Calls for Peace from Inside the Walls of Crisis

Heather Greene —  August 17, 2014 — 37 Comments

Much has already been said about the current crisis in the Middle East. For decades, a violent tragedy has been playing out between Israel and the Palestinian territories. The death toll continues to rise, year after year, as the headlines pile up.

When cutting through all political propaganda, cultural biases and angry rage, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, at its very simplest, a struggle over land rights and nationhood. It is a battle that has been fueled by hardened mistrust and stubborn resolve.

"Damaged housing gaza strip april 2009" by Marius Arnesen - Flickr/CC lic./Wikimedia

“Damaged housing gaza strip april 2009″ by Marius Arnesen – Flickr/CC lic./Wikimedia

As the bombs drop, most of the world watches the struggle play out through the international media. In recent months, there have been countless reports of mass casualties as Israeli bombs fall on residential areas killing Palestinian families and destroying schools. On Thursday, The New York Times reported that there have been over 1900 Palestinian deaths, most of which were civilian. The United Nations Human Rights Council is readying to take legal action against Israel for war crimes.

Over the last 66 years, Israeli actions have caused significant economic suffering for the Palestinian population, including the 1000s of Palestinian refugees, who now live in camps throughout the region. Yesterday, The New York Times featured an article on Belal Khaled, a Palestinian photojournalist who has turned many of his photographs into expressive works of art. He, and other artists like him, consider themselves to be part of the resistance to the Israeli occupation and aggression.

At the same time, Hamas has recently been accused of stationing itself and its weapons purposefully within residential areas. On Aug. 5, an NDTV Indian news crew reported that Hamas had launched rockets from a field near its hotel in Gaza. NDTV only published the article and corresponding video after its crew was safely out of the area. The article reads, “Just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel’s offensive on Gaza’s civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones.”

Shai Ferraro, an Israeli Ph.D. candidate in history and student of modern Paganism, similarly reported: “Hammas official television is telling families who live near homes of Hammas terrorists in Gaza to stand on the rooftops of the houses … and become martyrs. This is while Hammas leadership itself is safely ensconced in bunkers under Gaza’s main hospital.”

Still classified by the U.N. as a terrorist organization, Hamas is an Islamic extremist group that has a long history of supporting and promoting acts of violence.Since its inception in the 1990s, Hamas has been responsible for countless suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. Recently, the organization released a music video calling for the elimination of the “roaches” – Zionists and Israelis. It was allegedly made to scare Israelis.

In a climate of such disordered violence, the fundamental disagreements between the people themselves – the Israelis and Palestinians – are buried beneath rubble, ashes and blood. The majority of both populations want the comfort and community that comes with nationhood, including dedicated lands on which they can raise their families, govern their lives and enjoy their culture unimpeded by prejudice, restrictions and threats of extermination. However, all the world sees is failed diplomacy, violence, fear and hate.

Unfortunately, the international media has not helped the situation. In an article entitled, “Israel, Gaza, War & Data,” writer Gilad Lotan demonstrates how one single bombing event can have a number of different headlines and, ultimately, story angles. It is sensationalized media propaganda at its best, and the truth is wedged somewhere in between it all.

As such, the opinion-making process has managed to polarize an already volatile situation. The crisis in Gaza is complex and cannot be reduced to a good-versus-evil scenario, despite the efforts of the media. Max Fischer at Vox.com offers the most comprehensive, balanced explanation of the struggles between these two peoples. His article “The 11 Biggest Myths About Israel-Palestine” discusses various common “facts” that punctuate international debates, including both the truths and lies within them. He breaks the myths down into short digestible, well-explained essays. For example, Fischer says:

Myth #2: This is not, despite what your grade school teacher may have suggested, a clash between Judaism and Islam over religious differences. It’s a clash between nationalities — Israeli and Palestinian — over secular issues of land and nationhood.

Myth #9: Things are basically peaceful during periods of relative calm …. Periodically the situation will escalate so rapidly, with such relatively slight provocation, and to such a level of severity, that the rest of us can’t ignore what every Palestinian and many Israelis already know: the conflict may be quieter some days than it is on others, but it is still active, still destroying lives and communities, and still scarring these two societies every day.

