Response to David and the members of iPeace

Last night, after a long day away from the computer, I opened my mailbox to find it bursting with interesting things - first, David's public referal, with compliments, to one of my blog posts. Second, lots of apparent comments. When I opened the post to see the comments, I discovered it had disappeared. Today I learnt it had been removed, the first blog post ever to be removed from iPeace, what an honour. I started writing a response to David privately and then ran out of room; and since the majority of what I had to say has more to do with the rest of iPeace, I might as well say it here:

...The funny thing about all this, that this is exactly what I was talking about in that post (not regarding your decision remove it, but people's reactions.) The hypocracy of it all. The hypocracy of the people who calmly compare Israel to the Nazis, but cannot stand the comparison of Hamas to them. And, to paraphrase, from all we know about Israel, they are not Nazis either (by the way - I didn't say Hamas WERE Nazis. I don't believe that. But I think there are similiarities that need to be pointed out, because if we fail to recognise warning signs, how are we ever to prevent the next holocaust? I am a granddaughter of holocaust survivors, by the way.)

The hypocracy, the hypocracy of people supposedly believing so much in peace and co existence and respect, but having a hard time accepting opinions that are strange and different from their own - such as, for example, a moderate left winged; who believes in and wants peace, but thinks that on occasion, depending on the circumstances, military action is unavoidable - though recognizing that the ultimate solution can only come from dialog and understanding. See, that's me. I'm not a bleeding heart. I'm not really into the happy go lucky kind of attitude. I believe in practicalities. It's who I am, how I raised, incidentally by a father who works with the Peres Center for Peace and runs enterpreunship programs for young Palestinians in East Jerusalem. And like him I believe in cause and consequences and taking responsibilities for your life; I believe in being realistic, and that peace will never be achieved through prayer or flowers or poems, nor by CHANGING one's views to those of the other - just UNDERSTANDING the views of the other. There is a difference. It would appear that the majority of people here, sadly and to my dissapointment, do not get that.
See, it is my belief that dialog does not mean "convincing the other that you were right". It certainly isn't what it is for. Dialog is for understanding what the OTHER thinks is right, and accepting that that opinion is legitimate. From that, one can grow and learn, and than both sides adjust to the other; and then, eventually, from that you get friendship, and understanding, and compromise and then - peace. It is a long process, it doesn't happen immediately, and people need to realize that until you get there, it is about more than repeating the word "peace" and "love" lots of times. It is, in fact, more about strategy, planning, practicalities and nuances. That is, if your aim is actually to get anywhere, namely to peace, and not just give lip service or feel good about your self because you 'believe in peace'.

Reality is not pretty. It is harsh. Saying that peace should be unconditional is a lovely idea - but it is highly disconnected from reality. In reality, for people who have been in conflict for many years, the road to peace is a lot less easy. It is paved with scars and fear and pride and the need to feel that their rights and safety are guaranteed. It is not a choice, it is psychology. They can't widely accept peace at ANY cost. So, what would be the practicality of bringing them around to make peace? forcing them into a generalized view of the term 'peace', or working with them and their needs?

Now, I didn't come here to be sweet, or get sympathy, or get people to like me. I came here because I thought this was a platform for a mature, informed, educated exchange of opinions. I once led such an exchange of opinions in my old blog, Joint Voices, that I ran with Bashir from Beirut during the Lebanon War. Please feel free to look. We each held on to our own opposing views, but discussed them logically, and ended up not with someone changing their opinion, but with a friend. We, between the both of us, achieved peace (so I actually have proof of how this does work). The main success came, I think, from the fact that we talked to the point. No pussyfooting. No censorship around the tough issues.

I thought this was a place like that too. Alas, I find, that most people here are, in fact, mainly interested in making peace only with themselves, nodding and tsking to each other and reassuring each other that they are peaceful beings. So I fear this isn't the place for me. It's, sadly, rather pointless. With the exception of a few friends I made, like David and Ruach and Mohamad Sh., most of you aren't really interested in real dialog, but rather dialog between the like minded. How unfortunate that you fail to see that the only way to peace is dialog and friendship with those you DISAGREE with.

