Peace

“There will be no peace until they love their children more than they hate us” ~Golda Meir

A friend recently said he liked Miss Meir because of this quote.  When I read it, I had the opposite reaction – I cringed on the inside and my heart broke just a little bit more.  Let’s discuss!

The History
Let’s start out with a short history lesson about Israel.  Israel – the modern country – was created in 1948 after the Israeli-Arab Conflict.  This resulted in many hundreds of thousands of Arabs being forcibly removed from the only homes they had ever known and their land and livelihoods given to Zionists.  Unfortunately for everyone, the conflict didn’t stop in 1948.  Arabs wanted their land back and the Zionists wanted more of the land the Arabs had so in 1967 there was another “conflict.”  Once again, Israel took the offensive position and removed Arabs from their homes and lands with force and took control of all of the area known as Judea and Samaria (to the Zionists) or Palestine (to the Arabs).  This land became known as the Occupied Territories and is still under Israeli control today.  The Arabs living in the Occupied Territories, or West Bank, are treated poorly on a daily basis.  To many in Israel, the West Bank Palestinians are subhuman.  This conflict will continue as long as the Zionists refuse to see their role in the action.

The Woman
Golda Mabovitch was born May 3, 1898 in Kiev to Ukrainian parents.  In 1906, Golda and her family moved to the United States.  At the age of 14, Golda moved to Denver, Colorado in rebellion against her mother’s desire for her to quit school and marry.  In Denver, Golda lived with her married sister and was exposed to intellectual debates on many things, but most importantly Zionism.  At the age of 19, she married Morris Meyerson on December 24, 1917.  In 1916 and 1917, Golda came into close contact with the ideals of Labor Zionism.  In 1921, Golda and Morris left the United States and joined a kibbutz in Palestine.

In 1924, Morris and Golda left the kibbutz and eventually settled in Jerusalem.  There they had two children (a third was aborted while still in the US).  Golda began her political career as a member of the Working Women’s Council.  Golda and Morris would grow apart but never divorce.  Morris died in 1951.  Golda would spend the rest of her life in the political world.  She was the Ambassador to Moscow and was issued the first Israeli passport for this position.  In 1949, Golda became the Labour Minister.  In 1956, she became the Foreign Minister and shortened her last name to Meir.  In January 1966, Golda retired from the Foreign Ministry because she was diagnosed with lymphoma.  However, on March 17, 1969, Golda came out of retirement to replace Prime Minister Levi Eshkol who had died suddenly.  She had been voted his successor by the Knesset.  She became the first female Prime Minister of Israel (the 4th PM in Israel’s history).  She united divisions within the Knesset and Israel’s politics.  She traveled the world to promote her peace ideas.  She was in power when the Yom Kippur War took place.  After this war, the Israeli government under Golda became plagued with in-fighting and questions of the leadership.  Golda resigned on April 11, 1974.

Her autobiography was published in 1975.  Golda Meir died of lymphatic cancer on December 8, 1978.  She was buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on December 12, 1978.

The People
Zionism is a (in my opinion and definition of the term) a terrorist organization and movement bent on the destruction of peace for the fulfillment of power and the idea of security.  Zionism’s broadest definition is the support and promotion of Jewish self-determination for a sovereign Jewish homeland.  They take it much farther than that by making that homeland exclusively found in Palestine – a land said to be without people (even though Arabs had been living there for generations).  They continue their ideology to include removing all Arabs from the land they possess so that Jews can take it over.  When they received the land now known as Israel, they decided that it was not sufficient and have continued to fight and destroy and manipulate in order to expand their borders.  They use the Torah to justify their actions and they blame everything on the Palestinians.

The Quote
This quote is no exception to that.  Golda is implying that peace would come to the Holy Land if and only if the Palestinians (and other surrounding Arabs) could see that their priorities are out of place.  If the Palestinians, Golda implies, could understand love more than hate then peace would be upon us.  It’s as if she’s saying, “See, we do what we do because of the evil and hatred around us.  It isn’t our fault.”  This frustrates me because in most cases (not all) it has been Israel who had the power, the might, the weaponry, and the opportunities to stop the violence.

The Conclusion
Everyone has the opportunity for greatness and I will not sit back and say that Golda Meir was great.  But she was small sighted.  She did not see the bigger picture of her actions, thoughts, and statements.  She had opportunity for much more than just greatness.  We need to stand up and fight for justice and peace, but not at the expense of others.  No one deserves to be punished for the sins of another and no one deserves to be treated as subhuman.  Golda should have sought to understand the Palestinian instead of just passing judgment on them.  I do not support Zionism or any of its ideals and one of the most important reasons for that is the ideology behind this Golda Meir quote and others just like it.

Peace Now – Palestine Forever!

A Walk

I think the first thing I’m going to do when I return to the Middle East will be to walk the entire length of THE Wall.  I will photograph and document it as I go and use this journey as a new start to my new life.

I love walking.  I feel it frees the mind and the heart.  I’m really excited for this enterprise – this freedom that will come in the midst of such oppression and imprisonment.

I hope this journey comes soon!