To take a closer look at the realities of living within the walls of this crisis, we turned to several Pagans and Heathens living in Israel. Neferasta, a 26-year-old Kemetic Pagan Priestess, suffers from PTSD caused by previous conflicts. She says, “PTSD is not talked about but dealing with difficult memories from events that create trauma get worse in wartime. When I hear alarms, I feel lost, detached, confused. It brings me back in time to the war zone.”

Neferast, who currently lives in Haifa, was in the army during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and served as a police officer with the Israeli Defense Forces. She says, “It’s really hard for me to talk about it, I’ve seen people die in front of my eye, those horrible images haunt my dreams.”

Moon Daughter

Moon Daughter

Moon Daughter, an eclectic Pagan from Moshav and co-organizer of the country’s yearly Mabon Festival, says,

For most Pagans in the west, war is a theoretic notion. They have never experienced it. As I took my sleeping 2-year-old in my arms and tried to walk calmly to the closest bomb shelter, my earliest memory came to life, being with my mother and neighbors in a bomb shelter when Israel was attacked on Yom Kippur on 1973. I was four.

Moon Daughter calls upon her spiritual beliefs in attempt to understand what is happening within her country. She says:

For a pagan and a champion for peace, war in confusing and its outcomes are heartbreaking. It is a violation of the Goddess’ gifts of love and life. I keep remembering that ancient peaceful Goddess civilizations were ruined by warlike religions and either had to resort to violence as well, or perish.  Where does that leave me when I have rockets raining down on my home? I think of all the women and children on the other side and wish for all peace loving people everywhere would unite against this patriarchal culture of war.

Illy Ra, a Kemetic Pagan living in the small town of Kadima in central Israel, has become frustrated with the polarizing of opinions caused by the sensationalized international reporting. She says:

Many are not aware that by posting propaganda, they are promoting war and violence on both of the sides by using blame discourse. What is blame discourse and how does it promote war? This discourse focuses on each side blaming the other, and searches for faults as a method to win or cause damage to the other. Here comes the bystanders’ role in this war. By participating in blame discourse, through the posting of propaganda that breeds hate, the international community causes people from these countries to cling to extreme views and believe peace is unachievable.

As Illy Ra sent her response, bomb sirens and blasts were heard. All of that happening during a supposed cease-fire.

Shai Feraro, has also been experiencing the violence firsthand and recently reported on Facebook:

Woke up in 3:28 a.m. to a rocket siren here in the northern city of Haifa. No boom tonight, but the concentration of petrochimical/oil industries in the Bay of Haifa makes it a desirable target for the terrorists. Still that is nothing compared to the daily nightmare citizens of southern Israel experience, with countless attacks a day.

While we all watch from our seats across the oceans or continents, we can only know the truth from what is reported to us by the international media or by friends and family in the region. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach any Pagans within the Palestinian territories. However, as is the case with many of the Islamic regions, Pagans are very well hidden. As one person told us, “it would be dangerous for a Pagan to come out of the broom closet in that culture.” This was corroborated by our contacts in Cairo.

Photo from the Vision Camp Facebook Public Album

Over a six-day period in late July, peace workers from both Israel and the Palestinian territories attended a “vision camp.” During that time, over 50 people gathered in the West Bank to hold vigils and discussions about the crisis. The camp was called “We refuse to be Enemies” and eventually inspired the social media activist tag #werefustobeenemies. During the 6 day retreat, the group developed a vision statement which reads, in part:

As peaceworkers from Israel, Palestine and various other parts of the world, we have been holding a peace vigil in the middle of a war in the West Bank over the last several days. We are gathering here under very simple conditions, creating community life, sharing from our hearts, in silence and in tears, in the midst of shootings and bombings. We are bearing witness and trying to stay in Grace. We have been faced with this senseless killing every day….

What we all agree on is: Enough! Stop this killing. No solution can come from war! Each innocent victim of this war is one too many! We refuse to be enemies. We are calling out to all parties: Stop this war! Our feelings are beyond words, but we can no longer be silent. The civil population is being lied to on both sides, and the world is mostly silent and misled by the media…

We have decided to step out of our personal identification and look beyond all the different worldviews toward the fundamental healing of trauma. Compassion is not a question of worldview! Compassion is the emergency call of planet earth and the heart of humanity… 

During our interview, Illy Ra had the same message. “When will this war end?” she wondered aloud. She asks everyone to “avoid blame discourse” and only “promote human solidarity and peace.” She says, “How can this be done? By doing anything else, from global meditation, prayer and candle vigils for hope, anything positive that causes human hope and not human despair.”