And so, David, in response to your question, I don't think I'll be staying. While I believe in sensitivity, I disagree with being 'extra sensitive'. I don't believe in hushing my opinions just because someone else thinks otherwise. I never cursed or insulted anyone, I just had a different opinion, and that is perfectally legitimate by any liberal, democratic criteria (free speech ahm ahm).With people who don't get that, there's no point in attempting a real dialog.

David, I thank you for the opportunity to speak. I have nothing but highest respect for you and what you're trying to do with this venture here. It's been really great to make friends with you, you're an amazing person.
Also, to all those good souls who made friends with me, a great big thanks, love and respect. It's been awsome. Keep up the friendships.

As for the rest of you, here's sad part, the big reality check. What I wrote in that post really wasn't extreme at all. I represent the opinions of what is known as the 'sane middle/left wing' in Israel. These are the opinions of the majority, they are even a little more to the right. If you are unable to bring yourself to converse with me and accept me, this means you are living in a bubble, blocking out the majority of Israelis and cancelling out any hope of conversation - and these are the people who hold the power, from this side anyway, to materialize peace. No dialog with the likes of me, means no dialog at all - and without dialog, correct me if I'm wrong, no possibility for peace.

Good luck everyone.

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Comment by Anders Abrahamsson on January 14, 2009 at 11:35pm
Yes, of course, beyond what really is beyond the T&C's. But better to find a solution than to remove a blog posting that was not violent - can't you remove single comments as a site admin, if they break T&C's?

Comment by David Califa on January 14, 2009 at 4:34pm
Here you are wrong. Anders. we will continue to remove any content which is hateful, abusive and inciting for violence. Some people mistake iPeace for something else.

Comment by Anders Abrahamsson on January 14, 2009 at 2:33pm

Lessons learnt;
Don't delete any content of whatever reasons. It's a violation of the community spirit here. Deletion is an act of violence.

iPeace works mostly as a retreat to air out a lot of frustration and/or a way to share realistic optimism and encourage each other, and not so much towards concretion of peace-in-practice as I've hoped for. I. e. a bias towards emotional needs than the analytical/rational part of us. We are all - we are a whole (emotional, analytical/intellectual/rational, spiritual, mental, physical) - and all needs to be balanced to create a whole in our common Peace aspirations. So - even with the ugliest of faces and feelings showing up, let it get out here, instead of blood on the streets. Anger is as natural as Hunger (both ends in -ger, right?), but I think it was Gandhi saying 'Where Reason End, Violence Begins'.

I rest on the case related to issues in the issue in itself for the time being, I think I made my general opinion aired when I posted "Coexist!?".

Comment by myron joshua on January 13, 2009 at 12:28pm
Christine..i am afraid that rejecting each others "right to exist" is mutual in our area. Israel, who originally accepted the two state solution in 1948, has moved into a stance of rejectionism- which was once the "monopoly" of the Arab states.

I think that in Israel the forces working in the direction of recognizing Palestinian national rights have gained ground. What was once fringe has become an influential voice.

PS. Palestine was the name of the country before Palestinian nationalism existed. It did not get its name from the Palestinian people..but from the ancient Phillistin invader. It is true that many Palestinian nationists see all ancient inhabitants of this land, Canaanite, etc. as their precursors.
Comment by Christine Quelch on January 13, 2009 at 12:11pm
Lilu, you said:
'isn't the truth what we are pushing for?' (Para 2)

It is peace that we are here to talk about. A peace deal is a peace deal. Like all deals it needs to suit both sides, that is all. Israel mostly talks about everything but peace, which leaves everyone wondering how much Israelis want peace. Israel’s biggest mantra ‘Israel has a right to defend itself’ is always a justification for attacking their neighbours, who are angry about the land Israel took by the forceful use of violence. If you wanted peace, that is what you would talk about, not your entitlement to ‘defend’ yourselves, whilst attacking others on their land.

Lilu, you said:
You need to understand how to talk to us otherwise we wont listen. (Para 5)

This is fine, if this is the way you want to conduct dialogue, BUT you will have to accord the same consideration to Palestinians as you have accorded yourself. This means you must understand how to talk with Palestinians otherwise, according to your values, you can assume they may choose to not listen. Otherwise you are asking for a privilege you are not willing to extend to others.

