Jan 30, 2016

Advise to Palestinians

I posed the question to readers a while ago as we moved from 2015 to 2016: "What would YOU advise Palestinian to do? I am genuinely curious as to how many of my readers have constructive advice based on what they know of geostrategic structures, capabilities etc." I received dozens of answers including some really very insightful commentary. Every Palestinian should read at least these 26 sample responses [now over 60] from smart activists: 

"I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free... I will always work for human rights for all people.” ― Rosa Parks
Let this quote be your guidepost and maybe the truth will set you free.
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in a nutshell - Oslo is a Zombie. i.e. it is long dead but still walking. so, the obvious thing to do is simply to bury it. Close down the masrahiyeh. Bold steps are needed. The very best, in my view, would be to close down the Sulta once and for all. The only option that, I believe, threatens Israel's delicately balanced "stability and normality" of the occupation. It is a bold and stark step back in some ways, so Palestinian leadership would need to open up a true discussion and get consent from the people for this step. No more acting on behalf..If less dramatic steps would turn out to represent what an informed Palestinian public truly wishes, then aim for less. But surely no more "extend & pretend" (Varoufakis) that currently we would still be walking down a path towards "statehood" (sovereignty, let alone freedom or justice)
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The leadership seems inclined not to ask and not to discuss and not to change course. So, then - just like everywhere else in the world - it becomes the people's obligation to form a will and impose it on the leadership......an organized campaign for this tricky task to from a will, certainly requires not only mass participation but also (new or revived) organisations..
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I believe that while Israel holds the (earthly) power, Palestinians hold the key (pun intentional). Israel has taken the position that it is interested only in solving (or "managing") the situation so as to serve its own people's interests. This is so entrenched and understood that no one even mentions or considers it, but it leaves Israel tremendously vulnerable. "Interbeing" is the reality of our existence, period. We are all one. That the stronger regime refuses to acknowledge it, does not make it be not so. I believe that to counter that, Palestinians might (could, should, must?) take the position that they are interested in solving the situation so as to serve the interests of all concerned -- not least because that is by far the surest way of serving your (their) own interests.
To date there has been some writing published in this vein: While we get free, we'll free you of your guilt/shame/burden/shadow etc. But I think a lot more can be done in this direction. From the soil of Palestinian suffering and sumud can come the flowering of a new way of co-resolving our situation. It has to start somewhere. Why not in Bethlehem? (Good vibes...)
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Surely to change the narrative, to have many Palestinians to dedicate efforts to that aim toward both the west and the arab countries (and this last is a full other chapter, of which I know too little to dare to say much more than ..I believe there is tearing inside, a great pain and questioning, and at the same time anger for those that are muslims and a great difficulty also for all minorities in beliefs. But there is also an incredible social tension around corruption justice and freedom, and because of the extreme poverty of the majority in some countries, first of all egypt, there is also a request for social improvements if not yet justice.
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I firmly believe that the answers to overcome the conflict have to come from the inside of the Palestinian society (meaning Gaza, West Bank, '48, refugees...), an agreement on the strategy to follow in order to prepare a better future for the Palestinians, but including a broad consensus on what Palestinians want. What I would advise to the Palestinian leaders is to try to get leverage on Israel and US through the BDS campaign to change the conflict. I think that the global solidarity movement with Palestine keeps growing and it could turn the BDS campaign in a powerful tool to transform the conflict. So the Palestinian leaders should be closer to the campaign and coordinate their actions with the campaign. It this way, Palestinians would benefit from the advances of the campaign in form of political power in front of Israel.
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I have long despaired of the way the Palestinian leadership fails to use the media in terms of presenting in a professional way the issues facing Palestine to those of us in the West. There must be western educated Palestinians who could do this and challenge the slick media trained people the Israeli government is able to use. So my first suggestion is to recruit suitable people to carry out this task. Secondly I suggest that using such people, the leadership should issue a plea to the international community for protection of Palestinians, particularly those living in Area C. This protection could be in the form of a UN/EU sponsored multi-national civil force which would be tasked with the protection of civilians in Area C and, with a development fund provided by international donors, help Palestinians to reverse the damage done by Israeli policies and enable economic development. The plea could perhaps begin with this: “ Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy”, a report published by the World Bank in 2013, has shown that more than half the land in the West Bank, much of it agricultural and resource rich, is inaccessible to Palestinians. The result, according to the Bank, is a disastrous loss to the Palestinian economy of about US$3.4 billion. It goes on to say that if businesses and farms were permitted to develop in Area C, this would add as much as 35 percent to the Palestinian GDP. Development would in the long term reduce dependency on foreign aid. It could continue with a clear explanation of how Israeli policies have affected Area C.
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If, and I know this is a big IF, everyone who feels the way we do would write to newspapers, legislators, church leaders and keep on writing, often and loudly, perhaps we could finally generate enough noise to wake folks up to the point that their very own tax dollars are in part responsible for the outrage. It seems like such a small thing to do, but as little people in a community, we need to combine our little voices to become one big one. Some churches are quite active, but church membership these days seems to be waning sadly. I hope that someone comes up with a great idea for better ways than this to get the word out and creaet the changes that are necessary. I'll be reading every word you print, hoping for a breakthrough.
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I believe that it might be useful to hold a referendum of Palestinian opinion concerning the single-state/two-state alternatives and proceed from there. With a Palestinian state acceptable to Israel, it is certain that the Palestinian people would be allowed no sovereignty over their airspace or coastal waters nor would they be permitted any defence capability. Likewise, control of precious water and other resources would be much more in the hands of the more powerful Zionist state than could ever be exercised by what would inevitably be a vassal state of Palestine. In 1947/1948 Palestine was already too small to partition and today further division of the decimated non-contiguous and pathetically tiny remnant is unconscionable. There are Israelis who advocate a single-state solution, probably one of the best known of them is, of course, Miko Peled. There needs to be a worldwide single-state movement developed along the lines of BDS and, it is to be hoped, operating in parallel with it. But that's just my opinion!
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I greatly respect the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa, which has been copied in several other countries. It's not perfect, although there's no perfect means of dealing with fascism, genocide, etc. ……With Israel and Palestine, some one is going to have to be the last victim, unavenged, if there's ever going to be peace……Of course, an effective Truth and Reconciliation process would need more than apologies and admissions, the living conditions and structural arrangements would have to change. Merely saying "sorry" while continuing occupation is not tenable. In the long run, the occupation is dependent on concentrated fossil fuels, as the oil declines so will the ability of high tech militaries to function.
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We can and must imagine a different future where Israelis and Palestinians work together to produce a unique experiment in democracy in the region. Here again I fully concur with Ian Lustick who says: “ In such a radically new environment, secular Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank could ally with Tel Aviv’s post-Zionists, non-Jewish speaking Russian-speaking immigrants, foreign workers and global-village Israeli entrepreneurs. Anti-nationalist ultra-Orthodox Jews might find common cause with Muslim traditionalists. Untethered to statist Zionism in a rapidly changing Middle East, Israelis whose families come from Arab countries might find new reasons to think of themselves not as “Eastern,” but as Arab. Masses of downtrodden and exploited Muslim and Arab refugees, in Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel itself could see democracy, not Islam, as the solution for translating what they have (numbers) into what they want (rights and resources). Israeli Jews committed above all to settling throughout the Greater Land of Israel may find arrangements based on a confederation, or a regional formula more attractive than narrow Israeli nationalism.”……
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Palestinians must demand their freedom themselves. BDS is improving the understanding and acceptance of the Palestinian position in European states, and even in the United States. But BDS is not enough because it is something done by Europeans and Americans. BDS is not a Palestinian activity. BDS will not be enough. Palestinians must demand their freedom with continuous, massive, non-violent protests. Israel will violently attempt to suppress these demonstrations. But the Palestinians must keep coming. Imagine if 100,000 Palestinians marched from Ramallah to the Qualendia crossing on Friday morning and demanded to go to the Al-Aqsa mosque to pray
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….In the Year 2027 Israel will be a state of Zealots, and all Secular Jews will be mainly in Central Germany (3rd Israel). I can guest, the end of "The Glorious Israel" in the Kingdoms of David and Solomon! Until now Israel had succeeded in beating us because we were unarmed and weak. …..Now they have realized that we can hit back hard, and the fun of the game is over! Conclusion: all what you have mentioned is the reality, but I add : The "Homo sapiens" is the biggest blunder the Evolution had ever made! Our wonderful planet would have been much better-off if the Evolution would have stopped by the Chimpanzee, Gorilla and Orang-utan! I do still believe that Palestine will be ours, sooner or later - perhaps not in my life time!...............
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Rudyard Kipling’s first 4 verses
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools

Restiamo humani!
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I believe that a Third World War has already began - a war against the people constituting a crime against humanity. We may not be dying in the UK , as people are in Palestine, Syria, Eastern Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan. Kurdistan, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, Somalia....., the list goes on, but as we see our freedoms eroded and our government representing, not us, but an entitled elite which encompasses a Zionist/ fascist ideology, I fear for our future.., I fear for the future of our children and grandchildren. Mazin, you are most definitely on the front line, but you are not alone. All of humanity is being threatened. Our strength comes from our numbers and from the rightness of our cause. I once heard a refugee say that we needed to create a global chain, then rattle it so that the din we create is so loud that those at the top of the pyramid will shake with fear. Maybe the vibration of our angst will shake them from their perch so that they tumble down and join us in our humanity.
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What I would advise the Palestinian leadership to do is to assemble the best legal team and move in a determined fashion (no backsliding under pressure) to put the settlement issue before the ICC. I read that they now say they will consider doing this - but there can be no backing down! Unlike Israel's aggression against Gaza - where the court can say that it cannot get involved because Israel is conducting its own investigations - it is difficult to see how the ICC can fail to rule that the settlements are
illegal under international law. This would put a major spoke in Israel's wheels and could thwart its most frenzied efforts in the hasbara department. If not now, when?
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Palestinians should [take away fear of violence from Israelis and ] make it clear that they are not all Muslims and that Zionism is in process of destroying what is left of Middle Eastern Christianity. They should never cease to remind the world that the Jewish and Christian communities survived and thrived through more than 13 centuries of Muslim rule and that the greatest danger they faced was from the Crusades.
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Palestine should first get sufficient strength, before engaging with Israel, otherwise there is no use of getting killed many people. Your museum project is nice, educate the people through it.
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I can only say or suggest what might affect us to better help you to work out your own solution. But I know that right will win in the end whichever way it turns out - one state or two. Restiamo humani and hope springs eternal. I send this brief paragraph to you in all humility and with our continuing prayers for peace and reconciliation between all faiths and creeds. I read this little excerpt today that I thought you would appreciate. It is a short thought provoking quotation from an Red Indian chief called John (Fire) Lame Deer Sioux Lakota: “Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore, among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent, or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to civilized property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.” which all goes to show that all that glitters is not gold or put it another way that money and materialism doth not make the man.
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I am surprised at your optimism about PA figures wanting to do something new, at least I think that is what you are saying. I would be very cynical about that. Maybe you were saying rank and file Palestinian leaders like you. What is required to build a mass movement is to break the law, which I doubt anyone in authority, even PA "authority"' is prepared to do. No doubt very many Palestinians and some Israelis are ready to do something, but it must be under leadership that is not tied to the politicians and capitalists who are currently in charge. I liked your suggestion of mass uprisings against the wall as one tactic, or check points, and some Israelis would join. Bet the folks in Budrus would too. If it is like here, the reason things changed in Ferguson was because the young people refused to listen to the misleaders like Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or the local clergy who told them to be peaceful and rely on the courts or voting. Once they began and continued a mass militant movement it sparked the frustrations everywhere. Now the task is to maintain the movement without it getting sucked back into the system, which will probably not succeed at this time except with small groups. So that's the task as I see it, build militancy while ingraining the goal of an anti-racist, non-capitalist society. A long, arduous, but necessary task. Anxious to hear how you do.
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I recommend focusing on one and only one message to all audiences, that all people (Jewish or Israeli or German or American or French, etc, depending on who you are talking to) are good people who agree that-- while Jews have suffered from persecution throughout history-- it would be wrong to expel peaceful non-Jewish families from their homes to create a state run by and for Jewish people. It is wrong to mistreat anyone, whether Jewish or not Jewish; that was the lesson of the Holocaust. All Palestinians refugee men, women and children must be allowed-- encouraged-- to return to their homes immediately to live in peace and equality alongside Jewish families. Nothing more, nothing less.
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I agree that having Palestinian leaders shift all emphasis to the creation of a workable one state solution that respects diversity and human rights of all citizens would seem more viable to sway popular opinion in Canada or the US in favour of.