While the civilian peace efforts continue, the current cease fire is nearing its expiration. Unfortunately, the two governments have yet to figure out how to put aside their pride, mistrust and weapons to find a compromise that would peaceably enact their people’s wishes in a workable form. As Max Fischer wrote, “Myth #11: Everyone knows what a peace deal would look like.”  Until that can happen, the coldest and, possibly, only knowable truth in this crisis is that generations of people, in two richly diverse world cultures, continue to suffer at the hands of unending conflict.

 

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Heather Greene

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Heather is a freelance writer and Pagan spirit living in the Deep South. She is currently the National Public Information Officer for Covenant of the Goddess and has worked extensively with Lady Liberty League. Heather's work has been published in Circle Magazine and elsewhere. She has a masters degree in Film Theory, Criticism and History with a background in the performing and visual arts.
  • Mojavi_8

    I agree that BOTH sides are at fault and that, yes, Hamas is a terrorist organization. However, while you write “peaceful at times”, who’s peace are we talking about? Palestinians in Gaza are not allowed to farm, fish, recieve humanitarian aid, build/rebuild homes or travel for work unless given special permission by the Israeli authorities….due to the embargo. I’m against glorifying/disrespecting Death HOWEVER, for some there, dying on their feet is better than living on their knees. Shouldn’t be surprised when you poke & prod a caged animal enough & it comes out fighting. IDF should also be held accountable for their misdeeds too. It stopped being “defense” 1,000+ bodies ago.

    • Cheyenne

      This article also fails to mention the Israeli settlement programs that have been confiscating Palestinian land for decades, pushing off indigenous residents and rewriting the maps to make it look like they never existed.

      It also doesn’t say anything about how the majority of international aid and weapons goes straight to one side of the conflict, and that is the side that has steadfastly refused to compromise or enter into a peace process with good faith. Even when Hamas won democratic elections, the Israeli government response was to declare them a terrorist agency and bomb them. What response can be mustered to that kind of treatment? Wouldn’t you expect them to simply become more extreme and violent in that situation?

      • Harry Underwood

        I think Hamas was already listed as a terrorist org by Israel long before Hamas won the parliamentary majority in 2006.

        Also, most of the settlement has been in the West Bank, where there is no all-out warfare. There are no settlers in Gaza since they were pulled out in 2005.

        Finally, Israel has allowed aid to get through to Gaza, even during the war.

        • Deborah Bender

          I believe Hamas was so listed by Israel and IIRC by the US. In any case, Israel’s other stated reason for rejecting recognition of Hamas is that Hamas’s charter says that the State of Israel’s government is illegitimate and should be overthrown by force.Tit for tat.

          I’m not saying that this was necessarily a wise position for the government of Israel to have taken, but it was consistent with Israel’s past positions toward other Palestinian political parties.

  • Oberon Osiris

    This was a beautiful article, Heather, though of a difficult and horrible subject. I recently attended the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) conference in Detroit, where people from many places, and religions – largely Muslim and Jews worked on many issues of Interfaith. A Young Adult scholar there told me of a late evening discussion between the young adults (off the Conference schedule) that basically devolved into ‘blame discourse’, much like the first response to your article. As adults, whether young or old, we need to take this article to heart and continue working towards peace. One thing brought out at the NAIN, was that our governments can not and will not listen to we, the people. We, in Interfaith, need to move beyond our governments, then.

  • Deborah Bender

    The Egyptian leader who signed the first peace treaty between an Arab country and Israel and the Israeli prime minister who took the largest steps toward recognition of a Palestinian state were assassinated by citizens of their own countries who regarded them as traitors. The majority of Palestinians and Israeli Jews have a lot in common and would be happy to get on with their private lives, but the political process seems to reward war makers.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    This is a nice piece, Heather. You went into a metaphorical as well as literal minefield and got some good interviews from Pagans on the ground.

  • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

    I do not believe that this conflict will end until one side or the other is eradicated, or gives up the claim to the land.