THE RIGHT OF RETURN: If it is the right of any Israeli from anywhere in the world to take out full citizenship in the land once called Palestine, then equally, it is the right of every Palestinian family who once lived in the same area to also return. If financial compensation is to be ethical, it must be an optional alternative. Do you have any idea of what the cost of fair compensation would be? Do you have any idea of how many could claim this compensation ? Israel has taken the land that belonged to these Palestinians, so it is Israelis who would be paying for this compensation. No one else has benefited from the colonization of Palestine. Each country pays its own compensation for the displacement and theft of land from native peoples.

Lilu, you said:
‘This place is a reflection of the outside world’
There is no other country that is even vaguely like Israel. No other country occupies its neighbours land in order to live at ‘peace’ with its neighbours. Israel has had problems with every one of its neighbours in the last 60 years. Show me any other country that is in as big a mess as Israel is militarily.

Remember, most of Palestine is now in Israeli hands. Palestinians are locked into very small pockets of land, and never allowed to travel beyond the borders of these tiny bits of land. No wonder they are very angry. On top of this, you now find it necessary to bomb them. This is a recipe for some extremely bad behaviour.
Comment by rachel delatour on January 13, 2009 at 10:50am
Dear Lilu

I am far from the action in your country however my heart goes out to those people who have known nothing but conflict and unrest for generations. I agree with some points you make that the way to peace in a long process and that psychology plays an important part. I think also that maybe you are walking away from ipeace and the challenges it presents because maybe its in the "too hard basket"" for you rto contemplate and to maintain communications. You make the assertion that most of the people on I-peace are those New age types floating around in a daydream of the psychadelic era of the ""MaKe love not war"" mentality of the late 1960's. This is far from the truth yet I feel just as important. As a global entity, as a global force, we can bring greater awareness and have some impact and a voice that matters. People matter, life matters and peace is found in the heart. If one does not have peace in the heart how can we possibly find peace in the home and in the domestic environment. People search for peace on the inside does reflect to the outside. War is confusion, and amoungst such confusion there is a united front, that is spiritual, that does make people feel goodness in their hearts even when around them is violence and sufferring at the hands of man. I guarantee if women were making the decisions in politics there would be more of a focus on family, on home, health, education, human rights and we would be the nurturers of life. A critical mass of people all wanting peace can affect change, We, the consumer can have an impact, can have a voice. Yes, I aggree there are deep seated resentments, hurts, and pain, does this give one justifucation to continue to fight, to continue to battle amidst ones brothers and sisters. Not only are the consequenses a result of our beleif systems, when these beleif systems are challenged, when the people in the positions of heiracrchy are questioned, if there is not proper management in place that will guide the way towards peace, a transition panel of experts who share the same common purpose and who are in a NEUTRAL position, one that works at all levels, that recognises the needs and the voices of all, we cannot even begin to think of Peace because it will only be KAOS, and Kaos is what the world has seen for far too long, there have been unfair systems and unfair governments,different factions merge into their own for thinking the governments have failed them and to a great extent the governments have failed their people, but until the warring factions of this world begin to share a COMMON belief in the Possibility of peace, rather than promoting fear and military might, the possibility of thinking of peace and being motivated by PEACE rather than flashing the military might to boast supremeacy, whilst man seeks to build more weapons and enforce military action, I see this as a Gross sign of Insecurity, because when we are seen to Be of No threat, that is a valuable lesson in humility, ( this was from Nelson mandela;s interview), its like Penis envy with men ( if I am allowed to use this analogy), Peace is possible and there are nations that survive with NO military, countries like Luxemburg, some islands in the pacific.. If I see early ancient maps of BABYLON the promised land, babylon is huge, there are no borders, no territorial disputes, is it any wonder Israel that has been attacked from all fronts is responding the only way it has known how, in self defense, they say in international law that the only way a country can attack another is in Self defence , to me , I dont see how that is a Just war, how any war can be called a JUST war... what we are seeing are the symptoms of a far greater cause, when we begin to identify the CAUSES, and I am currently researching, because when we can begin to identify each sides requirements through communication and proper dialogue with expert panel of those who can oversea such a massive project, maybe the people might begin to actually beleive in Peace, because thats why we are here a global force for peace, who all have far reaching connections and we can affect change. we can be a movement for change and we can promote peace as we are doing.
This is not "too hard to a concept to accept, man firstly has to acknowledge the the cost of WAR is too great, that the benefits of WAR are not acceptable, basically for genrations, war has only cost human life and caused far too much sufferring and hardship, IN Los Angeles there is the Museum of Tolerance, that is healing for the victims of the holocaust, I remember when youth from israel visited Germany in an effort to begin to heal the pain and they also stayed with German families who basically inherited the pain of the past, someone once said to me , "if we live in the past we are living with GUILT, if we live in the future we are living with FEAR, so live in the Now and your life will change as you do, "" this is a truth, and as we all seek for our own personal truth, maybe these words can help. If the world begins to acknowledge the past, ( Yes man is guilty of a great many things), and No we do wish to live in fear, so maybe NOW, is what has to happen, a collective force of like minded individuals, all who can IMPACT and affect change, the governments have to work with the People of the earth for Peace, one person, one village, one state, one nation at a time, one country. In the near to distance future Id like to see nations burying their weopons, manufacturing music Not weapons and peace and properity to all. There is a lot of work to be done, and in seeking to understand the other side one has to know their story, and one has to begin to learn to forgive, and think peace and healing no matter how hard that may appear. I am a radical revolutionary and beleive me, there is a spiritual peace that each and every one can find in their heart, even in midst of war and conflict, there are billions of us all wanting peace and love and good will to all,
