ever hopeful (Annapolis)

Interestingly, the Israeli press has engaged this effort seriously. Meanwhile, the main discursive threads in the international press are superhype (George Bush/America to the rescue!) and dismissal (expectations low).
This is how Bush got himself elected, if you recall.
From openDemocracy, “on the eve of” the meeting comes an offering from Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan outlining the key features of a potential Israeli-Palestinian and regional peace agreement.
Prince Hassan describes the need for “genuine reconciliation. This has to start with an acknowledgment of the genuine claims of the Palestinians and the acceptance of responsibility for what happened to them.” In the everyday talk of average Palestinians, this is what they called “really peace.

The time has come to shed prejudice and build intra-societal dynamics and respect for the other irrespective of national origin, religion, and creed.

Of course this ethic applies to Palestinians as well.
The consensus is – basically – that all mechanisms and principles are already agreed and accepted. In fact, these were forged out under Anwar Sadat, Menachim Begin and Jimmy Carter at Camp David (1978) and hammered out by Arafat, Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Bill Clinton (1993). Bush needs only to inspire the finalization of what his predecessors labored to put in place.
As a relative newcomer to the finer nuances of this struggle – embarrassed to admit how little I’ve previously known of the Palestinian side, product of the American educational and news systems that I am – it seems to me that the timing is right because of Israeli fears that if they do not act now, Palestianians will drop the demand for a separate state and insist more and more loudly on a one-state solution. Everyone I spoke with already prefers this solution because Israeli’s aggressive development of settlements on Palestinian land – inside the West Bank, that is beyond the international boundary of Israel – has furthered the integration of the two peoples more than it has furthered the cause of separate, independent nations.
I’m not holding my breathe – the institutionalized torrents of violence (all forms, from symbolic to literal) and historical realpolitik maneuvering may yet be too much for mere pathetic human beings to overcome.
And then again . . . when will the ideology of non-violent resolution of human conflict and competition assert itself as a higher ideal? And who else better to model and set a new bar for the rest of us? When will there ever be better time than now?

38 thoughts on “ever hopeful (Annapolis)”

  1. I think that it is great that the issue is finally starting to be worked out as the talks begin. There seems to be an increasing sense of hope beginning in the region, and one can only hope that other countries involved will only foster a better understanding of the Middle East conflict and how it can be resolved. I personally don’t know that much about the issue, but after getting more interested in the news and the issues that are going on there now, I know that I would provide a positive contribution to the conversation about the topic. I would want to be careful about how I speak about things to Israeli and Palestinian students, as they are the ones actually in the brunt of the conflict, and I am a bystander hoping for and contributing positive things to the solving of the conflict.

  2. I think that this conference is a huge step toward peace between Israel and Palestine. It is clear that there will always be disagreements between the two countries but one things is imminently obvious: the violence has stop! The violence is hurting citizens of both countries and affecting everyday life. This conference illustrates the idea of adding to a conversation because this conference is a mold of many different countries with many different view-points coming together. It is important to describe each side of the issue adequately and to come to a compromise–although it will be hard–that will settle some of the issues bewteen the countries. But I think that the entire issue in general is a result of CONVERSATION. Like we wrote in our papers on social issues we had to describe both sides of the issue and discuss our way through what we were righting. Conversation if a sort of give-and-take mechanism that is visible in everday life, the issues between Israel and Palestine just happens to be one of the bigger issues–but a conversation nonetheless.

  3. I am sad to say I know only the basics of the conflict with Israel and Palesstine. I know they are fighting over land, one claims the land is theirs in accordance to their relgiion and the other has occupied there for many years. It’s hard to add to a conversation when I don’t know much background but I will try. I would like to extend on what you wrote because the last sentence was really powerful to me. I’m not sure if I took it out of context but I never noticed waht the statement “What better time than now” really meant. Since it is impossible to go back in time to make changes the only possibility we have to is to do something now. If we are constantly making plans for the future then things would never get done. I think it is a big step that they have decided to meet and talk about things becuase otherwise I really don’t think a solution would just form by itself. This conflict isn’t like a cut, that will scab, and go away and probably be forgotten after it has left. A problem like this needs treatment immediatley, otherwise the condition just gets worse.

