Sunday, December 27, 2009

Principles that should guide Palestinian and Israeli Peace

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These are some principles I have fashioned that I hope will become the basis for establishment of Yalla Peace Parties throughout the world to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

1-We can disagree about the past with passion and emotion and still come together for a great future together. We do not have to deny each other's narratives about the past, or challenge them, on order to agree on a mutual future of peace and compromise. This is the first step. Stop using the past as a bludgeon to attack the other side, while closing a blind eye to similar conduct among our own peoples.
2-We apply one principle of fairness, justice, morality to achieve compromise looking within ourselves to find and correct the fault. Israelis must be able to denounce the killing of Palestinians before they can denounce the killing of Israelis. Palestinians must be able to denounce the killing of Israelis before they can denounce the killings of Palestinians.

3-We resist the temptation to blame people for the actions of individuals, and resist the temptation to respond in anger and in kind. This is not about people but rather about politics and government policies that have gone wrong and feed on the suffering, tragedy and confusion of our peoples.

4-We set aside the old paradym of Israelis versus Palestinians and instead define our movement as moderates versus extremists. We use the M Word proudly and reject those who seek to deny it as a means of distracting eyes from their own extremist ways and views.

5-We embrace two-states, Israel and Palestine, and deal with the issues after we achieve a real peace and two states. We create two states on the basis of the bigger principle and later negotiate the final borders, the sharing of Jerusalem, compensation and resettlement of the Palestinian refugees, the dismantling of which specific settlements, the swap of land, etc. Create two states so that Israel and Palestine become equal partners at the negotiating table rather that seeking to achieve the unachievable through an imbalance with Israel as the subjugator and Palestine as the subjugated.

6-We strive to see the bigger picture and not get drawn in to the battle over the "pebble." We see that peace based on compromise is the answer to past violence and terrorism. We don't allow one disagreement to discourage us from seeking the bigger agreement of peace.

7-We resist the rhetoric of hatred. We stop stereotyping Israelis and Palestinians. We reject hate speech, denial of the suffering of others. Palestinians must stop enabling or advocating Holocaust revisionism or questioning the Holocaust. israelis must stop questioning the existence of Palestinians or the facts that they lost many homes and lands as civilians in the 1947-48 war.

8-We view criminal acts (violence, terrorism, all acts of physical injury) not as the consequences of a people but rather as the result of individual conduct. Terrorism and violence must be treated as criminal acts not an excuse to persecute or demonize any other people.

9-We do not allow violence and terrorism to derail compromise and recognize that the more successful we become in reaching peace based on compromise and two-states, the extremists will push harder until it is too late with more violence, and violence of the most despicable kind including suicide bombings and military massacres.

10-We view violence of the past in its context not as a means of defining the future. The massacres in the Gaza Strip are horrendous but the answer is not to respond with violence, but rather to build peace to prevent future events from re-occurring. The same with violence against Israelis. We treat them as horrific incidents, not blanket condemnation of an entire people.

11-We stop blaming others and begin to address the challenges among ourselves. Palestinians stop blaming Israelis and Israelis stop blaming Palestinians. Instead, Palestinians look into themselves and identify their errors, mistakes, misconduct and change them. Israelis look into themselves and identify their errors, mistakes, misconduct and change them.

12-We accept that Peace is the answer and that both sides have injured each other.

-- Ray Hanania

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