Sultan spent fifteen years as an engaged peace activist. She served on the Board of the National Peace Foundation. She subsequently joined the Board of Directors of Interfaith Peace Builders (now Eyewitness Palestine), an NGO based in Washington, D.C. She took her first trip to Israel/Palestine in March 2002 and later co-lead five delegations to Israel/Palestine on behalf of IFPB, including one to Gaza in 2012
“My writing has given me a voice, which, in turn, has influenced my activism, motivated me to challenge the halls of power and bring the lies behind our leaders’ never-ending wars to as wide an audience as possible.”
At no time in recent history has our collective engagement been more urgently needed. The power of the people has been hijacked by the executive branch of the US government and by corrupt and warmongering leaders worldwide. How do we regain our voice and halt the erosion of our constitution? We actively and vigorously participate in the process of government. We become informed on issues affecting our foreign policy and our standing in the world so as to better differentiate fact from fiction. We vote and hold our politicians accountable for their actions. As citizens of the international community, these are our obligations, and no one is exempt. We have everything to gain. Peace, after all, is the cornerstone of world stability and a viable future.
Over the decades, realistic solutions have been proposed. Regional players have offered concessions. A neutral party with international respect could have led the negotiations and brokered an agreement. Instead, the US acted as Israel’s lawyer demanding impossible concessions from one party and not the other
We, the people, have the capacity to serve as the principal agents of change. This attitude goes against the grain of so-called “political realism” which is based on battlefield results. Richard Falk, who acted as Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine from March 2008 through March 2014, recently wrote that he was at a private dinner party attended by dozens of diplomats. The French Ambassador said: “Forget about the Palestinian struggle. Israel has won. The Palestinians have been defeated. I may not like the result, but to think otherwise is to dream idly.” His comments echo the cynical view of history that ignores the power and the role of ordinary people and ignores the successful outcomes of the political struggles of the last seventy-five years
The Palestinian struggle is all inclusive; it is nonviolent. It affirms rights under international law for both Israelis and Palestinians on the basis of equality and respect for each other. The target in this struggle is not the State of Israel but its policies of occupation and repression.
The power of people, be they American, Israeli or Palestinian, has been hijacked by the executive branch of the US government, by the warmongering leaders in Israel and by a long line of corrupt Palestinian leadership. In the case of a people under occupation, how does a popular upswing of democratic thinking begin to take place? How do the majority of peace-seeking individuals on both sides of the divide regain their voices?
The answer is a simple one.
Collectively we actively and vigorously participate in the process of legitimacy. We become informed on issues related to this crisis, however complicated they may be. We hold our politicians accountable for their actions. As citizens of the international community, these are our obligations; no one is exempt. We have everything to gain. Peace is the cornerstone of world stability and a viable future and it begins by guaranteeing security for Israel and justice for all Palestinians.
One such way to promote peace is to join the work of EYEWITNESS PALESTINE which leads delegations to Israel/Palestine to meet with and bear witness to nonviolent and human rights activists immersed in the realities of the conflict. This eye-witness experience empowers our delegates to become activists for peace and justice in their communities and beyond. Please visit their website for more information. www.eyewitnesspalestine.org