  4. I agree with Steph when she says, “I’m not holding my breathe.” I doubt that just this meeting in Annapolis alone will make much of a difference. I do, however, this it is a great improvement. The fact that this meeting is even taking place shows that a resolution is wanted. Even if the meeting in Annapolis doesn’t provide this solution, it shows progress. Maybe in the future there will be more meetings like this one and hopefully, eventually, great change will come. Yes, i personally will not be “holding my breathe,” but I will be waiting. I am hopeful that a non-violent resolution can come and will soon. A human conflict can not go on forever…

  5. gphelan-not annonymous just frusterated
    Okay Palistinian-Israely conflict muffins
    I had no idea and am still pretty malinformed on the current situation between isreal and palestine I have no idea who is at fault or even what is being fought over but for some reason I’ve been brought up to think taht Isrealies have been mistreated by the Palestinians and now I dont think thats correct. I think before I give an educated or somewhat smart responce to your blog I’m gonna need to learn some more about whats going on over there. However I do want to say taht I’m glad that they’re thinking about getting along lets all hope Bush cant fuck this up.
    Oh and steph your our next messiah lets hope you dont have to go like the ones before you, I hear crusifiction sucks.
    Love, Annonymous Frusterated Pat

  6. Like PBandJelly21 I too don’t really know what is going in with Israel and Palestine just that they are fighting over land and religion is an issue. Similar to PBandJelly21 I do not think there is any better time than now because as steph said, “Israeli fears that if they do not act now, Palestinians will drop the demand for a separate state and insist more loudly on a one-state solution” it would not help the situation if no one took action. What I am also wondering is that if plans were laid out before why doesn’t Bush just finish it? All that work done before him would have been a waste if he does not take action.

  7. Had Steph not brought up the subject of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, I would probably not have given it a second glance. But since she has, I find myself intrigued to learn more about the issue. As of right now I am confused with the whole situation. I think I need to go back and research about the history of the conflict so I can catch up with current events. All that I have read in Steph’s blogs give the impression that this conflict is intense and that neither side can really come to a compromise, which is a shame. One could only hope to sit down for dinner to discuss and solve the issue, but that is childish thinking. Either way a conclusion must wrap up the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The use of timing is key, but when do we ever know when the appropriate time is? All I hope is that one day this conflict will be over and done with.

  8. The best solution for Israel and Palestine is to unite under one country, however I think it will take a really long time for that to happen, if it happens at all. This people have been fighting for a really long time so i don’t think they’ll just welcome each other with their arms open, at least not this generation. I do agree with PBand Jelly21, this problem needs treatment immediatly. It also needs a lot of support from other countries.

  9. The conflect between Israel and Palestine has been in action for many years. They flight to each other all the time, kill thousands civilians, and destroy numberless houses. The reason is both of them want to protect their “saint land”. Both of them say they love their gods; they cannot lose their land. But the other people outside Israel and Palestine do not believe their statement. Many of them may think if they love their “saint land”, then they should not flight to each other. When they do it, they already against their gods’ belife. Proctecting their “saint land” is just an excuse. Both of these two country want to earn more land, in order to build up their economy and their position in the world.

  10. Reading this I am reminded of how complicated the situation is in the Middle East—it is easy to forget that there is a Palestinian side to the story. I share yout sentiment of being “embarrassed to admit how little I’ve previously known of the Palestinian side, product of the American educational and news systems that I am” (par. 6).
    It is sad how situations are slanted and hostility is created under the auspices of modern multimedia. The style of news that is so common surrounding controversial issues makes it difficult to formulate an individual view/understanding of said controversies. It is essential to do research in order to form an opinion, and in doing that research it is imperative to question one’s sources for credibility and bias (otherwise the opinions that one forms are not their own opinions, are they?).
    I do find one thing you said rather tough to fathom: “Bush needs only to inspire the finalization of what his predecessors labored to put in place.” (par. 5)
    Now I’m no expert on foreign policy, nor am I a learned political analyst, but I do have some common sense. Think for a minute (or several): is a leader who has caused unrest in the Middle East(whether or not that “unrest” is necessary is your own decision and a topic for another blog comment or post) going to be able to inspire peace among its nations? I know that when someone does something that negatively affects me in some way it is difficult for me to be much more than civil—let alone trusting or inspired—for a certain period of time. Bush will certainly have to work harder than if there were no American military presence in the region to facilitate a peaceful solution between two groups that have been fighting for what seems to be forever (maybe because Israel is older than me by a few decades). Hopefully he will be able to inspire a positive and peaceful ending to this turbulent chapter in Middle-Eastern history, and turn the page to a chapter that is more understanding, patient, and accepting of difference.
    Just like the title of this post, I am “ever hopeful”.

  11. The first idea that caught my eye here was the concept of “genuine reconciliation”. I’ve never heard the word before and so I was forced to read further to understand what was meant. Prince Hassan declares that genuine reconciliation is crucial for a lasting peace. He goes on to say that to begin there must be an acknowledgment of “genuine claims”. This type of reconciliation is what the Palestinians call “really peace”. These words: really and genuine, indicate that honesty and truth are the building blocks of peace. The ability for the Palestinians and Israelis to acknowledge each others claims and actions and take responsibility for them shows that they are ready for peace.
    Lastly, when asked, “when will the ideology of non-violent resolution of human conflict and competition assert itself as a higher ideal?” I first think of Ghandi. He is the role model for non-violent protest and effective means of affecting change. However, in my opinion, a reason that the Indian non-violence movement succeeded was largely because of foreign sympathy which pressured the British Raj to retreat. In the issue of Palestine and Israel, I believe that because this conflict has been continuing for so long and that violence has become so commonplace, especially in the middle east, that the ability to force foreign countries into action from pity or shock has been diminished too greatly to accomplish anything.