Peace Talks

Before the Peace Talks
Palestinians need to understand that they cannot demand a nation that goes back to a pre-Israel concept.  Israel is here.  Permanently.  Forever.  Done.  In the same breath, Israel cannot expect the Palestinians to kowtow and just graciously accept the “leftovers” of the land they and their ancestors have inhabited for millennia.

There was a war in 1967 and the Arabs lost.  This must play a part in the negotiations.  It needs to be acknowledged that Israel does not have to negotiate any changes to the status quo.  It needs to be clear from the Palestinian leadership down through to the smallest Palestinian child, that Israel is a legitimate and welcome nation.  And it must be presented from the Israeli Prime Minister down through all the ranks of Israeli citizen that the Palestinians were on the land before 1948 and therefore have a right to it now.

I think that a single-state solution would be an easier and faster enterprise than the two-state solution but I will discuss my thoughts on both.

Single-State Solution
There are many positive outcomes to a single-state solution, but there are also negatives involved with this plan.

Israel and the West Bank* could become one secular, democratic nation.  This nation should be called Judea and Samaria because then either the Israelis or the West Bank Palestinians will feel they have won or lost.  The nation’s borders would go from the Mediterranean Sea in the east, the Jordan River in the west, the Negev desert and Sinai Peninsula in the south, and the Golan Heights/mountains to the north.  Palestinians and Israelis alike would gain citizenship (ie: passports, IDs, and travel documents) from Judea and Samaria.  Palestinians would gain the right of return they were promised back in 1948 and Israelis would gain the “Promised land.”  Palestinians would gain access to sites they have been banned from for a generation and Israelis would gain the safety they feel they haven’t yet accomplished.  Both people groups would have all the rights and responsibilities under this new nation and its government – including (but not limited to) voting, driver’s license, jury duty, running for elected offices, military service, and free enterprise.

As for the things they would lose.  Israelis would lose a distinctly Jewish state.  Palestinians would lose a distinctly Islamic state.  Both would lose the death and fighting that has plagued them for so long.  Both would lose a small piece of their identity – but they would gain a new identity in the new nation of Judea and Samaria.

Two-State Solution
There are many more difficulties to surpass with a two-state solution than the above proposal of a single-state, but they are not insurmountable.

For the Palestinians: they will have to give up their right of return.  This is the first thing that must happen.  They will have to concede the idea of returning to the villages and land of their ancestors.  They may still not be able to easily travel in and out of Israel.  They will also have to give up Jerusalem.

For the Israelis: they will have to give up their dream of controlling all of biblical Judea and Samaria.  This means giving up their settlements in the green zone and the West Bank.  They will have to give up the idea of total domination in the area.  They would have to go back to the pre-1967 borders.  They will also have to give up Jerusalem.

What would happen: Israel would remain a democratic, Jewish state with distinct borders.  Palestine would become a democratic state with distinct borders.  These boarders would return land won during the Six-Day War to the West Bank Palestinians.  The wall would come down and the West Bank would regain land they held after 1948 and the creation of Israel.  All West Bank settlements would have two options.  Option 1: become citizens of Palestine; giving up their Israeli citizenship and willingly aligning themselves with the rights and goals of a new nation or, Option 2: move back within the borders of Israel.  All Arabs/Palestinians living in Israel would also have two options.  Option 1: become citizens of Israel; giving up their claim to Palestine and willingly aligning themselves with the rights and goals of a nation or, Option 2: move within the borders of Palestine.

Both nations would not be able to deny citizenship to anyone who could prove their identity, their residency within that nation’s borders, and prove a proficiency in that nation’s official language.  Citizenship would include all the rights and responsibilities of democratic nations; including, but not limited to, voting, land ownership, constitutional rights, jury duty, running for elected office, driver’s license, ID, passport, military service, and free enterprise.

Jerusalem: would become international territory with its own flag as well as its own place and voting rights within the UN.  It would not belong to either Israel or Palestine.  It would be run by a committee made up of the Grand Mufti, Chief Rabbinate, Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Latin Catholic Patriarch, Armenian Patriarch, and two secular appointed leaders (one from Israel and one from Palestine).  These leaders would run Jerusalem from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  They would have an elected committee of fourteen (five from Israel, five from Palestine, and four from Jerusalem) who work with them as representatives for the people.  The committee would be elected for three-year terms and could be reelected no more than five times.  Every two years, at least three members would come up for reelection.

Residents of Jerusalem would be given international identification and paperwork.  They would have a separate Jerusalem passport and would not claim Israel or Palestine as their home country but would have all the rights and responsibilities of a citizen of an international territory (ie: see the rights and responsibilities above).

*My Peace Talks purposely leave out the Gaza Strip.  I think that Gaza is a separate entity from the West Bank (for good or ill) and should be treated as such.  It has its own leadership and that leadership needs to head into their own peace talks with Israel.

Thoughts on Gaza
I think Israel uses Gaza as a way to say “See, we NEED our walls and electric fences … they all hate us.”

The number one, most important thing that needs to be addressed for Gaza is the legitimacy of Israel.  They need to stop trying to destroy their neighbor and accept them.  They also need to stop trying to use force to gain an “upper hand.”  This change will never come if they continue to move toward violence.  Once these two stipulations have been negotiated I believe that things for Gaza would greatly and rapidly improve.

