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Document Purpose. This document has many goals:
- Provide a balanced presentation about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
- Help people better understand and respect the various viewpoints that exist.
- Correct for polarization and biases in the media so people can avoid developing anti-Palestinian and/or anti-Israeli sentiments.
- Provide information about positive initiatives that can help foster peace.
- Those wishing to pray for peace in the region can do so in a more informed and effective way.
Disclaimer. Those close to the conflict may be initially offended by this document and conclude, “Oh, my. Here’s another well-meaning, but uninformed outsider trying to help Palestinians and Israelis become friends.” However, the goal of this document is not to be a self-elected mediator of peace. The goal is primarily journalistic and educational through bringing diverse viewpoints into a single online resource.
Internal Challenge. Any impartial individual trying to make sense of the Middle East crisis will find it difficult to sift through the polarized news reports, emotionally-based blame shifting, and efforts to demonize ‘the other.’ Those with a pre-existing viewpoint or strong emotional investment in either side, because of human nature, will minimize the possible faults of their own side and try to shift blame to the other side. In hopes to win others over to their own view, they will skew the facts and demonize their opponent. Hopefully this document can help provide clarity about the issues.
Choosing Sides. In any difficult dispute, what most of us do is acknowledge that we don’t know who is “right” and we admit that perhaps nobody is without fault or entirely correct in their claims, but we decide to pick a side anyway and stand with that person or group. Usually people choose who they believe to be the ‘little guy’ or oppressed people and cheer that person on. Being impartial isn’t an easy position.
Sincere Warning. By taking a centrist/moderate position, you will be ostracized and accused by those on both sides as being sympathetic to their perceived ‘enemy.’ Since you’re not taking a myopic view that is 100% sympathetic with only one side, you won’t be embraced with open arms by either side. Anyone making an internal shift toward a centrist/moderate position will find themselves in a kind of social political cross-fire whenever they try to make statements such as, “Well, to their credit, the other side did this…” or “I wouldn’t say that group is entirely free from blame in this…” etc.
National Public Radio. The NPR show On Being addressed the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a radio broadcast No More Taking Sides that members of the Parents Circle – Bereaved Families Forum – a network of Israelis and Palestinians who’ve lost loved ones on both sides of the crisis between their people.
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Organizations and Initiatives for Peace
Below are inclusive and cooperative organizations and initiatives that seem to help move toward more peaceful conditions in the region.
- Arab-Israeli Peace Projects – Wikipedia Listing - contains many joint efforts to promote peace in the area.
- Jewish Voice for Peace – “Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals. JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.”
- Musalaha.org is a project initiated by an Arab Palestinian. Their executive board has an equal number of people from the Palestinian and Israeli community. They take young adult Palestinians and Israelis into the desert on a journey to discuss and wrestle with discovering peace and respect between themselves.
- PromisesProject.org is a film that “follows the journey of one of the filmmakers, Israeli-American B.Z. Goldberg. B.Z. travels to a Palestinian refugee camp and to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and to the more familiar neighborhoods of Jerusalem where he meets seven Palestinian and Israeli children. Though the children live only 20 minutes apart, they exist in completely separate worlds; the physical, historical and emotional obstacles between them run deep. PROMISES explores the nature of these boundaries and tells the story of a few children who dared to cross the lines to meet their neighbors. Rather than focusing on political events, the seven children featured in PROMISES offer a refreshing, human and sometimes humorous portrait of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”