  12. I also do not know much about the situation between Israel and Palestine but from this, the problem seems a little ridiculous. On Bush’s part at least. If it was all layed out for him, what the heck is stopping him from finalizing it? Somebody really does need to set the higher bar for us, there is wayyyy too much chaos and pointless fighting going on for these “mere pathetic human beings” to deal with. SERIOUSLY. I just think it needs to be solved and done with.

  13. Actually I get confused about the conflict between Palastine and Israeli, I should have look up to the History between them first.And I also feel strange because why the American President–Bush has being mentioned in here.Is it possible to maintain peace between Palastine and Israeli?I don’t think so because they had conflict since a long time ago.Thus, I think they may prefer to use violence to slove the problem, which is the situation that I don’t want to see at all.Anyways, I just don’t know why we still have war.

  14. I like PBandJelly21 and e388 before me, have no real right in getting into the nitty gritty of the whole Israeli/Palestinian conflict because I don’t have a good enough grasp on all the nuances surrounding the situation. As I was reading Steph’s post, I was thinking how as a twenty-one year old college senior I am surprising uneducated on this matter. I know it is our own responsibility to become informed, but it’s somewhat surprising that this topic has never before come up in any of my college or high school classes. For years we have been inundated with news stories and terms like: Israel, Palestine, Ariel Sharon, Yassar Arafat, peace talks, conflict, etc. It was not until now that I had any interest in researching the topic to become more educated. It really donned on me that it is my responsibility to educate myself rather than wait around for someone else to introduce it to me and that there are important things going on in the world that we will not be taught about in school.
    On another note I find the whole situation ironic. Both of these groups, the Israelis and the Palestinians are fighting for what they believe is theirs. They consider this land to be holy and thus they are entitled to it. I find it strange that religious groups find the use of violence justified when it supports their cause. It baffles me much like the Crusades and all other holy wars. As a non-religious person I find it very strange that both sides cannot come to an agreement that will result in the preservation of countless lives and also the preservation of the exact land they are fighting for. Do they not realize they are ruining the sacred land they love so much?

  15. PBandJelly21 starts off by saying, “I am sad to say I know only the basics of the conflict with Israel and Palesstine.” This is true for me as well. However, I want to add something new to the conversation from what I know of this (mostly from my dad who is talks about it on occasion due to his interest in Jewish culture and Israel as a whole). Odin states, “I believe that because this conflict has been continuing for so long and that violence has become so commonplace, especially in the middle east, that the ability to force foreign countries into action from pity or shock has been diminished too greatly to accomplish anything.” This is where I will begin to add my piece into the conversation. I know that this argument has been going on for so long that it seems like no solution will ever come to the surface of the argument. Steph states, “when will there be a better time than now?” This really made me think not only about the issue at hand but the fact that everything I do I have to make a decision as to whether I am going to put doing something to change me or the world for a later date or am I going to tackle it now? There really is no time like the present to accomplish things. Life is so random and you can be thrown for a loop at anytime. We always hear this, but when are we actually going to come to terms with it, and deal with it rather than wait until it is too late? The last paragraph that Steph rights talks about what I think is a calling for the younger generations to step up and finally do something rather than saying we’re going to do something! People always complain about how things are unfair and not right or just- but how come not enough of us get up and try and fix it? When will we learn that large scale action might breed change and solutions. And if not change and solutions, then a greater awareness. Which sometimes, can be even more powerful than changing things.