Gaza doesn’t have to worry about settlements or Israelis on their land.  They have to worry about having land and the Israeli blockades that have been put into place.  I truly think that once Gaza accepts Israel and ceases the violence Israel will lighten their hold on the area.  Trade will resume and blockades will diminish – if not disappear completely.

After a trust has been built, I think the electric fence surrounding Gaza as well as the IDF soldiers will be removed.  As for land issues, I think Gaza would have an easier time working with Egypt.  The Gazans may be able to claim part or all of the Sinai Peninsula.  With more land they would be able to move millions of people out of the refugee camps and the cramped quarters in which they are currently living.  After that, a government could be put in place – whether elected or appointed – and Gaza could become an independent nation.

Honestly, I think becoming an independent nation will be more difficult than negotiating lasting peace with Israel.  I do not think democracy would suit Gaza well but could see a parliamentary monarchy put into place within its government.  Hamas would need to cease to be a political entity and could possibly become the military unit of Gaza.

Again, the citizens of Gaza would gain land, rights, passports, travel opportunities, and responsibilities within their new nation.  And Israel would gain more safety and another ally.

Life Without Bethlehem

I left Bethlehem at the end of February and I’ve thought of nothing but that place since then.  I miss it.  I don’t know how else to say it.  I miss my home.  I miss my friends.  I miss my students.  I miss teaching.  I miss being happy.  I miss it all.

School starts in a couple of days and I don’t get to be there and it’s killing me.  It’s killing me that I messed up the best thing that had ever happened to me.

I blamed God for a long time but I can’t blame Him anymore.  He did what I had promised myself I would do many years before.  And now I’m left without my dream – because of my choices, not God’s.

I miss my life.  Life without Bethlehem is not a life I like at all.

The Goal

I have a goal.  You could all it a dream, but that always seemed so intangible – like it’s just out of reach.  Goals, on the other hand, are attainable, accessible, and intangible.  So, I have a goal.

My goal is both selfish and selfless.  It is both because part is for me only and part is for people who are not me (duh, right?).  Would you like to hear about it?  I figured you would.  🙂

The Goal
I want to live in Bethlehem for the rest of my life.

Here is how it works out:
I’m going to attend college (a second time) and get another bachelor’s degree, this time in Middle East Studies and Arabic.  Then I am going to get a master’s in Islamic Studies and Arabic.  Then I plan to get a doctorate in Semitic Languages (the doctorate will happen when I’m back in Bethlehem).  After I have finished the master’s degree, I will move back to Bethlehem and open a novelty shoppe and party room.
Let me explain a little more.  I want to buy land and open a candy shop (like in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).  I’ll sell any candy known to man as well as ice cream (including soft serve), shakes, soda (pop, coke, whatever you wanna call it), and french fries (to break up the sweets).
The second floor will be a large room with everything you’d need to have a kick ass party!  Including, but not limited to, DJ station with all the fixings, giant HD TV, multiple video game systems (ie: Wii, Xbox 360, PS3), fully-loaded kitchen, strobe lights, disco ball, and other cool decorations.  This will be available to anyone who wants to use it, as long as they pay for it (hourly rates).
The third floor will be my apartment (one room + bathroom, bed, desk, mini-fridge, microwave, and hot plate).

After my shoppe is up and running, I will begin pursuing politics and my doctorate.  Since I’ll be fluent in Arabic I hope it will be an easy transition to help in the political world.  I will also continue my writing and hopefully use that talent to tell the world of the struggle found in Bethlehem, the West Bank, and Gaza.  I also hope to work in a school or educational setting of some sort.

This is my goal.  It is not a dream that is unreachable and may fade over time.  It is what will happen.  It is what I want.  It is what I am living for and all I will work toward.

Mosques and Freedom

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/08/03/panel-vote-clear-way-ground-zero-mosque/

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/02/ny-commission-to-vote-on-landmark-status-for-ground-zero-islamic-center-site/?iref=allsearch

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/08/04/conservative-group-vows-legal-action-nyc-panel-clears-way-mosque-near-ground/

These three articles are about a mosque that is scheduled to be constructed two blocks from the World Trade Center’s Ground Zero.  The US is in an uproar because of it.  The “news” here is that a panel would determine whether the building – already privately owned and designated for the mosque – should be considered a landmark.  If the panel had said, “Yes, it’s a landmark,” then the mosque and Islamic center would have to change their designs (but they would still put it in that location).  Since the panel said, “No, it isn’t a landmark,” they can tear down the existing building and create something visually stimulating in its place to house the mosque.  The panel was NOT determining if the mosque could be there, but everyone seems to think these panel members are “un-American” for denying landmark status to this building.

Now I made the mistake of reading some of the comments being posted on both FoxNews and CNN – bad idea – and I can’t sit silently by anymore.  I feel someone needs to say something and if I’m the only person with a brain then I guess I get to do it.