    I’m prepared to hazard a guess as to which will happen first. Ethnic cleansing is a dirty word, but if the boot fits…

    • Deborah Bender

      Have you thought about the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of expatriate Palestinians and Israelis living in other countries, that Jerusalem is a holy site to all the Jews and Muslims in the world, that Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have ties of religion and ethnicity with millions of Arabs who are not Palestinian, and that the Jews of Israel have ties of religion and ethnicity with at least twelve million Jews who live in other countries? How many millions more dead Jews or dead Palestinians would be enough to settle the matter?

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        I have, yes.

        Which is why I said “ethnic cleansing”, rather than genocide.

        • Deborah Bender

          If you make a distinction between the terms, I see your point. Hamas has a stated policy of expelling all Jews, and some influential right wing and religiously fundamentalist Jewish Israelis have voiced opinions about Palestinians that amount to support for ethnic cleansing.

          OTOH, several hundred thousand Hebrew-speaking Israeli Arabs are second and third generation citizens of Israel. They have the vote, own property and elect representatives to the Knesset. There are Israeli civil rights organizations staffed by both Arabs and Jews defending the rights of Arab citizens in court. And unlike the government of the United States, the government of the State of Israel has never rounded up any suspect ethnic minority and put them in a relocation camp during wartime.

          I don’t see it as inevitable that either the PA (whose economy relies on residents of the West Bank going to jobs in Israel) or the State of Israel will adopt an open policy of ethnic cleansing. I think it’s more likely that economic and ecological problems in the region will end the stalemate in unpredictable ways over the next ten years or so.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            It is like making the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

            Many conflate the two terms, but there are important differences.

  • AnantaAndroscoggin

    There are some days when I get so P.O’d. over what’s going on over there, that I just want to Nuke the entire area until it becomes the world’s largest glass parking lot. And let us not forget that most of the senior statesmen of the state of Israel began their careers as Zionist Terrorists themselves. Small wonder that they see genocide of all remaining Palestinians as something to be sought after.

    • Deborah Bender

      If the policy of the senior statesmen of the state of Israel is to bring about the genocide of all the remaining Palestinians, they are curiously incompetent at it. There are something like ten times as many Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip as there were just after the State of Israel was established in 1948. The birthrate of Palestinians in the West Bank is higher than the birthrate of Jewish Israelis. Everyone is aware that in less than a generation, non-Jews are going to be a majority of the population of former British colony of Palestine.

      Considering that the State of Israel has better armaments, better pharmaceuticals and better organization than the Palestinian Authority, if the policy of the Israeli government was to reduce the local Arab population, let alone wipe it out, they have the means. So don’t talk nonsense.

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        What is happening to the Yazidis is disgusting, but has been happening for a long time. I used to know an Iraqi Kurd who spoke about the “devil worshippers” and how they would be persecuted (he didn’t use the word “persecuted”, since he considered them the “bad guys”), and that was ten years ago.

        It’s funny how that it is only when the IS is targeting them that it becomes an issue. Possibly time to stop funding the IS?

        • Deborah Bender

          Who do you suppose is funding IS and how would you propose to stop them?

          I’m aware that the Yazidis have been persecuted for a long time, because I take an interest in minority religions. I was pleasantly surprised that the U.S. State Department has people who knew (or knew how to look up) who the Yazidis are. I was also surprised to find out that there is a 40,000 strong community of Yazidis in Germany of all places, so if the lawlessness in Iraq results in their home communities being wiped out, there will still be Yazidis practicing their very interesting religion.

          However, I’m not sure what your point is. Attempts to exile (not genocide), erase the culture and culture-carriers of (cultural genocide) or wipe out (genocide) tribal peoples in various parts of the world in order to steal their lands and resources has been going on for a long time. Attempts to exterminate or forcibly convert Jews have been going on since the Middle Ages. Attempts to liquidate the peasants and small farmers in the Soviet Union didn’t go on for a long time, because they were unable to escape and Stalin got them all on the first try. The border between persecution and genocide does not depend on whether the attempt is recurring or a one time spasm. It depends on whether the aim is total genetic and/or cultural extermination, or just reduction, robbery and expulsion.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Well, the IS were initially funded (and trained) by the US, back when they were plucky rebels in Syria. (Taliban mk.II). Now, however, it seems likely that they are being bankrolled by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey. All allies of the USA, which means it shouldn’t be too hard to apply political pressure…

            As to the Yazidi, I may have misunderstood when I first heard of them, but I was under the belief that they didn’t think that Allah/YHWH was the devil, more that Tawûsê Melek was the archangel that Allah/YHWH placed in charge of Earth.