  16. I know more of you have tried to post and the system locked up for some reason. Please try again.
    Do you notice the beginning of any patterns? PBandJelly, e388, and anon136 agree that “now” is the time to do something toward change. The “something” could be “greater awareness” (anon136), stop using the “saint land” for an excuse (winglsammi), “sit down for dinner” and “come up with a compromise” (PinkPanther89).
    Odin is skeptical change is possible because of the history of oppression. (Do you know how long ago systematic discrimination and prejudice against Jewish people began BEFORE the Holocaust?) I realized last night that, while Israel is “what it is” (“done” by its government in this aggressive way), is the result of millenia of conditioning to a certain way of being in the world: e.g., with the expectation that violence will be directed at them, period, inevitably, no matter what, simply as a matter of time. The Palestinians, meanwhile, have had no such lengthy history encompassing generations. If one made a parrallel between an individual trauma and group-level trauma, the Palestinians are roughly still in shock.)
    PBandJelly made the analogy of a cut needing treatment right away, otherwise the scarring will leave permanent damage. Yes, and… individuals do recover from disabling events. They adapt, adjust, realign, and otherwise accommodate their range of potential to their ethics and aspirations for living. The question is, how do aggregates of people engage this healing process? How do cultures evolve? How do governments enable this evolution, and on what bases?
    Winglsammi suggests religion is not the deepest reason for the conflict, rather it is the drive for land, the need to establish sustainable economy. As with many conflicts in the world today and throughout time, persecution of religious belief is a “cause” that becomes a “reason” for aggressive/violent action against others, hence reinforcing the “reasons” that justify/rationalize the persecution to continue. Vicious cycle. Where does it end? More precisely, WHEN does it end?
    “I have to make a decision as to whether I am going to put doing something to change me or the world for a later date or am I going to tackle it now? There really is no time like the present to accomplish things. Life is so random and you can be thrown for a loop at anytime. We always hear this, but when are we actually going to come to terms with it, and deal with it rather than wait until it is too late?”

  17. While it sounds like there is much agreement among us that we’re relatively ignorant to the “finer nuances of this struggle” (Steph everhopeful), it also seems like there is much optimism (on the part of Steph and others who have commented thus far) for these talks to be productive. I am glad to see such optimism here in the states and hope there is similar optimism in Israel and Palestine. It seems like we have many questions and I have a few of my own. I heard a little bit on Valley Free Radio (103.3) about Hamas, the majority political party of Palestine, being excluded from these conversations. I haven’t heard much about this in mainstream media though. I wonder why this is. The “finer nuances” are difficult to catch up to speed on, but I imagine if a majority (what I got from the little reading done on Hamas’s wikipedia page) support Hamas, who is not a part of these conversations, then any agreement decided upon in the states by the PLO and Israel may not have sticking power among the majority of Palestinians.
    I too hope for some non-violent compromise, but feel like I am missing a lot of the important details to understand how this might be made a reality. I would love to hear both Israeli and Palestinian voices to know what people on the ground there feel would work. It can be difficult to talk about these difficult topics, but if we can’t talk about it… I’d rather not think of our other options. I am glad to have a public conversation about this issue. This is not the sort of thing I’d bring up at Thanksgiving Dinner (although if I were not so polite and non-confrontational I might like to).
    Steph, when you say: “this is how Bush got himself elected, if you recall,” what are you referring to? Did Bush originally run on a campaign promise of mid-east peace?

  18. Reading this entry, Israeli-Palestinian and regional peace agreement, even from the way day talk everything is peaceful. But from the shed prejudice ethic, it has affected to Palestinian. Palestinain always protect their land, because they treated their land as god. I was little confusing that Bush wants the labor to put in place why involve to palestinian. Unfortunately i did not know anything about palestinian side, but they always keep it peaceful, becuawse they believe in god. but if they do not take the perfect timing to act anything from now on. From the Isreael’s aggressive development of settlement of Palestinian land, they would lose the land easily. That’s the basically summary that i understood from this essay. One more thing, don’t ever pass a good timing on anything. When right time comes, its the right time to do the best thing.

  19. Bush ran a campaign of “low expectations” regarding his debate performances against Kerry, that’s what I meant. 🙂
    Hamas came into power because they were able to take credit for “pushing” Israel out of Gaza. A few weeks ago (while I was there), they killed some members of the opposition party, Fatah, which many would say is “the majority party” – it’s the party of Arafat, and the one most popular in the West Bank presently. Hamas still refuses to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. So, their exclusion is deliberate. I’m not sure whether I agree or disagree with this, I did meet a few people who think Hamas presents a viable alternative and real challenge to Isreali occupation, but I was not able to converse long enough to find out why. Almost everyone I met in the peace/non-violence movement is aligned with Fatah.
    Meanwhile, some other thoughts I wanted to respond to include the idea that Bush himself could “do something” and/or otherwise “make peace happen.” I do not think he or the US has THAT much power, and want to be cautious in making that kind of inference. Still, there is real economic clout that could be brought to bear if the political will exists.