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I do not believe that Israel will ever give up the West Bank or Jerusalem (or the Golan). I feel that the Israeli plan, with the cooperation of the puppet PA, is to allow for the creation of a Bantustan style of Palestinian state in small parts of the West Bank. As part of this action, the Zionists will do a "land for peace" deal and will transfer a bit of Israeli land, along with most of Israel's Palestinian-Israeli citizens, into this Palestinian statelet, and of course, Israel will transfer all of the settlements (colonies) into Israel. By using fascistic laws on the few remaining Palestinian-Israeli citizens, they will control and or drive them out, and so keep Israel as a racist state for many many generations to come. As such, I feel that the only hope for the Palestinians is to dissolve the PA, and legally hand complete authority for the West Bank and Jerusalem back to the Israelis (the Zionists), and turn it all back into "occupied territory and people" as per international law. Then, the Israelis will either be forced to incorporate the West Bank and Jerusalem, and it's Palestinian citizens, into Israel, which in the long term would mean Israel would become a majority Arab state, or they will have to ignore any semblance legality, and unilaterally transfer (drive) the Palestinians out of Palestine (and Israel) and seize their land. The key will be whether Palestinians will be able to wrestle control of the PLO/PA away from Abbas and the other puppets, before they sign a sell-out agreement with the Zionists. Sadly I think Gaza will continue to be cut off from Israel and the West Bank, but will hopefully be left in relative peace someday soon, especially once it's marine border is opened. Perhaps someday in the distant future, Gaza will be able to join a truly democratic and majority Palestinian controlled Israel, but that would be a very long ways down the road.
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I think that Muslims need to make museums everywhere they can in the Western World to show what is happening in the Middle East and specifically Palestine. I suggest that they construct museums next to Mosques in the United States, Canada and Europe for starters. One of the big problems that the Palestinians have is that the Jews around the world are very good at keeping the world from finding out what is really happening in Palestine and to Palestinians everywhere. Also, they say that the people united will never be defeated. I believe this is true. What would Israel do if all the men in an area marched toward a check point to take it over or destroy it? Would they Jews attack the check point? Just suggesting a possibility. What would they do if all the people in a village tried to tear down a fence or barrier? There is also silent and peaceful resistance to policies you don't like.
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1. The PLO should declare the Oslo Accords are dead.
2. The Palestinian Authority should dissolve itself since
a. It never had any authority
b. It relieved Israel from the costs of administering the occupied West Bank
c. It was at the mercy of its funders, the US and its allies, who continually threatened to withhold funding if it didn’t toe the line
d. Is guilty of spending 21 years in futile negotiations while Israel move 650 thousand colonists into the West Bank
3. People should be mobilized to engage in peaceful resistance
4. Reach out to the 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel
5. Emphasize the unity of the struggle of the 6 million Palestinians in occupied Palestine: those in the West Bank, Gaza and Palestine 1948 by calling for a non-sectarian state in Palestine
6. Promoting the goals of BDS (ending the occupation, equality for all and the return of the refugees) in all Arab and international forums through solidarity groups
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I am distressed by growing anti-Arab Islamaphobia, which only makes a reasoned approach to settling the Palestinian Question even more difficult. Humbly, I suggest to my Palestinian brothers & sisters to stay the course of an intellectually based legal and ethical presentation of the inescapable merits of advocating for a fair & just Palestinian homeland. Few can argue with an ethical quest for national liberation…..as we all, at some time were part of such a process. I am heartened by both the swelling global support for Palestinian rights/justice (albeit small) AND the foibles of the Israeli government….plus the right-wing settler movement showing its true colors of racist hatred & violence. Sadly we watch the cognitive dissonance of so many settlers allow the committing of crimes once ascribed to the former torturers of Jews. As much as it pains me to see this…..it does have the predictable effect of reflecting a comparatively more flattering light upon the mainstream Palestinians who simply want the American/English/French/German/etc dream of autonomy, 2 flat screen TVs and a car in the garage. Do not squander this opportunity to show yourselves as the humans I know so well. Do not allow the marginal minority to spoil the soup. Secure your alliances with similar movements which already have support in their respective countries.
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My suggestion is to insist on culture and literature meeting and knowledge also like your life project reserve the nature of Palestine Land. Making weekly meetings under the name of Literature and Culture will help build one opinion and education and preparation for new generation with one and unified opinion and understanding for what we need and lack. Palestinian people has never been mindly unified or having real real unity for stable future life. Unless the Nakba happened, every city or area were living away from being a one nation. Now they have a vague unity about returning back to Palestine but without any way of planning or thinking how. The unity in mind is very important. So we have to make Cultural Societies in every big and small cities and towns. Then make weekly meetings just to talk or read poetry or speakers or lecturing and publish the results on internet and may be books distributed free to people and to schools and universities. We need college students and professors to participate in the plan. All outsiders will be able to do any favor to Palestine. The Palestinians themselves must do the job and the world will respect and support their deeds and struggle like South Africa. I sill ask or you may know the only people that have no central Cultural Association are the Palestinians. Amazeegh and Kurds and other races are much and better arranged and prepared to self rule or freedom better than us who've been suffering for over a 100 years. It is painful and regret for those who know about the case.
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I don't know what the answers are but I think I know WHERE they are. We met with Israeli groups and Palestinian groups as well as groups containing both "sides". Thy had many good ideas, but the Israeli govt opposes them and does not want to give them exposure. If they encouraged them and encouraged press coverage, things could have changed, though it may not be possible since Israeli has confiscated 90% of the land.