Many comments were derogatory toward the Islamic faith and Muslims in general.  Many comments were childish and ignorant.  Many comments were just plain stupid.  Here are a few of the “keepers” and my responses (in italics):

“…a key test of Americans’ commitment to religious freedom.” Religious Freedom?… Islam is a religion of the sword- the god of ISLAM is ALLAH… The moon god- the god of Mohammad. Violent Jihad/ Jihad is the focus of ISLAM- AND what was the fundamental reason for the 9/11 attacks!… Violent Jihad/ Jihad, and Sharia Law against non-believers, Jews, and even other Muslims are foundational in the structure of ISLAM- AS OF TODAY!… AS such, this Mosque can NOT be a multi-religion place of worship- As the Judeo-Christian GOD is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… These are two different gods!.. IT WON’T WORK… And it’s not supposed to. The Ground Zero Mosque is only about ISLAM- a symbol of Islam conquest and an idealistic work of “non-believer” submission in the name of ISLAM… Placing this mosque at Ground Zero is an insult to AMERICA.

Allah is Arabic for God – not moon god or anything else.  If you believe in one God then Allah is that God too – just because people have created new ways of viewing Him doesn’t mean they are right or that is how He is.  Jihad is the focus of Islam in that as believers they are fighting a war against the evil darkness of sin.  Christians believe the same thing!  Christians “put on the armor of God” so they can fight in the battle against Satan.  Violent Jihad against “infidels” is an extremist belief of a very small population of Muslim people.  And, again, Christian can be violent to (KKK, Nazis, the Crusaders all come to mind).  Islam – just like any other religion – has corruption (because it involves humans), but we can’t blame corruption of a few on the masses and we can’t hate the masses because of a few.  Why SHOULD a mosque be a multi-religious place of worship?!  It’s a mosque!  It should be for Islamic worship.  How is a mosque a sign of Islamic conquest?  Who said anything about being conquered? Placing this mosque NEAR ground zero isn’t an insult to America, it would be an insult to deny them this building!

Building a mosque near Ground Zero is a fantastic idea, but it proves the muslims responsible haven’t exactly thought this through. If I’m an NYPD police officer or NYFD fire fighter or port authority officer and lost members of my team who were like brothers to me, you can bet I’m standing outside this “monument to religious freedom” with a baseball bat in my hand ready to tune up anyone wearing a towel on his head. NYC people do NOT fool around. You might choose to build your mosque and community center somewhere else. You’ve been warned.

Wow!  You’re going to support violence against a people group just because a few of them did something horrible?!  Doesn’t that go against the entire idea of “remembering those lost in the 9/11 attacks?”  I’m glad we are willing to resort to violence against a religion that we are saying are evil because they are violent.  Neat.

You cannot tout “we want government out of our busienss” and then say that only applies to issues that you believe in. If the governement steps in and stops the building of the Mosque, we have all lost. Our constitution is clear on this and you cannot deny Muslims the right to build whatever they want on privately owned property. I would think the tea party members would be fighting FOR the mosque. I guess I am confused as to what the tea party stands for. I thought that the constitution was the basis for all your fights. I wonder how Glenn Beck will wesael out of this one!!!

Thank you for standing up in favor of this mosque.  It is rare to find people like you around today!

This page has a Spanish ad. What is going on with the country. This supose to an English speaking country. NOT MEXICO!

Thank you for your comment … about absolutely nothing.  1. There are many spanish-speaking people in the world and not just in Mexico.  2. I can’t help myself – you’re dumb! 3. What does this have to do with the mosque.

Liberals like Bloomberg cherry pick which constitutional rights they support; Bloomberg is big on the first amendment but is trying his best to deny us our second amendment rights! Muslims are like communists in thatthey use a nation’s generousity to undermine that society until the day they take over then they deny people their rights! usually with the help of traitors like Bloomberg.

When did someone say that a single mosque was undermining the government or some ploy to take over the world?  This is not Pinky and the Brain.  What rights are American citizens losing with the creation of this mosque?

Islam is a peaceful religion, so is Christianity. There are extremists in every religion. You people who profess to be Christians are not true to your own faith by spewing such hatred toward Muslims.

Kudos to you!  I agree 100%!

NO mosque should be built on USA soil. PERIOD!

Just an FYI: there are 100s of mosques already in the US.  Maybe there isn’t one in your town but they do exist … and on USA soil too!

i guess religious freedom is only for christians

Amen!  Preach it!  The big thing about “we’re losing our second amendment” is bull – we’re trying to UPHOLD it but allowing this mosque.

Let them build it, then bomb it.

WOW!  I don’t even know where to start.  1. You want to bomb American soil? 2. You want to bomb American soil just two blocks from the greatest attack on American soil in our history? 3. You want to bomb a peaceful place of religious worship?

You.  Are. Dumb!

Offer a deal. Mosque at Ground Zero for a church in Mecca. Of course, the House of Saud will do their best Ralph Kramden impression “ah hum a na, ah hum a na, ah a hum a na” when pressed, REALLY PRESSED as to why they are so opposed to that idea. Answer – they’re intolerant. It’s just laughable beyond absurd why Americans are asked TIME AND AGAIN to be the tolerant ones when NOBODY else in the world is.