  20. “I’m not holding my breathe” Steph writes and Amen to that. While I respect and admire the prospects for peace both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are attempting to seek out (supposedly), not much if anything was accomplished at this conference. Major issues were barely mentioned and ways of implementing solutions to them were not on the agenda. What about Jerusalem? Both Israel’s claim of an “undivided city” and the Palestinians instistance of holding onto the temple mount, a major Jewish religious site, hardly seem reconcilable. On top of that you have the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees, a major notion held by Hamas, a ruling party in the PA. If implemented, it would mean the end of the state of Israel once and fore all. So why does Hamas still hold onto this notion? Hmmm… But of course, we barely hear about the right of return for Jewish refugees that were kicked out of Arab countries at the same time that Palestinians were kicked out. Are their rights less valid?
    While such major issues are hard to tackle now, hopefully such issues can just be compromised over. That’s probably the only way a true and lasting peace will be achieved.
    I must say though that after reading this after the conference was held, I was fairly shocked. http://pmw.org.il/bulletins_nov2007.htm#b281107

  21. I am also sad to say along with PbandJelly21, that I am unfamiliar with the conflict between Israel and Palestine, I have studied the conflict a little in COM387, but not in detail as Steph must have understood it with her first hand experience. I agree with PinkPanther89 when they say, “The use of timing is key, but when do we ever know what the appropriate time is?” Both these countries seem challenged with the idea that in the past one can conquer the other. Religion and government, from what I understand are pieces of this complicated puzzle but when two countries rival it is always easy to blame what is most controversial, that being religion and government actions. When winglsammi says, “They fight to each other all the time, kill thousands civilians, and destroy numberless houses..both of them want to protect their “saint land”. It confuses me to think such religious individuals, who consider themselves gods children, yet destruction of another human life is worth the satisfaction to gain ownership of land. Maybe it is because I do not understand the conflict as mush as I would like. However the fight for land from American Indians in the US to British in Africa will always confuse me. I am also a little confused quoting likeboldcolors when she says, Steph, when you say: “this is how Bush got himself elected, if you recall,” what are you referring to? Did Bush originally run on a campaign promise of mid-east peace?
    Hopefully peace is ahead for these countries.

  22. I must say i am confused on the matter of israel and palestine. It seems that i have always heard that isrealis were the victims. However recently i have seen a video that says otherwise. I most definetly would like to see peace it seems that the first problem to be solved should be the prejudices of other countries. Just by my own experience, countries seem to be taking sides. If this did not happen and people new the full truth of what was happening i think that the support would help bring palestine and isrealto a state other than war. That is the only thing that is important.

  23. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has always been in the news as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that I have paid all that much attention to it. Obviously, there is much need for peace in a conflict that has gone on for so long. Odin says that, “These words: really and genuine, indicate that honesty and truth are the building blocks of peace. The ability for the Palestinians and Israelis to acknowledge each others claims and actions and take responsibility for them shows that they are ready for peace” (Comment 5). The acknowledgment of claims for both sides seems to be a step in the right direction. Existing peacefully and acknowledging claims are two completely different things, though. Groups of people fight for hundreds and thousands of years for different causes, and they still continue all the time. This conflict between Palestine and Israel, though, always catches people’s attention. From what I see, there always seems to be something extreme happening. Whether it be “extreme” violence or them being “extremely” close to an agreement. This extreme nature brings a lot to the table and can create a very intense atmosphere. This is something I’d really like to follow much more closely, as there are so many serious issues involved that I can’t just keep talking being so uninformed.

  24. rockets’ link to an Israeli organization, Palestinian Media Watch – http://www.pmw.org.il – feeds the monologic of war. (This group was not represented at the conference I just attended. They say they operate under the rubric of “peace”, but I do not see any evidence in their website of talk that could lead to peace, I only see talk that vilifies the other side.)
    Yep, meanwhile, the Palestinians are still struggling among themselves. “Breaking News” via the news station I visited – http://www.pnn.ps/ – includes headline stories of Palestinian police attacking Palestinian protestors of the Annapolis meeting, as well as several military actions by the Israeli army against Palestinians, including a photojournalist. Here is my question: what does lobbing accusations and highlighting only the bad DO to HELP PEACE?
    Some of rocket’s comments function in the same way. This kind of talk feeds into the sense of the extreme that metalcircus mentions. How grounded in facts-on-the-ground and the complexity of double-standards are broad generalizations made about the right-of-return, or the omission that next to/also on the Temple Mount is one of the holiest sites in Islam? In fact, agreements have been hammered out on these precise questions – they are absolutely “reconcilable” IF we (people everywhere as well as in the region) decide that reconciliation is preferable to war. Metalcircus agrees with Odin, saying: “The acknowledgment of claims for both sides seems to be a step in the right direction.” Metalcircus adds, “Existing peacefully and acknowledging claims are two completely different things…”
    One further step beyond acknowledging claims politically is to begin to talk about these claims as mutually real and practically reconciliable. Where do you focus your gaze and critique? I’m not saying ignore the political infighting or religious fundamentalism (on both sides, please), but do you want to be part of a change or do you want to keep fueling the dynamics that keep the conflict locked in place?