            It is Tawûsê Melek that is conflated with Iblīs/Shayṭān by others. (I can see the connection. Even in the Bible, Satan is deemed to be prince of the Earth).

          • Deborah Bender

            You may be right about Yazidi beliefs. It’s been quite a while since I read about their religion, and that was in comparison to Manichaean and Zoroastrian theologies that preceded, not in comparison with Gnostic or Islamic religious ideas.

            The supply lines to non-state actors are a tangled mess. I find it hard to believe that the Saudi government would give any support to a group that intends to supplant the Saudis as the guardians of Mecca and Medina, but individual Saudis might be doing so, just as they supported (and may still support) Al-Qaeda.

          • TadhgMor

            That’s not true. The US never funded or trained IS. This myth has been promoted by both radical libertarian sites and conservative sites, but it is 100% false.

            The closest thing to “arming” them that happened was when they seized some mostly non-lethal supplies the US sent to the FSA in Syria, or when they seized arms left behind by the ISF in Iraq. But capturing US supplies is very different than being armed by the US.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            They were not called IS when they were in Syria, but I’ve seen several articles (not just from Libertarian/Conservative sources – I’m in England, remember) that have stated that the rebels that rose up in Syria were funded and supplied (I may have overstepped with “armed”) by the US.

            (Much like Israel is being, in its persecution of the Palestinians.)

          • TadhgMor

            I know what they were called before. I follow this issue. We DID NOT arm them, nor did we fund them. Categorically, that charge is completely false. We never even armed or funded the other groups that IS stole most of their fighters from.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Fair enough. I guess it is just more bad information, then.

            You may want to edit the Wiki page, though:

            “Under the administration’s division of labor, the State Department is in charge of supplying nonlethal aid (includes food rations and pickup trucks, not tanks and bullets), while the C.I.A. runs a covert program to arm and train the Syrian rebels.

            In June 2012, the Central Intelligence Agency was reported to be involved in covert operations along the Turkish-Syrian border, where agents investigated rebel groups, recommending arms providers which groups to give aid to. Agents also helped opposition forces develop supply routes, and provided them with communications training. CIA operatives distributed assault rifles, anti-tank rocket launchers and other ammunition to Syrian opposition. The State Department has reportedly allocated $15 million for civilian opposition groups in Syria.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_involvement_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War#United_States

            (I should point out that I consider “aid” to be funding, in situations such as this, and my own government has supplied just that, also.)

          • Deborah Bender

            Which opposition groups?

            One of the publicly stated reasons why the U.S. government did not get more directly involved in arming Syrian rebels was the difficulty of controlling where the arms would wind up.

          • TadhgMor

            The UK didn’t aid AQI or JaN either. You’re talking about aiding other groups, not the ones in question.

            The Wiki page you quoted looks generally accurate, but it doesn’t support your position. There have always been a number of groups there and we picked and chose which to work with, but AQI (the core of IS) we never did. The US had been fighting them for nearly a decade in Iraq we knew them pretty well.

  • http://saffronrose.livejournal.com/ A. Marina Fournier

    Blame never solves problems, working together to eradicate and prevent recurrence does. This is true in so many areas of life.

    It is also not just land, but WATER. The Arab nations in that region do the Palestinians no favors, BTW. In the early 80′s I worked as a paralegal for a major company, in the mid-Wilshire district of LA. Read many documents about economic changes/charges after the Neutral Zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia became Partitioned. I was really surprised at how Arab nations treated Palestinian refugees–no sense of brotherhood, the Palestinians were Other in the Oil Kingdoms, and not invited to join the tribe/nation, and instead were being ejected ASAP.

    Damning, that.