This is not even the same thing!  Mecca is sacred ground – maybe not to you, but to millions of people the world over.  Ground Zero is a sad place, it’s a memorial site, but it is NOT sacred!  Why can’t people be intolerant?  Who said the world and its people had to tolerate everything?  There are many, many things that US citizens do not tolerate, but no one is yelling at us for it.  And there are many, many things that the world tolerates that maybe they shouldn’t.  Don’t be tolerant if you don’t want to be … no one is FORCING you!

These muslims are building a shrine to the 9/11 hi-jackers. run Bloomberg out of town.

Try again.  “These Muslims” are building a religious center and a place of worship.  In all their statements they say this is for peace.  Why can’t we just believe them?  Why would ANYONE try to build a hijacker shrine in the US?!  That’s ridiculous.

Finally, for all those out there who feel I’m wrong, have you ever spoken to a person who follows Islam?  Have you ever read any of the Qur’an or studied Islam at all?  Islam is actually founded on tolerance and peace.  Yes, there are militant Muslim people in the world, but there are militant Jewish people (Shin Bet comes to mind) and militant Christian people too (the Westboro Baptist Church).  This doesn’t mean that EVERY Jew or EVERY Christian is militant and that should go for Muslims as well.  I know many people who follow Islam and they are some of the friendliest, honest, welcoming, and helpful people I know!  Do NOT push terrorism on my friends or people like them who just want to worship God the way they feel is best.  99.9% of all terrorists are NOT Muslim and I doubt anyone with a statistical brain could (or would) prove it to be true.  Muslims do NOT aid and abet terrorists or their actions.  Islam is NOT a political faction pretending to be a religion.   And not every country is an Islamic state.  In fact, the comments posted are promoting more terror than most Muslims!  You are trying to force Americans to see an ENTIRE religious people group as evil.  This is not the way to behave!  Building this mosque will not degrade the American values of our founding fathers any more than government regulations on abortion, homosexuality, marriage, and other issues of great debate do.  Building this mosque does NOT taint the memory of those lost on 9/11.  The building of this mosque is not being sanctioned by our government – the committee just determined if the current structure should be a landmark.  They aren’t telling everyone to become Muslim.

Your judgment of Muslim peoples as a whole is sad to me.  Why can we not show tolerance and love?  Why are we no longer a country with the freedom of religion – that doesn’t mean freedom of Christianity it means ANY religion (or no religion at all).  Let Muslims worship as they like and let Jews and Eastern Orthodox and Evangelicals and Catholics and Hindus and Atheists worship as they like.  Do NOT try to tell them how to find God and don’t tell me I’m wrong for supporting them!

Once Upon A Country by Sari Nusseibeh

With admirable candor, Lord Balfour confided to fellow politicians back in London what the Arabs could expect from the agreement:
In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country … Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.
He didn’t say this to the Arabs.  The official line, duly echoed by the Zionists, was that the rights of the Arabs would be safeguarded. (Page 27)

Father ended up supporting the rebellion because he had come to the conclusion that the Eastern European Zionists arriving by the boatload had no interest in fitting themselves into Arab culture and society.  In the Russians he saw ideologues with no understanding of the country, and without the slightest intention of respecting the culture or rights of the Arabs living there.  Most of all he saw very determined men and women with scientific, industrial, and political ambitions to create a Jewish state.  The attitude that frightened him the most can be summed up in Chaim Weizmann’s words: “Palestine shall be as Jewish as England is English, or America is American.” These were public words.  In private, Zionist leaders spelled out their plans.  In 1936, in a letter to his son, David Ben-Gurion wrote nakedly, “We will expel the Arabs and take their place.” It would be hard to think of something more antithetical to Pan-Arabism. (Page 36)

Local Arabs were far more united in their opposition.  “Why should we pay for what the Europeans did against the Jews,” ran the argument.  Father also rejected the plan, though for a different reason.  Partition wasn’t just about a piece of real estate to be haggled over at the UN; what was at stake was his heritage, stretching back well over a millennium.
Another reason for his opposition was his belief, widespread at the time, that the Zionist leadership had no intention of fully complying with the terms of the partition requiring them to respect the legal rights of Arabs living in the Jewish state.  He believed that they were paying lip service to the proposal only because they wanted legal recognition by the world at large of an independent Jewish state.  However, they knew that the state as proposed was unviable, and feared more than anything that the Arabs would accept it.  So while on the one hand the Zionists backed the plan, on the other they did all they could to whip up Arab opposition to it.  “When Arab resistance to the partition plan seemed to be flagging, the Jews stirred it,” Father wrote.  They did this by using the same instrument that had proved so affective against the British: terror. (Page 43)

“Religion, being essentially universal and one, should be made to serve the end of uniting the world rather than separating it.” (Page 65)

I concluded from all this that ignorance, rather than some undefined evil intent, had to be at the core of our conflict. (Page 115)

No matter how hopelessly entrenched two parties seem, their feud can be solved through an act of human will. (Page 128)

When a journalist asked Begin if he was prepared to negotiate on the future of the Occupied Territories, he snapped, “What occupied territories?  If you mean Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, they are liberated territories.  They are part, an integral part, of the Land of Israel.” (Page 153)