  25. Israel and Palestine have been fighting over land, religion and other things throughout history. The fact that most Americans don’t know a lot about the issues is understandable because Americans have their own lifestyles that deflect our views on issues around the world. As Steph said in class Tuesday, we are on a cushion that is made possible by what we call third world countries. Our life of luxury here as U.S. college students is a complete different culture and lifestyle than that of 20 year olds in the Middle East, and we all take that for granted. The fact of the matter is that we are spoiled on the account that people are dieing in other parts of the world. Most of us don’t realize that or appreciate it. Steph is right, the younger generations in America need to be active in finding a non-violent way to bring peace to the world. It is important for more people to realize there are bad things happening other places caused by problems that can’t be fixed by a few scholars, it is going to take a much deeper and more complex effort.

  26. I understand the basic issue; that two groups of people are in a violent struggle over the same piece of land. Maybe my lack of understanding connects back to what Steph said in class on Tuesday about how well Americans have it in the United States. I am fortunate enough to never have had to struggle for anything in my life. All the necessities have been provided to me and my quality of life is high. If I were in the same situation as the Arabs and Israelis, who knows how I would act.

  27. I agree with most of my classmates when they say that they do not really know much about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. However what I do know is that something needs to be done for the sake of those poor Palestinians. However I agree with likeboldcolors when they say that it is not our responsibility. Like they said “I do not think he (President Bush) or the US has THAT much power”. It is true some things are just beyond our countries control. Bush has enough things going on here with the mess we have in Iraq it is not the United States responsibility to resolve Palestinian’s problem. However something does need to be done and it needs to be done now. Like PBandJelly21 said, “If we are constantly making plans for the future then things would never get done”. It is true when everyone keeps saying tomorrow, tomorrow never comes. What better time than now to find peace. I know this is easy for me to say because I am not involved, and it is more complicated than just simply declaring peace, but my point is something needs to be done soon.

  28. I feel a little guilty to say that I don’t know much about what is going on between Israel and Palestine, besides the basics. I guess I am just contributing to the stereotype of the ignorant American. I do believe, however, that peace would be a good thing (who doesn’t?) but is it really plausible to think that it could happen overnight? Putting and end to the fighting and making up legal documents that say the conflict is over won’t make peace, I’m afraid. Tension like this can last centuries. Old prejudices are present in the US as well, from the racial tension echoing from the years upon years of slavery during our country’s birth, to the waving of Confederate flags and cruel subtleties present among us since the Civil War.
    Of course it would be wonderful if Israel and Palestine could put an end to the conflict. As Steph says, “I’m not holding my breath.” But big changes start with small movements, so I like to hope that an end will be put to this sometime in my lifetime, so maybe in a few hundred years they can truly be peaceful (after all, we aren’t still angry with the British, right?)

  29. As many responses to Steph’s post, such as PBandJelly21, e388, and anon136 read,””I am sad to say I know only the basics of the conflict with Israel and Palestine.” To tell you the truth, this holds true to me as well. I wish that I was more involved, or even paid closer attention to international news and
    conflict. Steph illustrates, “as a relative newcomer to the finer nuances of this struggle – embarrassed to admit how little I’ve previously known of the Palestinian side,” I think we are all learning something new here that we maybe have never thought about before. On occasion, when I watch the news, I realize how constructed it is. The international flow of news is somewhat misleading. We, as Americans, form impressions on distant places based on the news media. I feel as though, the media is a poor medium for dealing with complex issues. The use of news discourses, or the means by which individuals and groups map/reproduce/contest sociocultural relations, only give us a slight view to the “window of the world.” We can never truly tell what is going on because the news feeds off of its ratings, and clearly anything unexpected or violence related is taken to the extreme. It seems as though only the negative sides of the story are shown to get a rise out of the news reader. Steph is actually doing something about this matter. She has gone to Israel/Palestine and has seen with her own eyes what is really going on. Taking a non-violent stance is what we all need to do. Likeboldcolors says, “I too hope for some non-violent compromise, but feel like I am missing a lot of the important details to understand how this might be made a reality. I would love to hear both Israeli and Palestinian voices to know what people on the ground there feel would work.” Compromise is sometimes hard to do. If we work together with a purpose and common goal we can achieve solutions!