    • kenofken

      The Palestinians have been much more useful to the other Arab nations as permanently disaffected refugees/stateless persons. For decades, it have given the oil states and Egypt and others a very cost effective and permanent pressure point to use against Israel, either in terms of trying to destroy the state or, more realistically, to tie its hands regionally and internationally. They have no realistic chance of winning a conventional war against Israel and stand a very real chance of getting vaporized if they tried too hard.

      On the other hand, if you’re a Saudi prince or Iranian intelligence chief, you can finance a suicide bomber or a shipment of fertilizer and rocket parts for what is essentially pocket change. You can also fob off a great deal of responsibility for the things that aren’t working in your country as a result of brutality, inept and unimaginative leadership etc. All problems are due to Zionist aggression and the plight of the poor Palestinians etc.

      Keeping the Palestinians desperate, angry and armed has been very convenient for Israel’s enemies. Of course some of them are rethinking that because Islamist terrorism is a weapon that has has an unfortunate homing instinct. After their experience with the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt is pretty well done with Hamas and is arguably doing as much to break Gaza as the U.S. or IDF.

  • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

    It is almost impossible to cover this conflict in a non-inflammatory manner. I think you have succeeded, and for that I thank you.

  • http://www.xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

    The best response to the whole situation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRC61uGwp8k

    Language is a bit strong, so possibly NSFW.

    • http://saffronrose.livejournal.com/ A. Marina Fournier

      I have long thought this kind of conflict, often centuries old (e.g., Ireland vs N. Ireland)whether deities are involved or not, IS just like squabbling kids or disfunctional family members at each other’s throats.

      Interfaith work usually focuses on what we have in common, just as was done here. Diplomacy in these situations should also be using this tactic.

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        It is not about religion, but territory. Far harder to provide a diplomatic solution when talking about the land people live on.

        • http://paganlayman.wordpress.com/ Soliwo

          Yes just as the conflict in Northern Ireland was also never ‘merely’ a religious conflict.

        • http://www.xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

          Honestly, my response to this whole thing is that if Israel went back to the 1963 lines, AND used the original 1948 plan of having Jerusalem as an ‘international’ city (similar to the Vatican – an independent state within another nation, policed by some neutral 3rd party… like Chad. Or Norway. Someone without a dog in the fight, at least) – then maybe things could normalize there. But it won’t happen until both sides grow up.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            My response was a lot simpler – forming a new country on top of a land that was already inhabited by those who were not given a say in the matter is not just morally dubious (at best) but also a recipe for disaster.

          • Deborah Bender

            So where should the Jews have located our national homeland, Antarctica? Mars?

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            I hear there is a lot of space in Arizona…

          • Deborah Bender

            If you like the original 1948 plan, why wouldn’t you propose that the territory of Israel include everything that would have been within its boundaries according to the original UN resolution in 1948? Israel lost Jerusalem in the first place because the Arab League did not respect that resolution, declared war on Israel, and ended up in control of eastern Jerusalem at the final cease fire at the end of Israel’s War of Independence. The Arab League grabbed some land by force of arms in 1948. The State of Israel got some of it back by force of arms during the 1967 Six Day War, plus a chunk of the Sinai Pennisula which they returned to Egypt when Egypt signed a peace treaty, and the Golan Heights which Israel has not returned to Syria because Syria refuses to sign a peace treaty.

            Non-Jews often propose making Jerusalem an international city policed by a third party. This is totally clueless from a historical perspective. If you look at the way the UN, other international organizations and individual European countries have dealt with the State of Israel since 1948, they have given the Israelis absolutely no reason to trust the gentiles with anything as important as control of Jerusalem. It would be like trusting Sinn Fein with London.

            Israel has allowed the various Christian and Muslim sects to run their churches, mosques and shrines as they please and has given international tourists free access to the city. Before the intifadas, Palestinians and foreigners could pass between the Old City and the more modern parts of Jerusalem without any hassles.

            The arrangement that peace-seeking Palestinians and Israelis have proposed is to allow the older eastern part of the city to be the Palestinian capital, with some guarantees of access to all of Jerusalem to everybody. If the extremists would stand down, that wouldn’t be very different from the way Jerusalem was run when Teddy Koleck was mayor, except that there would be a Palestinian flag flying over parts of it.

          • http://saffronrose.livejournal.com/ A. Marina Fournier

            You mean the lines they had little input in? Why not 1922 lines?