In Golda Meir’s unforgettable words, “It is not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came in and threw them out and took their country away from them.  They did not exist.” (Page 172)

The more the Arab “body” became immersed in the Israeli system, the more the Palestinian “soul” struggled to transcend it.
I was pondering all these shifts and dialectical conundrums in my mind one day when it hit me like a bolt from heaven: the solution to our conflict with Israel was not more economic integration or a better elementary curriculum, or nicer military governors, or a more humane form of torture.  Nor was it to make bad Israelis better.  The occupation simply had to end – lock, stock, and barrel. (Page 173)

If might makes right, as the Athenians/Israelis obviously assume, isn’t it only nature all to resort to armed rebellion, instead of coming out with useless moral arguments that will only e scorned by the masters?  If international law is a sop, and the real world is created on the battlefield, as the masters believe, shouldn’t we fight them using their own instruments of power and force? (Page 179)

… the Israeli authorities often feared men of peace far more than they feared the terrorists. (Page 180)

Political action is “leaving one’s private hiding place and showing who one is by disclosing and exposing oneself.”  Hannah Arendt (Page 184)

I imagine an eighteen-year-old from a refugee camp sitting opposite his interrogator.  The prisoner hasn’t slept for days.  Hungry and cold, frightened and alone, he has no lawyer, no legal system behind him, and no one to speak up for him.  No one really knows where he is or why he was arrested.  Parents and friends are as far away as the moon.  And the interrogator, twice his age and trained to break the will of those under his control, goes to work.  He wants information, and from one direction and then another he probes the prisoner’s defenses.  His logical tools, more effective than the medieval rack, hammer away at the prisoner’s mind.
But the teenager refuses to submit to the will of the interrogator.  By overcoming his natural biological instinct for survival, he becomes aware of his own freedom – because he is no longer a slave to his physical needs.  Somehow he finds the inner strength to say no.  His body wants food and warmth and sleep; he wants to be back with his family and friends; he wants to live.  Still, he refuses. (Page 214)

At the opening of a new settlement in October 1982, Begin’s minister of energy, Mordechai Zippori, explained the logic of settlement construction as “the backbone of the Zionist movement in the West Bank” and as the “only means to defeat any peace initiative which is intended to bring foreign rule to Judea and Samaria.” (Page 217)

“This campus always gives us a lot of trouble,” the officer told [Hanan Ashrawi].  “[Students] invite trouble.  They go out and demonstrate and disturb the peace.  They force us to shoot them. (Page 268)

Less than eight months into the intifada, Israel hunted down the man more responsible than anyone for keeping the uprising surprisingly unsullied by terrorist outrages.
My admiration for Abu Jihad had grown steadily over the years.  It spoke in his favor that he was free from the taint of corruption and thuggery infesting the ranks of other PLO apparatchiks.  He was also capable of changing with the times.  The man who was once considered the Che Guevara of the movement – he had been in charge of the commando units – had realized after the PLO’s expulsion from Lebanon that liberation would never come about through a military victory beyond Israeli borders, but through a mass movement in the territories themselves.  The effectiveness of his new belief was now proven daily.
Terrorism, in other words, had nothing to do with the Israeli government’s decision to eliminate him.  On the contrary, what much have driven the military planners out of their wits was that the enemy’s most potent weapon was no bombs or hate-filled bombast – easy things to counter – but assertive nonviolence and a well orchestrated “white and unarmed revolution.”  And having failed to snuff out the source of trouble in the territories, they decided to go after the “mastermind.” (Page 285)

For this reason we told the Israeli man on the street that we didn’t seek to destroy the Jewish state but only wanted to establish ours alongside Israel.  The leaflets were unambiguous: the Unified Command accepted UN Resolution 242 and as such the moral and political right of Israel to exist within the 1967 borders.
One leaflet stated: The intifada, the latest form of the Palestinian struggle, voices the Palestinian cry for peace … Our fight is not to cause pain to others but to deliver ourselves from pain.  It is not to destroy another states, but to create our own.  It is not to bring death to others, but to give life and hope to ourselves and to our children. (Page 288)

One day I asked an activist friend, Salah, who’d joined us in the talks with Amirav, if he was worried about his own young children.  He had just been released from administrative detention.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, don’t you miss them when you get thrown into jail?  Don’t you ever ask yourself if it’s worth it, I mean to be away from them?”
The smile Salah nearly permanently affixed to his face disappeared.  He looked at me with uncharacteristic gravity.  “It’s all for our children,” he exclaimed lowering his voice to a hush as if telling me a secret.  “I go to jail so one day they don’t have to.”
Salah’s answer summed up to me what we were all doing.  We were all struggling to achieve for our children a future without roadblocks, tanks, tear gas, or administrative detention.  A future not shadowed by a pervasive sense of our being wronged. (Page 292-293)

“The national psychological readiness for a two-state solution is not a permanent fixture of the Palestinian psychology.  It is in the Palestinian heart now, but it can quickly fade if there is no response to this feeling of opening up.  It’s like a star or a comet that comes close by and then goes away.  One has to catch it when it’s close.”  If they didn’t watch it, I implied, reissuing my old argument, instead of a peaceful movement for independence Israelis might have an antiapartheid campaign on their hands. (Page 298)