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Some Palestinian-Americans -- and other advocates of justice for the Palestinians -- should compare (and maybe this has been done often) what the early U.S.-American settlers-colonialists (in expanding their grip
on north American territory) did to the indigenous people. They were placed on reservations, as you know. Howard Zinn wrote about this very forcefully.
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HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF PEOPLE COMPLAINING ABOUT OCCUPATION !
RESISTANCE IS A FINE ATTITUDE, BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH . ALL PALESTINIANS SHOULD BE READY TO BE IMPRISONED FOR CIVIL REFUSAL OF ALL OCCUPIERS`` LAWS AND LET THE WORLD SEE HOW THE ZIONISTS ARE TERRORIZING THE PEOPLE UNDER OCCUPATION.
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Palestinians and Arabs in general are doing so so much already, using direct action to resist, risking their lives on a daily basis, attempting to survive an ongoing genocide by Israel, the West and the Gulf Nations. The burden is not on Palestinians and Arabs. The responsibility should be on people elsewhere of good conscience to use ALL of their privilege to force their governments, military and corporations to end the invasion, the genocide, to end zionism. In the U.S., people, left-wing activists and all, derive immense financial benefits from the ongoing invasion and genocide. People should renounce these benefits, get focused and grounded, and sacrifice their privilege and take nonviolent direct action. The problem with the above is that is what people in the West should do. We're not doing it and it's hard for me to foresee, short of some rare holdouts and martyrs, it happening in my lifetime. Could there be a cataclysm, natural or man-made, that could quickly rewire our colonized brains and launch us into action?
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In today's world where communication is everything, the Palestinian struggle needs some "re-packaging" to stimulate a renewal of interest all over the world. BDS has been a very fruitful campaign since 2005 but it's already 10 years old, and it also needs to be "refreshed". The opportunity is coming soon to revisit the message: the year 2017 is a huge historical anniversary, as the 50 year of the occupation but also the 100 year of the Balfour declaration, and the 70 year of the UN partition plan - pointing to the global responsibility, of Israel, of the UK and the Western world, in the whole conflict - so an opportunity for the Palestinian not only to say ENOUGH is ENOUGH but to engage citizens of the world - yes, why not a democratic debate online where everyone can join? - to launch the second century of this Epic Journey, after a first century of tragedy, launching a second century of hope and construction of a future turned towards justice and inclusiveness in the land of Canaan - which by the way is the key question of the 21st century everywhere: how can we learn to live all together in all of our diversity and differences, and how can humankind grow into humanity?
I would be happy to continue this conversation with you at some point
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I have just read all the comments and replies right to the end. I found them interesting and helpful when I infrequently come across a vocal Zionist here. I'm not in a position to advise Palestinians. The best I can do is support BDS, call on my local Archbishop to ask the Synod to do the same (which I have done unsuccessfully -- he sits on the fence because he knows the Synod would vote No), write the occasional letter to politicians, and exchange my Free Palestine badge for my Israel Terrorist State badge, which I am about to do now.
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It's simple. All Americans have to do it to cut off ALL aid to Israel! However, as you know, that's not simple. But that's what we have to work for...fight, fight, fight for the truth so that we can convince our country to cut off all aid to Israel.
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As a non-Palestinian American Jew, I read them, to look for ideas how I can support Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and equality.
For me, it comes to being willing to confront hate and intolerance when I come across it.
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האינתיפאדה של הסיכנים לא יכולה לנצח ורק מחזקת את הימין בישראל. יש
להחליפה בהתקוממות עממית נוסח האינתפאדה הראשונה ולסלק את הרשות ולהחליפה
בהנהגה ראויה שאינה משתפית של ישראל
המאבק צריך להיות בעד מדינה אחת דמוקרטית עם שיבת הפליטים תוך מאבק למען
חברה שוויונית ולא קפיטליסטית
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By every means possible (non-violent and violent) continue your resistance: Rebellion, national liberation, free Palestine.
this is a fight that in the face of the overwhelming forces against us requires that we follow those possessed by sublime madness, that we become stone catchers and find in acts of rebellion the sparks of life, an intrinsic meaning that lies outside the possibility of success. We must grasp the harshness of reality at the same time as we refuse to allow this reality to paralyze us. (Chris Hedges)
stay human, end Israel, Free Palestine
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...This brings us to the crux of the matter. If we look at the power wielded by tribal Jewry in the Western democracies, not only in the English speaking Old Testament besotten cultures, but in France, Germany etc., we are always impressed that a mere 2% of the population, more or less - in some cases considerably less - has managed to wrest de facto control of the political, economic, media and educational spheres. All of this power is focused on fanatical support of the State of Israel. It is not that the majority of Jews wield this sword - most of them just go along to get along, particularly as they are constantly being bombarded with tribal propaganda and it so psychologically satisfying to seem to be, at least, part of an exclusive club. But the small number of wealthy, influential, dedicated Zionist Jews and the rest of the ZPC (Zionist Power Configuration) who actually run the show may finally be losing their grip, albeit just a little bit. The traditional progressivism of young Jews has begun to surface again, and they are flocking to Palestinian support groups and the BDS movement.