before I forget, getting back to the psychology aspect, the human being first instint in survival when under attack is Fight or flight, you are just running and maybe not willing to beleive Yourself in what is INDEED beleiable. I have worked with the Harvard Negotiation project and consulted with Governments and I continue to do what I can for Peace, it is an emotional decision, that is Jimmy Carter former US president when negotiating PEACE struct up the conversation to be around the warring leaders, around their ""Grandchildren""
life is precious and parents and grandparents all love their children, we as citizens of the earth are all children of the earth, so we must protect,
I hope and I pray every day and I am proof that miracles exist, Iwouldnt be walking otherwise,
have faith and begin to imagine in Peace, it is beleivable, it is achievable,
It sounds like you are also a campaigner, and you must continue to work towards peace and tolerance, for me it is my calling.. I had a spiritual experience that was so powerful, I know I am guided and may the walls be broken down in your countries so this dream may begin to manifest itself in all that it should be , from the very deepest underground corners of the globe to highest of the high, no more fighting over religion or historical wrongs, if we beleive in the one common cause, and the greater good, the one god, the one creator over and above all else, that puts the good and benefit of HUMANKIND first, then surely that can be a common vision, a common goal, and these steps may occur, with confidence and belief, I cant type much, absolute agony from typing this, so have to go, now, may this all happen with the greatest strength and confidence and powers that be, and for one and for all may the people begin to beleive, focus on the strengths and opportunities ofpeace, my god, the holy land, has such potential in tourism, where are the Kibbutzim now, there is a church in jerusalenm that has 4 different religions practice there, they dont fight each other, they share the space, so can we, people are people and it is out innate desire give and receive love, that is our true selves,
I must go now, love, love, love, IS the way ...
Rachel deLatour
Comment by General Mojo on January 13, 2009 at 10:39am
Dear Lilu,
I've been trying to find your blogpost (that I now know was removed), and when I couldn't find it, read some more of your blogs , and thought they are honest, courageous and of positive intentions.
I totally agree with what you say in this new post: that peace is made by exchange of opinions between people who disagree. I'm glad you're willing to talk and listen, it shows your peaceful intentions. I get bothered most by people who think they 'know it all' and don't listen to others anymore
I get disgusted by all the mindless hate, although I understand the sometimes justified anger of people caught up in situations caused by others. For me its clear that you are not a hater like some of the people I saw demonstrating 'for peace' on the streets of my country the Netherlands, where the Palestinians and israelis even had TWO demonstrations both demanding the same thing: stop the violence. But on each 'side' they seem to mean only 'the others violence' to stop. It made me sick!
I don't wanna walk protesting next to guys who say that Israel should be 'erased', and I saw the same fanatism in the 'other' demonstration too.You know, the guys that think 'many eyes for one eye' is their god- given right. I'd rather protest with 'saner' people, like you for instance, and some other people here on iPeace. I'm not pro Israel or pro Palestine blindly, it's the actions and intentions of people that matter! I do think that the rhethorics I keep hearing these days are disgusting. Each time I hear people talk about only the other side committing 'massacres', or use words like 'nazis', or a word like 'holocaust' too easy ,(i'm not criticizing your reference to it by the way, since it refers to family and history , but when people call present day violence holocausts I think it offends every victim of the past, today and tomorrow. ) I'm glad to find out that you realized that calling Hamas nazis is not 'appropiate', although I agree with you their 'fighting'methods and rhethorics are often disgusting, as is , in my opinion' the out of proportion response from the Israeli governement. As a result, I don't trust the intentions and agendas of the leaderships on BOTH sides ,and I think the only chance of peace might come from ordinary people saying ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
I agree with you its easy for me to say living far away, as I read in one of your blogs I think, and that this thing should be solved by the people directly involved. But I also think that this conflict with all its religious or otherwise righteous fanatism is a threat to the whole world. !!! With all the Islamist fundamentalist fanatics and Israeli machos who (according to the USA) wanted to even nuke Iran now the whole world is becoming unsafer by the minute. All the emotions and mindlessness are making this craziness 'contageous', and that would probably only make a 'nazi ' happy,I think, now i use the word myself, sadly , as a metaphore for people with no respect for human life. Enough , I say, but what can I do? Stop buying products from both countries until they sit down and start talking like adults? That will only hurt the poorest a little more. What can we do to help, and what can we do to prevent this conflict from escalating even more and set the whole world on fire like some fanatics seem to hope?I don't know, its hard to find anything positive to do, that's why I turn to places where I hear 'another sound', like this site for instance. If it doesn't help bringing about peace soon , at least it helps keeping me sane hopefully. With you I hope we see more genuine debate here, or at least the beginnings of a real
discussion between those who disagree. So. respect, lady, keep on blogging, be safe, i hope to read more from you for as long as it's needed
Comment by Lilu on January 12, 2009 at 2:18pm
To Christine - again, it's the fine print. I never called and don't believe in calling anyone a Nazi, simply because that is factually incorrect unless you are in fact a card carrying member of the Nazi Party. As far as I know that party doesn't actually exist anymore.