  30. Like Steph, I too, am a newcomer in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Besides
    what American newspapers and television has told me about the Israeli-
    Palestinian conflict, I really have no idea what is happening over in the
    Middle East. The fact that I know nothing about current problems in these areas
    and my government/tax dollars are involved, does not settle well. I did see a
    movie last semester about Jewish and Palestinian children where their everyday
    lives and beliefs are profiled called Promises. This documentary is beautiful. I was amazed at the knowledge these
    children have on political topics. I remember thinking when I was that age I
    had no idea about politics, I’m just learning them now. It is very sad to see
    that these kids need to immerse themselves in that kind of world, whereas I had
    a carefree childhood, and I worried about getting caught during a game of tag.
    We all live in this world and affect each other whether we know one another or
    not. Like Steph said, “we live on a cushion of luxury” in the U.S. and a
    filtered media keeps our worries at bay. After class, last Tuesday, I left very
    depressed because I looked at my problems and they have no comparison to a lot
    of others. I live a grand life and I feel selfish to even stress about my life,
    where I should be looking at the big picture. For instance, what I buy in the
    U.S. affects thousands of others, like in China.
    After last class and hearing about Steph’s experience in the Middle East, it’s
    unfortunate that I am unaware of many Global conflicts because it is hidden
    from me in the mess I call American media.
    “Even before the two sides &emdash; or three sides, or 49 sides &emdash; meet
    Tuesday, critics have declared Mr.
    Bush’s Annapolis gathering the photo opportunity…” So is this just a photo
    opportunity? It seems like the American Press is approaching the peace
    conference between President Bush, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President
    Mahmoud Abbas, as more visual, using agreeable images during the conference to
    show how our government is working with the Israeli’s and Palestinians. Our
    media is using pictures more than the serious content of the issues discussed.
    Myself and all American’s should be aware of what is going on over in the
    Middle East since the U.S. is occupying it. I’d also like to note that since we
    are using it primarily for military benefits, that the country could become
    much like Hawaii and be directly involved, not that it isn’t already, within
    the U.S. government and politics.
    Steph raises an important question, “when will the ideology of non-violent
    resolution of human conflict and competition assert itself as a higher ideal?”
    but if you look back at many presidential add campaigns, such as … many can
    only see violence as the answer to survive. Why is that?
    Political ad campaigns, such as President Johnson’s, don’t offer any
    alternatives besides violence. “These are the stakes, to make a world where all
    of Gods children can live. We must either loath each other or die” (Johnson).
    Daisy Girl.

  31. RE what w26s said – “(after all, we aren’t still angry with the British, right?”, the better analogy is of course “after all, the Indians are no longer angry with us, right?”.

  32. What has happened between Isarel and Palestine?I get confused and why the article has to mention about President Bush?Can peace be the only way to solve the problem?Why we had to have war?When they can end up the conflict?I do not understand the reason, I mean they are adult and they should have their own thinkings, they should understand what they should do.I still hope that there is peace in the world.

  33. I’m not informed about the recent summit, but I’d make a couple of general points about the issue
    1) Have a look at any map available of the region
    http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/6761/palastinianlandloss8tz.gif
    Palestine has been divided into various factions that operate via check posts controlled by Israeli army. Their settlements have also been robbed of natural resources (e.g. water )
    2) Look up data about amount of explosives used by either “side” (or the body count). its hard to get but hardly difficult to guess
    there are no two sides to this conflict.. there is just one side

  34. Echoing what has already been said, I am embarrassed to admit that I have a relatively low understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a twenty-one year old college senior, getting ready to graduate in roughly six months, you think I would have a better understanding of what is going on, especially considering so much of the United States’ foreign aid is directed at this conflict. I know that from reading previous responses and talking to friends, I am not alone in my ignorance. It comes as no surprise that I or anyone of my age would be so uninformed on this issue. Since the Israeli-Palestinian land conflict has no direct implications for me and many of my peers, we have less reason to research the issues. Like Steph said in class on Tuesday, we are really isolated from the turmoil of the rest of the world. The constant bombardment of news stories on the conflict has had a negative effect in a way. Since there are so many stories on the issue we are inundated with information and often overwhelmed. I think many of us know a little of the background information surrounding the conflict, the fact that two groups of people are fighting over land they consider holy and their own, but other than that we have no clue what is going on. I take half the blame on being ignorant, but it has me wondering; why has it taken so long for this issue to become a teaching point in my educational career? I have not once been taught about the ins and outs of what is going on in the West Bank. Is it because teachers think the issue is beyond us at such a young age? Or are they too overwhelmed with the information coming out of the Middle East? I have to thank Steph and her introduction of this topic for the desire to educate myself on this issue through my own research.

  35. 1000 words in a visual. Thanks Neil.
    I resist agreeing with you that there is only one side. Maybe this is simply naiveity, or maybe I’m missing a larger metaphor? I argued at the recent DUO II conference that even peace activists are caught up in the monologic of war. Is violence the “only side” that you meant? Doing violence, being violent, understanding violence as the only option – obviously many believe in violence as reasonable, otherwise there could be hardly be so many justifications for every single atrocity whether initiated institutionally by governments and militaries or microsocially by individuals banding into groups.
    A year ago, The New York Sun Times posted a story, “Israel’s Time of Deja Vu.”
    http://www.nysun.com/article/44299#comment
    The reporter, Hillal Halkin, received several comments to his suggestions, including the accusation of being naive. He writes matter-of-factly about making peace with a Hamas-governed Palestine. Now, this year, the peace would be with a Fatah-governed Palestine. Of course, democracy (such as it is these days) means Palestinians could go back-and-forth from election cycle to election cycle between these two parties, just as the US switches back-and-forth between Republicans and Democrats.
    This insistence on dealing only with a preferred internal political group, instead of acknowledging the literal reality (and practicality, let alone all the social justice implications), is one of the major ways other nations have toyed with the people who live in the region. I do not know if the leaders who met at Annapolis will be able to maintain such a broad lens and forgo the game of violence. I do think that if those of us who want the violence to end persist in developing our own discourse and rhetorics, we will build a new logic in keeping with humanity’s capacity for higher aspirations.

