Israel and Palestine on this the 61st Birthday of Israel's Independence...a letter to my friend Majed

Dearest Majed,

Today is Israel's Birthday...61 years old..i am happy for this day and wish i could offer you wishes for a Happy Birthday for Palestine too. I remember when the Oslo Agreements were signed and i saw Palestinians riding on the main road by the kibbutz with Palestinian flags..I was both shocked and happy..Shocked because it was such an impressive display of power..and it took a few seconds to realize that power is not always bad. People empowered can be happy and good.

My Independence Day is the Naqba of the Palestinian People. It has taken me time to get used to using this word. A friend, another settler, taught me that we must understand and accept the idea of Naqba, the tragedy of the Palestinian People. We are part of the tragedy as our peoples were interlocked in struggle, violence and destruction: fear and sometime hate. The fear is always understandable and must be dealt with...the hate is unacceptable and only detrimental.

The Love of Zion started with the love and the desire fo the Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland..and Jews were doing that for centuries. Modern Zionism is a national movement that grew at a time the rest of the world also developed nationalism and that too, was the time the Palestinian nationalism could develop. Both of our modern national movements are effected by the West in that way and this is complicated, especially for Palestinians i think- since both of us are steeped in other older traditions and religion, to tribe, family, village, etc.

We are so alike in many ways and we could be a a enlightened example for the world.

Naqba was the outcome of violence: some just plain evil and much was the outcome of the denial of the possibility of living two nations here, either together or one alongside the other. We must all recognize the tragedy and the responsibility our lives have in creating it. This is not an issue of constantly looking to blame one get bogged down in looking for "points" against each other..but to look at our past in sadness, to accept that we all have done bad things and have had negative attitudes that change now.

We can all find and make lists of the "bad things", of trying to demonize each other in negative terms. I have seen too much of this even on Ipeace, when Zionism is wrongly labeled as "racism", "ethnic cleaning", etc. For some the very existence of the State of Israel is part of the Naqba...This i find totally unacceptable.Naqba has to do with two things in my view, the sad situtaion where thousands of people were displaced and the fact that a Palestinian State does not exist. This tragedy has been caused by both of us (and by other neighboring countries)..and has been deepened over years of constant violence.

It is important to realize that both our peoples are dedicated to Life. We are all here to build and develop..NOT to conquer. There is room in this wonderful land and in our hearts for all of us.

I am with you and your efforts for Peace in the future...for developing loving hearts and a vision for the future.

May next year be a year that we can bless each other with mutual wishes of "Happy Independence Day" "Happy Days of Peace and Cooperation"



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Comment by Kobi on May 9, 2009 at 3:20pm
Hay Myron.
I have read your letter for your Palestinian friend & I couldn't agree with you more. A day after the independents day, I set with my Palestinian friends in the university & urged them to tell me about their Nakba. I honestly believe that both sides ignoring the pain of the other. That’s including the pain of my family, who has been expelled from Iraq after Haj Amin El Huseiny (the leader of the Palestinians before 1948) spread hatred against Jews all over the middle east, including Iraq.
My Israelis friends don't get it: hearing & understanding the Palestinian side from 1948, doesn’t mean they need to take the whole responsibility or even fill guilty about the history. Nonetheless, it does mean we can open our hearts & internalize that both of the sides are right as the same as they are wrong.
Shavua Tov,
Comment by myron joshua on May 6, 2009 at 1:36pm
Hi Susan,

Separation between ethnic populations should not be a goal and is not a goal in Israel. While personal choice is one reason that there is an amount of segregation in Israel, there is a problem of discrimination in finding work in certain areas. The creation of "mixed" neighborhoods is hindered by discrimination..and not only by personal choice.

But if you go to shopping malls, public offices, public transportation, there is no segregation in Israel. Arabs have full rights as citizens and attempts have been made (sadly sometimes more declarative than actual) to alleviate some of the problems listed above (Government offices are supposed to be making corrective attempts at hiring more minorities, etc. )

The separation that getting more entrenched between Israel and Palestinians who are NOT Israelis, but who live in the Palestinian Territories is a different issue. It has nothing to do with discrimination between citizens of one state. I would hope that any peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians would allow for maximum freedom of movement between the two States or regions. I believe the more we grow together the better it will be for all.
Comment by susan oppenheim on May 6, 2009 at 7:16am
my dear Myron
you have always been such a beautiful example for me of a meld of intelligence and heart
and i embrace these words of yours joyfully and gratefully and share them here with so many very fine people all over this world
yes there is room for all in our hearts and on this earth and i am committed to helping spread peace joy and prosperity

Comment by susan chandel on May 5, 2009 at 10:18pm
Thank you Myron this was a sweet letter your wonderful friend. I appreciate your caring understanding of Naqba and what it took to get there. I like to see that and experience it. Now based on your letter I am getting that chance because to me It is also an eye opener, as now I am considering how zionism is not racism. I had equated it with the movement to move african americans back to africa where they belong or native americans to the reservation which is a little different but similar. I guess I equate racsim with forms of segregation. This probably based on my experience and in some ways this may not be true. People may choose to be segregated and if there is coice in it thats okay. Anyway I am always open to an expanded view... thank you for your thought provoking elements.
Comment by Francine Tsipi Ben Zvi on May 2, 2009 at 9:20pm
Kol Hakavod Myron ! Hopefully the power of our belief in a peaceful way of living next to each other will be contagious. How did your friend react ? Francine
Comment by Irit Hakim-Keller on May 2, 2009 at 7:57pm
Dear Myron,
Thank you for posting the letter to Majed here, for all of us to share. I believe you express the feelings of many of us. Mine, anyway.

Let us hope for a better year of peace and sharing, of a better life.

much love to you,
Comment by Eva on May 1, 2009 at 10:15am
Thank you for publishing your letter.
Happy Birthday!
Comment by Stephanie on May 1, 2009 at 8:51am
you wrote your words beautifully. And it was lovely that you addressed it to your Palestinian friend Majed.
Thank you for sharing it and your words which are wise.
your good friend
Comment by Gordon J Millar ~ The Global We on April 30, 2009 at 1:58am

your comment 'soon or later we will celebrate destroy Israel. as they run from gaza in 2005 .they will run again' is not peaceful.

Please remember that iPeace is a progressive community, united in a common desire for peace.

What are you going to do about your comment?

I look forward to your reply,

Salam ~ Shalom
iPeace Co-Creator

Comment by Clicia Pavan on April 29, 2009 at 5:16pm
God bless his people and the Palestinians, I am sure that together are able to live with differences,leave you my peace

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