35 comments:

  1. I don't pretend to understand the complexities of the Palestinians situation so be gentle in your response ! I feel privileged to have visited and shared with Palestinians and I have, as I believe all Christians are led to have, a bias to those who are oppressed in whatever form that comes. As I live in the uk day by day I become more convinced that those of less influence, less wealth have to become involved in the bigger politics of their particular situations if anything is to change. I have what I believe is a moderate view of life of societies, I belief in acceptance, in welcoming those of other persuasions whatever they may be, as long as the shared intent is a place when we can all live grow and flourish. So- I do not understand why a Palestinian Authority has no consent of the Palestinian people, why it is not the unifying force of a people under occupation, perhaps seen more as a collaborator than a unifier of the people it is supposed to represent. In sharing the intolerable circumstances faced by Palestinians and advocating for change in the apartheid policies of the Israeli governments regime it is a so much weaker position when there is not a Palestinian Authority that has clear positions and a majority support for those positions - behind which the rest of the world can align. There is much on social media that shows the horrors but little that I encounter of the constructive propositions behind which the Palestinians and indeed us can unite - in prayer, in action, in lobby, etc.

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    1. First there is a "Palestinian Authority" only in name since it has no authority (subservient to Israeli occupation). It is like a prisoner committee for Gaza Prison (Hamas) and for the West Bank prison (Fatah). Prison guards still the Israelis. Second, on issue of violence, please read this http://qumsiyeh.org/chapter8/

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  2. Since there is a clear lack of political skill and political will between the primary state actors (US, PNA, Israel) their needs to be a dialog between civil societies. Because of normalization - the dialog that maybe 'needs' to happen can't/won't happen but a dialog between the respective US and Palestinian civil societies needs to take place (regardless or in spite of the fact that the US is the main proponent supporting the 'conflict'). I suggest that this dialog can be an extension of the vibrant arts community in Palestine - particularly those groups who focus on rebuilding personal, cultural and collective identities such as Jenin Freedom Theater, AlRowwad Cultural Center, Ashtar Theater, Palestinian Circus School and others. Thus, there could/should be a prolonged civil society engagement based in the performance, display and culinary arts between US and Palestinian civil societies as a way to counter both the inept or unwilling governments and the narrative (of orientalism) perpetrated and perpetuated by the main stream western media.

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  3. Support for Palestinians from ordinary people in the world depends on people knowing 1) that Palestinians are fighting to end a racist policy of ethnic cleansing (not to deny Jewish people the right to live as equals to non-Jews under the law in Palestine) and 2) that Palestinians (in the great majority at least) oppose the deliberate targeting of violence against non-combatants, such as ordinary Jewish civilians; but they support the sensible use of violence in self-defense against those who use violence to oppress Palestinians, such as IDF soldiers and the armed civilian settlers who attack Palestinians. To make point #1 clear, Palestinians need to denounce the practice of so-called "friends of Palestinians" (such as the leadership of Jewish Voice for Peace) who obscure point #1 by SUBSTITUTING the (otherwise good) demand to "End the Occupation" for the demand for the Right of Return (to end the ethnic cleansing.) To make point #2 credible, Palestinians need to explicitly condemn those Palestinians (such as Hamas) who do indeed deliberately target violence against non-combatants (such as Jewish civilians in Sderot and, in the past, civilian victims of suicide bombers). These attacks on Jewish non-combatants should be denounced as a) morally wrong and b) beneficial ONLY to the Zionist leaders by helping them to claim to be "protecting innocent Jews from barbaric anti-Semitic irrational homicidal Palestinian terrorist hatred."

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    1. wow. i agree with everything you say EXCEPT the part about condemning hamas. westerners again telling us what we should do... (this is not solidarity).

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  4. In my post above I referred to so-called friends of Palestinians and gave as an example the leadership of Jewish Voice for Peace, who--despite the rank and file of that organization voting at their last conference to explicitly support Right of Return--do not highlight Right of Return in their web publication. Other so-called "friends of Palestinians" who do the same thing include the Ha'aretz columnists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy. Ha'aretz is a pro-Zionist newspaper and its (undeniably eloquent) columnists only use their eloquence to oppose the Occupation, never the ethnic cleansing that is manifested in the Israeli government's denial of the Right of Return to the Palestinian refugees. As long as Palestinians treat these Zionist so-called friends as if they were true friends, then the people of the world will remain ignorant about what Palestinians are fighting for--ending the ethnic cleansing. And this ignorance is what allows the Zionist leaders to maintain sufficient support in the world to get away with their criminality. The Zionist leaders argue that the Occupation is necessary to provide "security for the existence of the state of Israel" and they challenge critics of the Occupation with, "You're not opposed to the existence of Israel, are you?" People of the world need to clearly know that the "existence of Israel" is code for ethnic cleansing and that the right answer to "Are you opposed to the existence of Israel?" is YES! But JVP and Amira Hass and Gideon Levy and Uri Avnery et al prevent people from understanding that the right answer is YES, and this allows the Zionist leaders to maintain sufficient support to prevail.

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  5. I think we're all doing fine and have our retirement packages clearly in view. In short, let the next generation worry about it. Is that the consensus of the above opinions? PA is corrupt, mass risings would be unstoppable, legal principle is being ignored, Zionism is world-toppling.
    One thing is missing from the above: Zionism is part of European imperialism, which has been going for five hundred years and shows no signs of slowing down.
    Okay, now that we see the problem (what about that old nasty China that refuses to be governed by Western missionaries and their "Jesus opium" any more, and see needs a "pivot to the Pacific", a.k.a., "rebalancing"?--see The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley), let's talk about the solution. A bad guy is already under too much pressure, so he obviously isn't thinking clearly. How do you get him to calm down and take notice of his situation? First thing: talk to him, not about him. Second, care about him: "How you doing, Mac?" Third, give him good advice. In this case, "Do you, Israel, honestly think this is going to lead to anything other than a re-Holocaust? If that's what you think is coming, try imagining something different, that, in short, God doesn't hate you. Now doesn't that make you instantly feel more comfortable, just eliminating that assumption that God hates you?"

