Peace in Palestine

About  a week ago I posted on Facebook an interview with President Jimmy Carter about a book he has written about Palestine. It has created quite the ferocious response. As part of that I asked another person what their way forward was, and he asked what was mine. this is my response

My way forward would include not making simplistic and sweeping statements as made above, that label and demonise one group over and above other. (Hamas has the support it has because of all the work it does providing significant social welfare and educational support in an incredibly impoverished piece of land. Does that mean I support Hamas military goals or activities? not in the slightest!! There is no hope or any possibility of peace while Hamas launches rocket attacks, and Israel responds, this time in a restrained way.) My way forward is to support both Israel and Palestine, and to work and pray with all those who long for a real peace, and not just a lack of open hostilities that most of the current policies lead to at best. I firmly believe having been to Israel and spending time with Anglican Palestinians and reading various authors that the only way forward is for a viable Palestinian state to be formed, which means Israeli settlements need to not only be stopped, but mostly pulled down. They are built on land needed by that state. The "Jews only roads" that link them cut Palestinians off from each other and their farm land. They also require IDF protection. To remove the settlements returns the land, removes the need for the roads, and removes the IDF, which would no longer need to be stationed in the West Bank or in Palestinian cites like Hebron. I recognise that won't be easy, but unless that happens the Palestinian state will be no more than a number of isolated cites completely at the mercy of Israel which can and does shut them down. And that is not viable, hence the Palestinian demand for settlements to cease. This would also need Israel granting water rights from the Sea of Galilee to make farming in the West Bank viable. What might Israel get for this? My hope is real peace, and the chance to build long term relationships with the Palestinian people. I hope the nations of the world would work to create a viable Palestinian economy that allows them to dream of a real future. I would also hope that the small initiatives being worked on by various Christian groups among others to build trust between Jew, Muslim and Christian can be given significant support so that all Israelis can participate fully in the Israeli economy, and that economy is not based on participation in the IDF, and constant preparation for violence and war. I would hope that in this way 18 year old Israelis no longer have to stand guard at border posts holding high powered weapons facing angry Palestinian youths and wondering what they are to do. I would hope in this way young Israelis can go out with out their high powered weapon, which they must have on their person at all times. Simply staying in our entrenched positions reciting a litany of blame and hate offers no hope and no peace. And I would hope that the USA can be a significant player in bringing this peace to fruition, but that will only happen when Israeli political leadership is held to account by its allies. I recognise however that the West has no moral ground on which to stand as we deserted Western Jews before the second world war and closed our borders so that Jews could not escape the growing horror of Nazism.(Hitlers initial goal was simply to expel all Jews, they just had nowhere to go - as the Australian Foreign minister said at a conference about this issue, "We don't have a Jewish problem, and don't want to import one." We largely kept them closed after the second world war preferring the illegal migration into Palestine. In other words, we helped create this problem, but prefer to label others and not try to fix it. Part of the way forward is acknowledging our culpability in all this and working to find a better way.


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