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I Have Read This Through
Yes, Was Interested 42%
No, Wasn't Interested Enough 57%

Votes: 7

 Nurturing Healthy Palestinian and Israeli Senses of National Identity

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Nov 29, 2001
The path to peace lies in accepting and working with the uncomfortable truths about oneself for all people.

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In terms of an agreement, my basic taking off point is the Gush-Shalom outline as I understand it. No need to rehash its details for this audience. It can be seen here for reference.

What I am writing about here are the more subtle aspects of putting an end to war that cannot be fully controlled and prescribed by top-down diplomatic agreements between states or even by creating committees to develop standardized joint cirriculum to teach about the Zionism vs. Palestine conflict in schools at some hypothetical wonderful future point in time when the current nightmare will be over. The roots of the ongoing war extend into the understanding of each individual person of what the story of their nation is about.

Equally important to territorial and security arrangements, there has to be more personal agreements and committments on how to speak more civilly about one another so as not to inflame and incite fresh acts of violence from one side or the other. The national sense of identity of the Palestinian as one that defines itself mainly by its "liberation struggle in opposition to the Zionist/Nazi occupation forces" through brave military sacrifice is a self-concept that will lead to further clashes and bloodshed and more war after the agreements are reached, aside from making discussions exceedingly difficult to conduct in the present.

In parallel, the "racist" sense of self of Zionism which sees Jewish suffering as more valid than Palestinian suffering and relies upon labelling its intellectual critics "moral relativists" has got to be decisively overcome if Jews are to learn to treat Arabs with the respect as equals we theoretically have in our laws, if not in our practices. This is a pragmatic functional issue of the changes people need to have in their hearts and minds in order for true peace to take root and grow. If you still must insist on thinking in terms of some form of us versus them zero-sum "morality" you will always be left with a war to fight.

Language and feelings and ideas kill and encourage killing just as much as bullets do. Palestinians and Israelis have to personally and individually be made aware of this. The conflict is deeper than just diplomacy and land for peace deals. The conflict is a clash of two opposing overwhelmingly proud and brave national mythologies.

Alas, the Palestinian sense of national identity is largely to be achieved through the idea of valiant victory in the armed struggle against "Zionist racism". There is no choice for us Jews than to recognize this Palestinian point of view as their own right to self-definition. For us to make peace lasting with them, to some extent we will have to find a way to compromise and internally accomodate this very uncompromisingly hideous view they have of us within our own framework of self-definition. There is no alternative but to intellectually even now work toward a common definition of history together.

This is an extremely angry and internally divisive task for Zionist Jews worldwide of course. The front line of this Jewish civil war is the Gush Emunim movement in the "territories". Unless the people of Israel can be made to understand the important readiness for peace signal that could be sent to the Palestinians by renouncing and removing Gush Emunim from "Yesha", and publicly renouncing the concept of "Yesha", the necessary hard work of Jews coming to terms with their own internal unwillingness for peace will still lie in the future.


A heathly sense of Israeli national identity... (none / 0) (#1)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Nov 29th, 2001 at 09:39:27 AM PST
... doesn't seem to exist. "Healthy" includes illegal occupation, and brutal execution, in foreign territories, under the guise of "great justice". Not to mention using events in the early 20th centure as a carte blanche to whatever activities seem convienent at the time.

Stop the settlers (5.00 / 1) (#2)
by Hagbard Celine on Thu Nov 29th, 2001 at 09:55:53 AM PST
Interesting idea. However, just because each side must come to grips with it's black/white worldview, there are practical things that must happen. I wanted to read the Gush-Shalom outline, but your link was dead. I'm not anti-semitic but at this point I side solidly with the Palestinians. Daily life in Palestine is an impossible thing for those of us living in the U.S. to imagine. Imagine being unable to go to work because the army (of another people) won't let you through a checkpoint.

Imagine seeing an old man die of a heart attack because they wouldn't let his ambulance through.

The Palestinian people live with armed occupation in their towns or just outside their towns everyday. Children who throw rocks at soliders are shot. The fact that a hard liner such as Ariel Sharon is the Prime Minister makes it even worse.

Though it's not acknowledged much here, Sharon was the Israeli officer responsible for the massacres at the Sabra(sp?) refugee camps. True, he didn't pull the trigger, but he let those who did in. They couldn't have gotten in without his approval.

For the PLO official version of news , look here.

Also, it's hard for Americans to get balanced coverage because of the intense jewish lobby here in the United States. Support the Palestinians and many people brand you a anti-semitic bigot instantly without even thinking about what you've said. Newspapers in this country have accused each other of bias (wish I could find the damn link) in descriptions of Palestinian and Israeli deaths. It goes both ways.

However, the one thing that must stop is the bulldozing of Palestinian homes (usually in the middle of the night when the families are still sleeping) and erecting Israeli homes. How can anyone expect the Palestinians to react in any other way than violence? I've rambled too long PFFFFFFFFTTTTTT

you sir (0.00 / 1) (#3)
by nathan on Thu Nov 29th, 2001 at 01:33:03 PM PST
are a knob.

"jewish lobby" (lower case sic.) You can just go ahead and eat my ass.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

I agree with you but I feel responsibility to help (none / 0) (#5)
by Inden on Thu Nov 29th, 2001 at 08:25:40 PM PST
I was raised to believe in Israel's survival but I am so ashamed and miserable to see what they do "in my name" as it were. I write this and do activist organizing because I feel responsible and want to make the world better somehow.

Gush Shalom Link (none / 0) (#4)
by Inden on Thu Nov 29th, 2001 at 08:23:16 PM PST
Try this.

Here it is spelled out too:


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