The average man on the street introduced elsewhere in this story was just as exhilarated as the revelers at the Orient House that evening.  For him it meant that the long occupation was coming to an end.  Arafat, a leader who in his mind embodied his own hopes, was being treated like a head of state, which meant that the state couldn’t be far behind.  No more harassment by soldiers, no more road blocks, no more random arrests, no more land confiscation, no more settlements, no more settlers with their Uzis playing feudal masters.  There would be jobs and open schools and hope for his children to live as the Israeli children did: in a free world full of opportunities, respected by the world and looked up as an equal, not a handout case, not a dog. (Page 374)

Meanwhile, Sharon told West Bank settlers, “Everyone living there should move, should run, should grab more hills, expand the territory.  Everything that’s grabbed will be in our hands, everything that we don’t grab will be in their hands.” (Page 399)

I could have chiseled onto stone a motto for [“On Thinking”], it would have been: if people use their minds and wills they can accomplish whatever they choose, including political liberty. (Page 407)

I told [my staff] to go out and see the movie The Matrix.  Life is really all a game, I mused, and it’s up to our creative imaginations to set the borders between imagination and reality.  What people think about us, and we about them, depends on us.  No matter how many powerful enemies we have, they can’t break our will. (Page 412)

Dostoyevsky … directed his novel The Possessed against the so-called “nihilists,” those who wanted to destroy the old social order, lock, stock, and barrel.  “We shall proclaim destruction,” one character exclaims, “because – because … the idea is so attractive for some reason!” (Page 428)

Was Robert Fisk of The Independent right in tracing it back to an entire society being “pressure-cooked to the point of explosion”? (Page 436)

“The idea of making peace with the Palestinians is absurd,” [Sharon] stated on the campaign stump. (Page 440)

The Palestinians were once again falling into that perennial trap Father knew so well: they thought somehow that the “world” would step in like a dues ex machine and set things right.  And a Sharon-led government would only speed up the process: with more disaster and more blood, the international hand of Justice was bound to intervene.  Except it never had and never will. (Page 441)

The Christian Science Monitor got it right with its report: To some Israelis, a burly Palestinian police commander named Jibril Rajoub represents their best hope for a peaceful future.  Long committed to peace negotiations, he has worked for years to prevent militant Palestinians from attacking Israel.  Late Sunday afternoon, Israeli forces fired shells at his house from a tank and a helicopter if Mr. Rajoub hadn’t been walking between rooms to get better reception on this cell phone, he later said, he might have been killed.
Coming on top of other actions that Israeli leaders have come publicly to regret, Palestinians are wondering what is going on. Either the most sophisticated military in the Middle East is mistakenly striking at the very Palestinian leaders who have eschewed violence and maintained a willingness to negotiate with Israel – or there is no mistake at all. (Page 441)

The power in need of addressing was the man on the street, both the Arab and the Jew.  With all the havoc and devastation, Manichean dualities of “us” and “them,” Arab and Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli, had ceased being useful.  Both societies were sinking together.  Either we team up as allies to end the mad tango, or we all lose.  Simple. (Page 445)

Israelis needed to know that for them to keep their Jewish state required a free Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.  Palestinians needed to know that to get their state required acknowledging the moral right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.  There could be no blanket right of return into Israel for the refugees: We have two rights.  We have the right of return, in my opinion.  But we also have the right to live in freedom and independence.  And very often in life one has to forgo the implementation of one right in order to implement other rights.
If both sides failed I this out of expediency or weakness, we’d find ourselves one day in a hybrid state that fulfilled neither the Israeli quest for a Jewish stare, nor the national Palestinian quest for an Arab state. (Page 446)

Next I came out with an idea supported by common sense, and it was a measure of the mood that summer that my piece of common sense was the most startling announcement my audience could have imagined – because in our era of suicide bombings it had become unthinkable: “Israelis and Palestinians,” I told them, “are not enemies at all.”  A disbelieving hush spread over my listeners.  “If anything, we are strategic allies.” (Page 450)

Israelis went back to the old strategy of hitting the moderates while leaving the fanatics alone.  They did this not because our feuding tribes were so far from peace, but because peace was so near, like a ripe plum ready for the picking.  Polls on both sides showed that the desire for peace was far stronger than the thirst for blood.  This scared Sharon as much as it did Sheikh Yassin.  If the Israeli and Palestinian people were allies in peace, some of our leaders were allies in stroking the conflict. (Page 457)

Jibril’s staff at what was left of his Preventive Security Academy interrogated a number of people who had tried unsuccessfully to become human bombs.  The stated determined that 80 percent were motivated not by religion a la Al Qaeda but by anger, depression, and a thirst for revenge.
One woman was a thirty-five-year-old mother of five.  She was arrested by one of Jibril’s men after she asked someone to give her a bomb.  In the interrogation, she cited shame as her motivation.  Soldiers had tried to strip her naked at a checkpoint and danced around her as if she were an inflatable sex toy, and in front of a long line of cars and busses full of fellow Arabs.  She preferred death, she explained, over having to face her own people after this, especially if she could take a few Israelis with her.
Another was a twenty-four-year-old woman studying media and communications.  She wasn’t religious and evidently harbored no hopes of Paradise as payback.  She volunteered as a human kamikaze because Israeli soldiers had forced her at gunpoint to kiss a group of Arab men stopped at a checkpoint. (Pages 460-461)

