose borderless boundaries or virtual borders, to facilitate freedom of movement and the right of passage for EVERYONE. Yes, with a BENELUX-type structure (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) one may freely cross the many Divides in the Region. Citizens of one country may freely work, travel and live in the other – i.e., Jewish settlements sited in Palestine and vice-versa –, but remain citizens in their own states. So, Israel remains Israel. Palestine remains Palestine. Jerusalem remains Jerusalem but everyone in the region may live and work where they please but vote only in his or her own country. This is nothing new. Is Europe a single federation or a union of individual nations? Both! Am I proposing a one-state solution or a two-state solution? Depending on the eye of the beholder, it could be either or both.
- Implement restitution. Construct a EU-type Marshall Plan. Banks would trip over each other to stand first in line to lend money especially to a credit worthy Israel and to Palestine, notwithstanding collateralised with all Sovereign Bank Guaranties. Such secured financial instruments will enable the Israelis and the Palestinians to recompense the other, proportionate to the degrees of harm done, losses incurred because no one should get away taking something for nothing. We Europeans should not sweep our culpability under the rug. We have created the conflicts. We are the culprits. Europe owes it to the Israelis and the Palestinians to sweeten the Arab Peace Initiative with many hundreds of billions of euros in loan guaranties and grants. Don’t worry about producing a Weimar-type hyperinflation. Economies coming out of the ashes cannot be overheated because ash does not burn. Today, Europe can flush cash into Israel – Palestine for micro and macro development to generate jobs, jobs, jobs. Of course, Europe will profit too. All goods and services must be purchased from or through Europe.
- Hang Netanyahu like Sadam? No! Let’s move forward and go beyond a justice based on tit for tat, despite what Netanyahu did to the Palestinians as Sadam did to the Kurds. As a response to ‘a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye’ one could choose to give a tooth or to give an eye if needed and warranted. Why not reach the pinnacle of becoming the light of the world, each committing to become an instrument of blessing, and Give the Gifts that God has Given Us?
- Invoke an Act of Reconciliation similar to the one in South Africa under the tenets ‘live, let live’ rather than ‘kill, get killed’; and, ‘forgive in order to forget’, a fundamental economic principle, a precious lesson in life.
- Encourage the people in the Region to vote for tentative (perhaps for five years) demilitarisation of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and the ‘Palestinian Defence Forces (PDF)’ as a condition to enable NATO to guarantee security for all Israelis and for all Palestinians with heavily equipped NATO troops, costs to be proportionately defrayed among the Israelis and Palestinians derived from new-found revenues as a result of the new capital infused by Europe. From the beginning, the IDF and the ‘PDF’ have also been destabilizing factors. Their aims, portrayed as Divinely inspired, depicted with the best of intentions, have often been counterproductive for the greater good of the Region and the world.
- Petition the Arab League together with the European Union and The Holy See to consider investing an estimated EU 100+ million to finance the work of thousands of Peace Corps Professionals to help the people of Israel – Palestine to believe in their own self-esteem as well as the worthiness and goodness of the other.
- And, tenth, LEAVE THE HOLY SITES IN THE HOLY CITY ALONE! Until things REALLY cool down entrust them tentatively to something like a UN mandated Trust. The Holy sites in the Holy City belong to everyone because those who have faith in the God of Abraham also believe that God is the God of Adam and Eve, the God of all mankind. West Jerusalem becomes the capital of Israel. East Jerusalem becomes the capital of Palestine with no borders to separate either. Why? God views Jerusalem as one and the same.
The vast majority of the Israeli Jews (73.8%), Israeli Arabs (97%) and the Palestinian Arabs (85.7%) want peace, heretofore, either not realised or denied by all sides of the Divide. This is breaking news affirmed by the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research. Check out their survey of Israeli and Palestinian Opinion (executive summary here, full survey here). Respondents include 1,270 Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and 1,184 Jewish and Arab Israelis.
Most respondents are shocked when discovering that the other craves peace and that just about all misconstrue each other’s intentions. It gets worse. Most everyone wants peace but few agree on the route to getting there. Even if I invite only the peace ‘makers’ to partake on a feast of culinary delights buffet-style, I’d have to separate them into two rooms. Why? One group, a small majority, wants a two-state solution (Israeli Jews 53.4%, Israeli Arabs 87.1%, Palestinians West bank 50.9%, Palestinians Gaza 52.1%). The other group, a minority, wants a one state solution (Israeli Jews 20.4%, Israeli Arabs 52.4%, Palestinians West bank 32.8%, Gaza 37%).
But then you might think that each respective group would break bread together in their separate rooms. Wrong! Instead, they’d probably be breaking each others’ heads (figuratively speaking) arguing who’s right and who’s wrong, some still claiming “what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine also” and not even going forward with the notion “what should we do to once and for all get our children and theirs out of the quagmire, a quagmire of history and a quagmire prolonged by today’s deep traumas and collective hysteria?”
