Help Promote Peace

Since my first visit to Israel-Palestine in March 2002, I have returned four times, including a visit to Gaza in November 2012. In those twelve years the more things changed the more they stayed the same. Realistic solutions were proposed. Regional players 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
I am a firm believer in “people power.” We 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 me in my work at Interfaith Peace Builders (IFPB) where I sit on the Board of Directors as Vice Chair and Secretary. An NGO based in Washington, D.C. IFPB 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.

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