What I did is point out historical facts we all know about the conduct, the political situation, all sorts of aspects recorded in history about the Nazi party. I then proceeded to point our similar things existing today. This, I think, is valid and important, to be practiced by everyone. I believe the following and power the Nazis had did not come as a fluke. I don't think it is possible for so many people to be pure psycopaths. Most were human beings (well, except a few like Adolf and Gebbels and so) in a certain set of circumstances, not a one time freak occurence, therefore can happen again. We can use what happened then as warning signs, for early detection of the same thing. Maybe if people had paid more attention back then to the rise of blatant anti-semite propaganda in German culture (books, caricatures, etc.), the scale of the disaster could have diminished. For that very reason we should keep watching out for present day similiarities.

The word Nazi should be banned as a description, but not banned from discussions. The Holocaust disaster should be discussed and analyzed widely, so we can be better in the present and the future. To strengthen my point, I am very much against the extremism of the jewish settlers in the west bank (actually settlements in general). The dehumanization of Palestinians, the violence and degretory acts they committ like constantly harrassing Palestinians and raiding their olive trees, etc., all these are to me a grave warning sign of big danger. If genocide could come from anywhere within Israeli society today, it could come from there, for these very reasons - people like Noam Federman and Baruch Marzel display in my eyes the characteristics of racist agenda similiar to that of the Nazi party, and that is extremely dangerous. It also shows to me how much what happened in the Holocaust comes from sociology and psychology, not fate. I am greatly fearing the rise of the extreme right here in Israel, the election of Netanyahu for Prime Minister and the possible implications on the Knesset.
In the same way, I look at Hamas. The anti-Israeli kids shows like Farfur the mouse are a shocking display of racist agenda, similar in method and concept to that of the Nazi party. This is chilling, and must be addressed.

Emotions, being emotional, I understand that, but to me that is not an excuse. I accept that people in Sderot are emotional about Arabs because of the situation, but we mustn't accept anti-semitism (towards palestinians and arabs) from them. If it emerges, we must battle it, and the same for Palestinians. But we should let it emerge, not have it restrained; if it's there, we must root it out. In Germany too, it began with dissatisfied, disappointed human beings, caught in suffering - financially and so forth. It was a breeding ground for the extremism. There is a very fine line between being disgruntled and getting violent, and we should pay great attention to it. That's why I don't think that extreme responses should be deleted; to put a tape on someone's mouth is just cosmetics, it doesn't solve the problem, and we should all be made aware that these things exist, we should see them for ourselves.