The bigger issue is: will they want to come, assuming they are permitted to freely cross borders? Most might be willing. But they want protection. These peace loving people fear each other. The Israeli Jews (64.8%) fear the Palestinians more than the Palestinians fear the Israelis. Three-quarters of the Israeli Arabs fear neither.
Part 5: Impotence Among Leaders …
What are they waiting for? When will they serve the main entre, the most tasteful that the best of the best chefs can offer? The sweet aroma of peace is in the air, all around us. A clear majority on all sides of the Divide wants peace. Are the politicians just stumbling over their own hurdles? Is a movement toward peace solely about real estate, jobs, position, or status; power and money? Or, should it be about humanity, community, and the public interest. When Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. talks about the mountaintop, he is talking about a higher level of consciousness, a movement that harmonises the “I” with the “we” and the “we” with the “I.”
Do the people in Israel-Palestine have the moral courage to dare go beyond their ‘I’ sight to allow them to imagine a moral path with ‘we’ sight, reinforced with hindsight, insight and foresight (adapted from Civil Rights Icon Ms Ruby Sales during an interview with Krista Tippett of On Being)? Can they, will they rid themselves of the hurdles, real or imagined?
In the past, those in command of the peace talks dare not take off at full throttle. The results: one deadlock after the other. Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Madrid, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna have succeeded in producing stalemates often ending in standoffs with one foot in the stirrup, the other in the sand.
Riddled with Obstacles …
The leadership on ALL sides of the Divide has yet to strike an acceptable peace package. To date the majority on both sides reject the proposed resolutions seemingly designed to fail from the start. “Only 39 per cent of Palestinians and 46 per cent of Israelis support a peace agreement package [riddled with obstacles] that comprises:
- A de-militarized Palestinian state [rejected by 80% Palestinians but supported by 61% Israelis]
- An Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line with equal territorial exchange [rejected by 56% Israelis; supported by 61% Palestinians]
- A family unification in Israel of [ONLY] 100,000 Palestinian refugees [overwhelmingly rejected by both; not enough for the Palestinians, too many for the Israelis]
- West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
- East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine
- The Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty
- The Muslim and Christian quarters and the al Haram al Sharif / Temple Mount under Palestinian sovereignty [items 4, 5, 6, 7: all seemingly prayers without an end in sight]
- The end of the conflict [ironically desired by all, but impeded by all the stumbling blocks]
- All future claims against the other [supported by most Israelis, rejected by most Palestinians because they’re not going to let the Israelis get something for nothing and neither side will permit the other to get away with murder]”.
It is clear that the leadership should concoct more palatable recipes. And, if any one of the leaders can’t stand up to the heat, tell them to get out of the kitchen. A leader who cannot hammer out an acceptable peace resolution is not worth his or her salt and should be (democratically) replaced. Of course, from my ivory tower it is easier said than done. But the leaders of the region must creatively combine the many regional contradictions to produce a well-balanced yet spicy feast.
What matters most to the people of Israel – Palestine? Just about all prefer to trust, not fear, the other. It will help when Europe treats both Israel and Palestine as de facto NATO affiliates so that neither may attack, invade and occupy the other. It will also help when the people of the region start getting to know each other.
The outcome of The Palestinian – Israeli Pulse make that clear. “The perception of threat on both sides regarding the aspirations of the other side is high:
- 54 per cent of Palestinians think that Israel’s goal is to extend its borders to cover all area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel its Arab citizens.
- Some 27 per cent [Palestinians] think Israel’s goal is to annex the West Bank while denying political rights to the Palestinians.
- Some 35 per cent Israelis (40% Israeli Jews and 8% Israeli Arabs) think Palestinians’ main aspirations is to conquer the State of Israel and destroy much of its Jewish population;
- 19 per cent [Israelis] think the goal of the Palestinians is to take over the entire state of Israel.
- Only 17 per cent of the Palestinians think Israel’s long term intention is to withdraw from all (7%) or some (10%) of the territories occupied in 1967 after guaranteeing its security.
- Some 37 per cent of Israelis (33% of Israeli Jews and 61% of Israeli Arabs) think the aspirations of the Palestinians are limited to regaining some (21%) or all (16%) of the territories conquered in 1967”.
BREAKING NEWS! “When we asked Palestinians and Israelis to tell us what THEY think the long-term aspirations of THEIR SIDE are, the picture shows that the two sides perceive much more moderate aspirations on their side than anticipated by the other side.
- Only 12 per cent of Israelis say the aspirations of Israel is to annex the West Bank and to expel the Palestinians living there;
- 18 per cent say that Israel intends to annex the West Bank without granting political rights to the Palestinians living there.
Among the Palestinians:
- Only 10 per cent say that the Palestinians aspiration is to conquer the State of Israel and destroy much of its Jewish population;
- 15 per cent say Palestinians aspirations are to conquer the State of Israel and regain control over pre-1948 Palestine”.