  36. I don’t know much about the conflicts in the Middle East, but after reading the blogs and responses I want to help. All the talk of “now” made me want to do something, but I don’t know where to begin? I agree and ask the question “but when are we actually going to come to terms with it, and deal with it rather than wait until it is too late?” One thing I did feel hopeful about came from a book I am reading in another class called “Voices Of the New Arab Public” (by March Lynch) He says that because of the new Arab Public Sphere many more people are informed of what’s going on in the Middle East. Before this sphere of influence most Arabs were unaware of the issues going on in there own lands. Most Arabs don’t know what the real issues and truths are because their governments have been censoring the information. Many had pre-conceived notions of what certain states believed in and after hearing the truth were able to change and make their own opinions. With new satellite T.V and Al-Jazeera Arabs can obtain the information needed to inform them of the truth, they are allowed to see both sides of the arguments. This is already helping to make a difference that’s where I think the change and action can and is starting to occur.

  37. “Here is my question: what does lobbing accusations and highlighting only the bad DO to HELP PEACE?” (Steph) If only the bad is being showcased to the rest of the world, I can only assume that is it a way for that specific party to vent on issues they feel are being ignored or devalued. It is very much similar to what El Hassan bin Talal was describing in Peace is not Reconciliation, “Reconciliation mechanisms include truth commissions and victim compensation. Addressing claims by both sides as to the wrongs they have suffered in order to settle the record and avoid the festering of claims is desirable.” In highlighting only the bad, it is being stated that reconciliation has not been reached, and that despite of ‘peace talks’, what is at stake: a person’s religion, land, and identity, have not been completely addressed. So in a sense, highlighting the bad DOES help achieve peace. Confront all discrepancies and wrongful doings, so that actual peace can not only be attained but sustained in the long run. An interesting comment that anon136 made was that “People always complain about how things are unfair and not right or just- but how come not enough of us get up and try and fix it? When will we learn that large scale action might breed change and solutions. And if not change and solutions, then a greater awareness. Which sometimes, can be even more powerful than changing things.” Unfortunately, many of us (Americans) are apathetic and when something evokes emotion in us it usually pertains directly to our own lives, such as not having the right dress for prom. In the case of greater awareness as an alternative to change and solutions (although as noted, it can be more powerful than both change and solution) I can refer to Hawaii’s recognition as a kingdom. Unfortunately, I highly doubt the United States will grant Hawaii their independence, but the fact that they have been recognized by the World Court as a Kingdom, is power in itself and brings awareness to the rest of the world. Awareness to what and exactly what does awareness produce? Well in the case of Hawaii, awareness sheds light onto the wrongful doings of the U.S. in its unlawful continued occupation of Hawaii. It just proves a legitimate injustice by the United States, a country arrogant enough to think that they can ultimately change the situation in the Middle East even though they barely have racism under control within its borders. Jena 6 being one of its recent examples. “Meanwhile, some other thoughts I wanted to respond to include the idea that Bush himself could “do something” and/or otherwise “make peace happen.” I do not think he or the US has THAT much power, and want to be cautious in making that kind of inference.” Steph, I couldn’t have put it better myself. As far as the effects of awareness, we can only hope that once everyone is aware of what is right and what is wrong, that which is determined wrong by the masses (not just a President, Republicans, and a few Democrats) is not repeated and reinforced.

  38. I think that peaceful conflict resolution has already become a higher ideal. Ultimately, wars are solved more and more through peaceful ends. The United Nations was formed with ideals of peace and international harmony at heart. With that being said, it will always be human nature to fight for what is wanted or thought to be deserved. When people get mad at each other, they raise their voices and sometimes they raise their fists. In the international sense, when nations get mad at each other, they impose sanctions and sometimes send out troops.
    The point is that peace exists and always has. It’s just that war always has as well. To think that peace is the end all solution and to think that societies can live in total peace without conflict is merely naive. Conflict (with or without violence) drives the international system. That conflict can be as simple as debate between two delegates of opposing nations all the way up to full out war but everything is conflict driven.
    The real goal should be to find a way to solve all conflicts quickly and peacefully and to find a way to lessen the scale of conflicts so that human life is not lost.

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