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    1. And let me make that three-step process of depressurizing the bad guy much more concrete. What you want the guy to do is take a deep breath, like you do when you catch yourself getting wrapped around your own axle and tell yourself to give yourself a break, come off your high horse, give the moment a chance. So you can say to the bad guy, "Take a deep breath," but you also have to stand there, stay there, and make sure the guy follows through. That will entail considerable improvisation. How do you convince that guy to momentarily let you be the voice of her conscience, sufficient that she would accept that she needs to take a moment to let the situation speak for itself? First, you have to believe that it's possible.

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  6. Large groups of Palestinians should gather at check points and sing "We Shall Overcome," one of the anthems of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and they should keep gathering and singing it all over Palestine. This will get media attention and will change the image most Americans still have of Palestinians as a violent people that "poor little Israel" must protect itself against. The Palestinian struggle must be won in the hearts of Americans, not on the ground in Palestine.

    Andrew Reilly, former English teacher in Bethlehem and Jenin.

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    1. The thing is, whenever they get close to these terrible checkpoints, Palestinians are risking their lives. These days, "israelis", feel they have the right to murder any Palestinian; man, woman, child, just because the world has pretty much ignored the fact that they do this.
      SO I would not suggest Palestinians amass in groups to sing, "We Shall Overcome", as much as i would like to see them overcome this horrific, genocidal, occupation.

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  7. These interesting comments to your question « what would you advise to Palestinians to do » inspired me to give also a comment:

    Since the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish
    state the world has tremendously changed.
    The First Intifada in 1986 « stones against tanks » reminded us westerners that there is a Palestinian problem. Israel kept successfully hidden its oppression. From the moment on we were correctly informed - mostly by alternative media - what is really going on on a daily basis in the occupied Palestine, the whole Arab world was hit by the West and Israel (as a specialist against Arab resistance) with aggression and demonization carrying a war against « muslim terrorism ». This situation distorted the Palestinian struggle for freedom and fundamental rights to the representation of Arab terrorism.

    The Palestinians on the path for freedom and recognition of their rights showed enormous willingness to compromise and gave up 87 percent of their land for freedom, peace and recognition. This great sacrifice did not bring even the slightest hope for their basic rights entrenched in the UN charter of which Israel, the occupier, is a signatory.

    The last and most effective Palestinian initiative is the BDS call. We can say that the Palestinians used all the tools (from the armed struggle to the Palestinian Ghandis) to liberate themselves from their colonial burden. The Palestinians indeed inspired us and should advise us.

    Now, as the whole world is in an economic and social turmoil provoked by the Wall Street banking cartel which by the way owns the Pentagon and the NATO as its armed force, the Palestinian struggle for liberation and dignity became the symbol of the global resistance to ‘the power of the few’. The Palestinians are now part of a global struggle against a neocolonial system which is resolute to enslave all of us, without any exception. The war against terrorism eclosed to a war against the resistance to slavery of all human beings. In the worst case a depopulation program (Agenda 21) will be enacted. There should be no doubt about the cynism of the rulers (elected or not). We have all witnessed their barbary.



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  8. Dear Masin,

    Thanks for your interesting 'internal' views on your magnificent country in your blog, I followed over the years since we once met in the lunch room of Bethlehem university. In these long years I did never react personally, I enjoyed your comments, and could not add something essential. Above all, I wanted to understand, and what can I add to the many things already said and written about maybe the most difficult tension point in our world, living myself in Europe.

    But after years of academic project collaborations with both Birzeit and Al Quds universities and having had the opportunity to visit Palestina many times, after helping 3 Palestinians in obtaining a PhD at my "home" university, after speaking in confidence with many 'non-leaders' Palestinians, I feel that one important problem is incompletely handled in the comments on your blog: the problem of the internal inequalities within the Palestinian society. And for this the Israeli government and the occupation is not the only to blame. Inequality is a point we should all be worry about also in Europe.The one-procent-society is strengthening everywhere. But the Palestina-variant is special because of the situation of war for more than half a century.

    The "internal divide" in the Palestinian society is very large. Just one example: one of my contact persons has four different passports. It enables him to visit the world without any restrictions even taking Tel Aviv airport, make a jump through the special next-to-Kalandia gate to take the better quality Israel-fuel, send his children abroad to study in the best universities, ... He was an high ranked PLO officer. The problem is not that he does some illegal. the problem is that he can do what only a few Palestians can. I can write the same story of other Palestinian officials I met between 2009 and 2015. Many students and 'non-officials' told me - in silent evening hours, with the promise never to cite them by name - pointed at thhis and also other structural injustices such as the richness collected by those allowed to make commerce with israel. The extra money, "lost on the way" in goods, materials, services, electricity, digital communication systems, and you name it ... There are too many people who have personal profit of the situation. I recall my father who lived the second world war: "in whatever war many of the occupied become very rich on the back of their co-citizens". I have the impression that not all Palestinian leaders are looking forward to a solution, they would loose too much.

    So my advice would be, diminish internal inequalities. Make the internal relations and division of power more democratic, more open, .. And by the way, the same problem exists in Israel. This is not a real democracy, but a military country, with unequal rights for women, for "those who think out of the official lines", and so on. Political diversity and transparency are a long way-to-go, everywhere in the world. But also for Palestine and their fantastic citizens,
    I am on their side, but not to the same extent on the side of the political leaders and 'executive inner-circle'.
    Rik Verhaaren, Belgium

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  9. Mazin, I hope you are doing well.

    I'd love to engage at length on the question you pose, and also emphasise that, whilst people around the world are full of helpful ideas, anything suggested from internationals should not take agency away from, or dictate to, Palestinians.