Conclusion: On both sides, less than 30 per cent of the people cannot come to terms with the other. The minority strongholds, incessantly fanning the winds of war, rule the majority on ALL sides. But what is it that the majority of Israel – Palestine really wants, sooner than later?
- “Among Israeli Jews, a Jewish majority is seen as the most important value (35%), followed by peace (32%), democracy (20%) and Greater Israel (10%).
- Among the Palestinians, Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital is seen as the most important value (45%), followed by obtaining the right of return to refugees to their 1948 towns and villages (32%), and building a pious or moral individual and a religious society (13%)”.
BOTTOM LINE, as extrapolated from the Pulse: most Israelis and Palestinians want to be safe from ‘terrorist’ attacks especially state terror. Most Palestinians worry more about jobs than about territory or borders. Most people on all sides want little more than for the other side to leave them alone. Before they are willing to break bread together, they would first want to put bread on their own tables to take care of their families and to raise their children.
And finally, the people of Israel – Palestine crave honour, respect and dignity from each other; a more pliable and palatable peace process with built-in degrees of expandability, flexibility and versatility; in short, fluidity predicated on ‘We’ Sight not just ‘I’ Sight. Two States (Zones) Within One Borderless Homeland With Freedom of Movement For All open the possibilities toward reaching permanent peace. We are all obligated to help build a bridge between the Israelis and the Palestinians. If peace is possible there, it is possible everywhere.
When is Enough, ENOUGH?
Is Israel worthy of igniting a World War? The Israeli house of cards, entranced by extreme neo-Zionism, fabricated and shaped on ideas envisaged during post-revolutionary Russia that also trickled into the ideological mind set of post World War I Germany, can and will eventually collapse, from within and from without. “Today’s status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 per cent, cannot be maintained. It’s not sustainable,” says former US Secretary of State Mr John Kerry. I cannot be more long-winded and as persuasive. Our only choice: build the bridge and come together.
I worry. I want Israel – Palestine to survive. I am of Jewish descent. I, too, have a spiritual connection to the land. The region is my home, born as a refugee on the outskirts of Israel – Palestine on a British Ship, Red Sea of Dutch parents. Inside my soul and within all of my being, I am attached to the splendour of its many colours, their tints and hues. I really do not know how to explain my love and deep devotion to the land, but I understand implicitly and intuitively why neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis will ever leave.
Seeking the Better Angels of Our Nature…
What if a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians respond to the higher calling of becoming a ‘light among nations’, which President Abraham Lincoln refers to as ‘seeking the better angels of our nature’, and act accordingly as responsible citizens in the community of men and women, especially those they have hurt so much? They will want nothing more than a full reconciliation with their neighbours. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Israelis will publicly apologise: “We recognise we can’t get away getting something for nothing … we realise we can’t get away with murder … let’s tear down the walls between us, share the land, and break bread together … and here is cash, earnest money, a compensatory resolve to seal the deal (precisely how Germany recompensed their victims World War II)?”
Making the Choice …
The Israeli-Palestinian saga needs a twist; a paradigm shift with new metaphors, uplifting stories with more openness, questioning the legitimacy and authority of deeply rooted dogmas. These are tools that enable us to succeed going from darkness – the terrible realities we face – to the amazing possibilities of tomorrow. We must start by rejecting the narratives we are told, to tell our own stories, becoming the storyteller rather than the person who is told what to do (Ms Rebecca Solnit). Each and every day we must make choices from the good, the bad and ugly within us. Some pick up their hammers to shatter glass, to harm, injure and destroy. Others work their hammers to forge steel, to shape something that lasts.
The people of Israel – Palestine are intertwined for millennia. Wouldn’t it be an ironic twist if the indigenous people in the Region were genetically connected to any of the eleven lost tribes of Israel? Their gene pool still exists. They have lived in the same region from the beginning. Don’t people living contiguously beget others, one after the other? Palestinians could be just as much if not more Israelite than the Israelis; and, 32 per cent of the Palestinians are Christians. “How Does One Reunite a Million-Year Old Rain Drop With a Million-Year-Old Blossom”?
And, why does the Israeli-Palestinian Feud, the defining feud of our times, enrapture the world? Could it be that our hearts belong to Zion, that we all carry the DNA of the original Israelites inside our souls? We know how many seeds are inside an apple. Only God knows how many apples are in one seed. It is time that the people of the Region greet each other with “Welcome Home”. Prolonging the struggle is “sadness silence can’t touch”.
Real and sustainable peace begins in the mind and heart, in the will and soul because peace arises out of genuine appreciation and respect for the other. Peace is a conscious decision to improve relations and to do everything possible to overcome tensions and misunderstandings; and, if possible, even to become friends. Peace is the fruit of love. It is give and take. And, it is a dance with life.