When I point out similarities between the way Hamas operated and the way Nazis operated, it's not as a mean of being negative about the Palestinians. Quite the contrary, I'm trying to show they are not monsters but human beings that can fall easily towards extremism, as can anyone; what we should be doing is working to prevent them from crossing that fine line.
Comment by Lilu on January 12, 2009 at 1:29pm
Wow! ok.

Well, first of all, I'm happy to see this discussion here. I think I will stay after all, I was waiting to see what comments the post would get to determine whether to go or not, and the mature discussion that has arisen restored my faith in the iPeace population. Good on ya, all.. :)

Now for a few other things. I'm sure my post was deleted due to the comments I got and not due to the content; but with this, like others have said, I disagree. Really, isn't the truth what we'll pushing for? isn't the truth the only way we can really progress to peace? well, the truth is sometimes ugly. And part of the truth is that some people are violent verbally and physically, some people are racist, some people hate. We shouldn't try to overlook it or ignore it or hide it, we should confront it head on and address it. It is part of the picture whether we like it or not, and it is a factor of the process towards peace. Me, I can handle these things; maybe the biggest mistake we make is waving these bursts of extremity off. They could be the underlying layer that is the biggest obstacle to peace, so I believe in taking them on - countering words with words, information with information. Maybe, to really get at peace, these are the people we should be focusing on reaching and talking to, and not our fellow level heads? it's that kind of extreme talk that breeds the misunderstanding and hate leading to extreme actions and violence.

I totally understand where the hate towards Israel comes from. It comes from the same place that the hate towards Palestinians comes from - each side having only a very bad experience from the other. It is because of the lack of real communication between the majorities, that this grows, and extremism sets in instead. Extremism then brings war. For example, you will find that Israelis who have contact with moderate Palestinians are far more likely to really ache for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza (regardless of whether they support the war or not). This can turn to public pressure to stop the war, which can lead to the actual end of the war.

A lot of people don't udnerstand where the power to change things really lies. It lies in the hands of the civilian population. The government, it acts according to what it thinks the people want (cause really they only care about getting voted into power again). The public supported the war in Lebanon for a very short time, people realized very quickly that it was an unneccesary failure. It became common knowledge by its second week, that people are unsupportive. Unfortunately, and to our disappointment, the government took too long seeing only its own political interests rather than the public's view - what led, eventually, to massive demonstrations calling for Olmert to resign; what led to the Winograd Committee, and ultimately contributed to Olmert's resignation. It came from the public. So if you are going after peace, these are the people to talk to. I imagine you all agree with that.

And now the big issue - HOW do you talk to them? I think that is were there is a big miss. A lot of people, I see it here, believe that the key is trying to convince us that they know what's right, and to get us to see things how they see it. Unfortunately, how you they see it is missing the element of how it looks from our eyes. Neither is a 360 degress view. And it looks different. That it the problem, that puts the obstacle in the dialog. One needs to understand who the other side and what is their perspective, and include it in their own vision, when both sides are talking, so both will listen. It's a sociological thing, a psychological thing, you need to understand how to talk to us otherwise we wont listen.

So Michael and Moustafa for example, they present that the solution for peace is Israel providing the Right of Return. The problem in that solution is that it is completely ignores the Israeli side. If you say that to the common Israeli, he wouldn't accept it, he'll ask, but what about me? what do I get? and what do you answer, you are not the issue? you don't matter? there is no way anyone would accept that, is there. Let's be realistic. And so, the conversation and dialog is blown out of the water. Gone.