    Having said this, I would offer advice based on comparative conflict analysis. Specifically, I believe there are a great deal of lessons to be learned from Northern Ireland in terms of peacebuilding and a genuine peace process that works for the majority of those invested in it - and even for those who aren't.

    It would take a great deal of time to go over individual issues, but if you look up some of my articles on +972 Magazine you'll see where I'm coming from on a number of issues. Since those articles, I have of course developed further ideas and I'd love to send you my reading list sometime if you're able to get hold of the books in Occupied Palestine.

    On a separate issue, a friend of mine who met you years ago when we were in Al-Walaja together is looking to contact you. Could you send me up-to-date contact information for you to gspedding01@qub.ac.uk? Thanks in advance.

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  10. Thanks for the offer to receive suggestions.

    At the time of the Trail of Tears, Cherokees were told to march off from Georgia to Oklahoma. Most, defeated, were resigned and began their trek, hoping to save lives and their culture. Others felt that was a betrayal and remained, resisting, hiding in the countryside. Which advice would you give? Can anyone give advice to people suffering from impossible choices? My response is to support both Cherokees who entered the trail and those who stayed in the hills.

    I have actually resented the way people who are not directly involved feel that they can offer advice freely. In the 80s so many peace activists advised "mutual recognition," badgered the PLO to recognize Israel and then Israel would recognize the PLO, as if everything were equal, everything "mutual." It's not. It was hard to resist offering advice - but such advice ended up leading toward the disaster of the Oslo Accords. Should Palestinians support the PA? Should they reject the PA? Support Hamas? Etc. None of my business. As a Jew my advice goes to fellow Jews, which is simply: Stop! Save yourself from greed and the presumptions of superiority. But I refuse to enter into internal Palestinian disputes. You are facing impossible choices - and I support however you decide to survive and seek freedom.

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  11. The best thing the Palestinian Arabs can do for themselves is to stop trying to destroy Israel and start trying to live in peace.

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    1. And how would they do that?
      You Zionist Jews have stolen their houses, land.
      You make it extremely hard for Palestinians to even travel to work and school
      Your soldiers wilfully murder Palestinian children
      You Israelis are OCCUPYING Palestinian land.
      Get out of the West Bank (all of it), and ask the UN to provide the protection you imagine you need.
      It is time for Israel to make a very big peace gesture.

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    2. Stein is a racist tribalist but like all pirates and colonialists, it is necessary for hims to blame his victims. Elite whites in South Africa under apartheid also said precisely the same thing about Zulus.

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  12. Hi, Mazin. You probably won't like this but I think it needs to be said, and seriously considered.

    Thinking the Unthinkable: A Lamentation for the State of Israel - Well, Not Exactly
    https://sites.google.com/site/onedemocraticstatesite/archives/thinking-the-unthinkable-a-lamentation-for-the-state-of-israel---sort-of-by-roger-tucker

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  13. I'm an American so my government and my taxes are the mainstay of the Israeli state and its dominion in Palestine. This being the case, I don't feel I have any business advising Palestinians how to deal with that state. My business is to advise the US government and my fellow citizens to stop writing checks and committing people and resources to support that state. The Palestinian diaspora is worldwide and well able to generate advice on the impact that various resistance strategies will have on public opinion here. We here in America can and should talk with Palestinians here but our main business is not to hand out advice to them but to figure out how to turn our country's policies around. — bill cunningham

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    1. Bill is absolutely right. We Americans cannot advise Palestinians anywhere (except the ones living in AmeriKKKa). We need to change public opinion in our own country about Palestine, and change Congress to end its total, knee-jerk subservience to the Zionist state. Did I say that won't be easy? I think it might not even be possible, but we have to try.
      As for Palestinians anywhere else, all we can tell you is that you must survive. Right now, that alone is defiance of the Zionist plan of genocide of Palestinian Arabs, which is what you are facing.

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  14. Dear Mazin,

    Thank you for soliciting comments. Mine echo some of the above. Engage the Palestinians, including leadership in the question of the goal. It seems to me it ought to be one secular democratic state with equal rights for all. If that is the consensus and clearly promoted, perhaps the U.N. and European countries (and eventually, the U.S.) will stop the futile steps toward a 2 state solution. I think the PA and the U.S. are the biggest obstacles.

    As you know, "the arc of history is long, and it bends toward justice.

    Blessings on your consistent, faithful, tireless work for justice.

    With gratitude and prayers,
    Florence Steichen

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  15. I strongly suggest both sides inviting in NONVIOLENT PEACEFORCE to help promote lasting peace,and solutions.

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  16. Gosh, Mazin, I remember you asking for advice on what Palestinians should do, and responding that it is the last thing I would think of doing!
    But I will push myself and see if I come up with anything.
    First of all, there has to be a strategy to address the current uprising of the youth, whom I see as willing to risk death in order to proclaim as loudly as they can that the current situation (i.e. occupation and no future) is intolerable.
    Such a strategy must come from as unified source as possible, and I don't know how to name that source: grassroots activists and intellectuals in coordination with the youth. I know the youth are not organized, so that presents a dilemma.
    The strategy might then find allies both in Israel and in the international community, much as BDS has.
    The strategy must include a way to deal with the PA and its oppressive, collaborative forces. This is even a bigger dilemma.
    A major challenge for the youth is that any non-violent strategy will take time. The youth won't wait, but they will be willing to talk.
    That's the best I can do. Now I will read the other voices.

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  17. The problem with Palestinians is their lack of unity, they became like tribes with different leaders, and each one of them believe that he is the best....Such attitude is like carrying water in a basket, all their efforts end with Zero...

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    1. How would Palestinian Unity help?
      You talk like a troll who wants to blame Palestinians for the atrocities committed by Israel
      Before daring to be so rude on a Palestinian site that is working to unify Palestinians, you should introduce yourself, and tell us where you live, and tell us why you have acquired such a negative and contemptuous attitude towards the people of Palestine.