In the December 2001 issue of Le Monde Diplomatique [Ami Ayalon] had been dismissive of the Camp David legend that “Israelis had been generous and [the Palestinians] refused,” and of the even bigger fable that the so-called second intifada had been planned.  He knew that is had been a spontaneous revolt fed by hopelessness. “We [Israelis] say the Palestinians behave like ‘madmen,’ but it is not madness but a bottomless despair.” (Page 470)

Jawad ended their brief conversation with a hypothesis that still rings true today: “You’re afraid of Sari and people like him because you don’t like seeing moderates bravely speaking out against the right of return and violence.  You’d rather deal with Arafat or Sheikh Yassin because they give you the excuse to do whatever you want.” (Page 475)

“I am not a terrorist,” [Marwan] said after his arrest, his fists shackled together, “but neither am I a pacifist.  I am simply a regular guy from the Palestinian street advocating only what every other oppressed person has advocated – the right to help myself in the absence of help from anywhere else.” (Page 480)

For a lecture I gave during the worst of the fighting I came up with a childlike parable to illustrate the curious strength of the weak: Suppose two people suddenly find themselves in a brawl.  Neither is sure how it started, but each suspects the other of having maliciously provoked it.  One manages to throw the other to the ground, and at once sits on top of him, holding him down by the arms.  The one underneath kicks back, biting where he can, and whenever he manages to get one of his hands lose, he claws at his foe with all his might.
it seems like a stalemate.  The one on top is afraid, yes, afraid, of loosening his grip or letting go of the man underneath him.  The one wriggling underneath cannot for the life of him allow this bully to have the slightest chance of rest.  Clearly, a gentlemanly exchange of ideas is out of the question.
A third man comes along, pleading with the man on top to let go and the man underneath to lie quiet.  Each of them now is in a quandary.  The man underneath is afraid that if he were to lie quiet then the man on top would not have any incentive t let go, while the man on top is worried that if he were to let go then the man underneath would quickly move to strangle him.  Existentially locked into a stalemate, each begins to suspect that the other is looking for salvation through his total elimination.
I made this scenario even worse by imagining that the two men are not on solid ground but in a pool of quicksand, and that with each blow or bite or bash on the head they sink deeper into the mud.  Theirs is no zero-sum games: it is a lose-lose situation.
The reason I came up with the yarn was t show the respective strengths of the two fighters.  In terms of raw physical power, the one on top obviously has the leg up.  But psychologically it is actually more difficult for him to let go than for the man underneath to lie quiet.  Paradoxically, being on top he has more to lose by deciding to act differently.  He has a lesser margin of choice, or less power.
The man underneath, on the other hand, has less to lose, and less to fear by restraining his opposition.  He has, therefore, more power, for he can afford to change his act.  If he were to let go, the man on top might lose his advantage altogether.  By stopping his physical resistance, the man underneath can always revert to wriggling and biting.  He has no advantage to lose.
The upshot is that the man underneath holds the key to unlocking the puzzle, even without the intervention of a third man.  Of course, it is not enough for him to stop wriggling.  He has to consciously reach out to the other man’s mind.  He can’t defeat him, but with some intelligence he may be albe to win him over. (Pages 483-484)

“It is untenable to Israeli citizens to live in terror.  It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and occupation.  And the current situation offers no prospect that life will improve.  Israeli citizens will continue to be victimized by terrorists, and so Israel will continue to defend herself … My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security … The Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties, based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, with Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognized borders.” –G.W. Bush (Page 486)

The wall is the perfect crime because it crates the violence it was ostensibly built to prevent.  It’s like sticking someone in a cage and then when he starts screaming, as any normal person would, using his violent temper as justification for putting him in the cage in the first place. (Page 511)

One day the Israelis may realize that the reason for the never-ending turmoil disrupting their lives has nothing to do with our opposition to the Jewish state but is rooted in the more mundane fact that human beings are not constituted to accept injustice. (Page 524)

Lucy’s wise words may be a good way to wrap up a chronicle of a life lived in a broken and violated land.  Dualities of good and evil, black and white, right and wrong, “us” and “them,” our “rights” and their “usurpation” have cut the Holy Land into ribbons.  The only hope comes when we listen to the wisdom of tradition, and acknowledge that Jerusalem cannot be conquered or kept through violence.  It is a city of three faiths and it is open to the world.  Even after the erection of Sharon’s wall and the ensuing Hamas victory, the way my fairy tale ends still seems right to me: three characters, each from a sister religion, join hands to plant a honeysuckle bush.  Meanwhile, Mr. Seems stands off in the distance as a reminder that things are never what they seem to be.  In Jerusalem’s tangle, ancient alleys, wonder and surprise are always lurking around the corner ready to remind you that this is not an ordinary palce you can map out with a surveyor’s rod.  It is sacred. (Page 534)