See, this is why alot of what is happening here for example, cannot work. This place is a reflection of the outside world. And too many people are focusing on one sided call for action, a bias. This is bound to fail, because the situation is not comprised of one side. The conflict in the Middle East is comprised of several parties. The real solution will have to address them all, so any real talk about any aspect of the region must always include an address of everyone. It is quite clear to all of you the solution to the suffering in Gaza - halt all action. But how is that a solution to the suffering in Sderot? at the time of the cease fire, when there weren't Israeli troops in Gaza and bombardement, they were being attacked on a weekly basis. So you can't tell them cease fire is a solution, obviously, for them, it doesn't work. What do you offer them then? you can't ignore them. You can't tell them they don't matter. So then, alas, you must start seeing a bigger picture. The two are always linked, whether you like it or not. Can't talk about one without the other. That is the reality of the situation.

Much in the same way that the end of the war cannot be addressed only with regard to the Palestinians and not the Israelis, the wide concept of peace in the region cannot be addressed only with regard to the end of the current bloodshed and not the future as well. It is like what Myron said here.
I'm trying to explain that this is the mistake a lot of you are making. The conversation is too one sided. The call for action is too one sided. For every sentence you write about the people of Gaza, you should write a sentence for the people of the Negev. For every sentence about a solution to the Palestinians, you should write a sentence about a solution to the Israelis. Otherwise, your effort for an end to the violence is bound to fail. You can't fix real situations by filtering reality.

Also, you can't fix situations by focusing on the past (Moustafa and Michael..). Solutions regarding the past were valid in the past. We are living in the present, things have changed. If we are to end the violence in the present, we must address the issues that are real in the present. In the present, the Right of Return is impossible to achieve. The Israeli people currently living and existing here will not have it, for good reason. It represents a threat to them. You can put your foot down and scream about it all you want, wont get you anywhere. The same as demanding the Israelis pack up and go, like Hamas ultimately wishes. It is an invalid solution, it would never happen. The reality now is that there are people here, you can't make them leave voluntarily, you can only force them to go, with violence. (Most of you are against violence, so I gather.) If you wanna get anywhere, you must seek the solution elsewhere, preferably, somewhere in the middle that addresses the rights of both sides - like financial compensation in place of the Right to Return. It's painful yet hopeful for both sides, and that makes it alot more likely to happen.

You know, unless you get your head out of the past and into the present, you wont progress. Pardon my repeating comparisons to WWII, but it's like these people that refuse to go to Germany today, or are hateful of Germans, because of the Holocaust. To me, this is ridiculous. What was then was then, you shouldn't and can't hold today's generation accountable for the actions 3 generations ago. A few years ago, in a hostel in Brazil, I found myself conversing with a nice young German. Turned out his grandfather was in the SS, while I am the granddaughter of holocaust survivors. We reflected on that momentarily, but really, it was irrelevent to the connection we made. He had nothing to apologise for and I had no expectation from him to do so. If I had, we wouldn't have been able to talk, and both would be miserable. We were in the present, the past was the past, going back to fix the past is impossible now - and staying stuck there isn't getting anyone anywhere.

I say all this not only because I believe it to be true. I say it also in order to give you an insight to how the majority of us in Israel think, as my opinion is a reflection of it, and then you will know how to better address us in order to reach us. Forcing a pro-Palestinian opinion down our throats simply will not get you anywhere. You can be pro-Palestinians and pro-Israeli at the same time, a lot of people seem to miss that part.
Comment by Christine Quelch on January 12, 2009 at 11:26am
Lilu, there is a very fine line between saying you never said Hamas were Nazis, and saying there are similarities that need to be pointed out. Is it appropriate for an Israeli (or any other individual) to make any suggestions about who might be a Nazi, given how badly many Israelis react if the term is applied to them ? I think it may be appropriate to ban the word ‘Nazi’ as a descriptive term on ipeace.

Having seen the way some of these arguments go, I would like to suggest it was probably a good idea to delete the discussion, otherwise you end up with a situation where it is people being banned. These decisions have to be made very quickly. David is the umpire, and we all know umpires cannot see round every corner.

Extremists: if you have noticed there are some extremists here, the thing to remember is, they will see you as equally extreme as you see them. When you meet to discuss peace, it is not for the purpose of transforming the other, but to transform yourself. The ‘other’ will take responsibility for transforming itself, otherwise, there will be no progress at all.

There are 2 peace camps here on ipeace – those who are interested in inner peace, and those who want political peace – you would do well to not mix them up. The concepts and values are very different.

What we need here is everyone’s thoughts on whether the word ‘Nazi’ should be used to describe any organization or individual on ipeace.

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