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  18. Since Israel refuses to accept Palestine side by side in peace and mutual respect, then Palestinians should demand citizenship in Israel.

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  19. I haven't read any of the comments and i will, I've been judging State High School Debate contest for 2 days and i just wana get my two-cents in before i fade...
    I believe that the most vulnerable aspect of Isreal/Israelis/Tel Aviv is to be De-Legitimized.
    From where i sit, Billings, Montana USA, i'd suggest attacking this aspect relentlessly; Even more so than pursuing BDS which is of course a good tool. This BDS tool needs a co-tool to attack the pernicious, mendacious invader.
    That Palestinians not only want all of their land and possessions back, reparations, and the dismantling of this rogue entity without empathy or limits, who steals, rapes, robs, pillages, plunders then claims they're the victim... There can be no deals with this form of inhumanity.
    I do not believe that anything short of One State = Palestine: is the solution. Send the illegal invader (All Israeli's) back where they came from. If the new government of Palestine wants to accept petitions from the expelled ... i don't care, but all Israeli's must leave.
    If all the hand held signs at all the protests held in what's left of said Palestine, says: Israhell is Illegal ~ Occupiers, Colonizers, Terrorists, Parasites... End this collective malignant narcissism ~ Dismantle and hose it down ~ i believe this type tactic/strategy will provoke the Press, if for no other reason you're out of gun shot range.
    In the meantime, the last thing you want is a Tee Vee in every home... this is what has murdered 'murikkka, unless you own the stations and prevent the filth and vulgarity of Hollywood and MSM streaming into your living room, ...not even a little.
    I believe that every Palestinian has the duty to expel the invader; if there i'd be a member of Hamas or Hezbollah. (as much as i detest combat / WIA Viet Nam 1968). The vermin that infests Israhell will not accommodate any Palestinian Wishes or Wants, for no matter the reason, or the trade offs, or the bargaining and swapping and cuddling ::: Forgetaboutit!
    Making it clear to the world that this Experiment in Terror and Genocide has to go back to Germany or wherever; Palestine didn't cause the Jooz to illegally invade their land. You don't even need to get close to the enemy, risk one more sad loss and a glorious martyr ~ stand back and hold your signs up.
    One State = Palestine. For me: Balfour was not a Gawd nor Gawd a Real Estate agent...& Abraham was the First Zionist.
    More, in the Meantime:) There is the:

    Palestine Museum of Natural History:
    Bethlehem University Foundation
    PO Box 355
    6001 Ammendale Rd, Ste 200
    Beltsville, MD
    20705
    Donations from the USA can be made to the above address. Get your name in the BUF Quarterly !
    ok meds have kicked in ~ i'm toast :)

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    1. Love your attitude.
      I also believe verbal attacks and delegitimization is an excellent way forward. I engage, with Zionists, every day, on YouTube. One of the things that makes them particularly angry is the reminder that Tel Aviv is their capital city, not Jerusalem. Think about it, those disgusting people have viciously uprooted and attempted to annihilate an entire nation of people, and they have the audacity to fuss about their capital, ruthlessly pursuing someone else's land and capital.
      I would not be in favour of expelling Jewish families who arrived in Israel prior to 1948, despite the fact that they ALL engaged in the expulsion process. They were all deluded into moving, and did not, for the most part comprehend what was going to happen. However, it is for Palestinians to make those decisions. Those who came afterwards, particularly the Middle East ones, were also lied to. But the Russian Jews, and USA Jews, pure OPPORTUNISM, and a willingness to kill others, nothing but.
      Zionism is much more than just an Experiment in Terror and Genocide: it is the template for the future.
      Love your "Abraham was the first Zionist" comment.

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  20. realistic?? and meanwhile how many deaths, broken lives, despair? a Palestine State, that is what we need, forget Israel and Israel should forget Palestine, get out of Palestine, or what is left, and start to live in peace.SuR

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  21. As we have seen, the two-state solution is dead. So the most viable solution is to press for a single state, just like South Africa. The devil is always in working out the details, but once everyone gets over that hurdle of a single state that represents the entire population, its not such an absurd idea. Not a Jewish or Islamic state but a secular state that accomodates the wishes of all its peoples. That may look like a pipe dream, but it is the only one that has any chance of providing mutual accomodation, stability and peace. It will take a lot of sacrifice, courage and most of all statesmanship to get there.But given the shifting geopolitics, is also inevitable once the great power balance shifts inexorably to the Orient.

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  22. I agree, Christine.
    Many people seem to want to blame Palestinians for what has been done to them.
    Regarding Palestine and the one-state solution, I think it just has to go back to being Palestine, which was never a Muslim nation. For, unlike the self-ascribed, "Jewish state", Palestine was always open to people of all and any faiths. This included Jews.
    The occupation, on the other hand, is not as fair or decent. I say the world must dismantle the, "jewish state", and bring about Palestine, again (today, preferably.)

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    1. Thankyou so much for saying Palestine was never a Muslim nation. So many Zionists are out and about every day, trashing Palestinians verbally, in every possible way. They say the most depraved and disgusting things about Mohammad and Islam, all as a filthy propaganda stunt.
      At the same time, I would like to mention there is nothing wrong with Islam, and that genuine people have no problems determining the difference between terrorist cults and respectful religious values.

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  23. Hello Mazin,
    it is difficult to give "advice" to someone being harassed, dispossed, and discriminated against by someone from a country with a decent man as Prime Minister and living in a peaceful and safe place (at least for now)in the mountains of British Columbia.
    Nevertheless, I will try to help the discussion with my perhaps distorted contribution. I agree with one of the previous bloggers, that bold demands on signs and on declarations should be the norm. Also I think normal citizens should take leadership on the issues and if necessary denouncing Palestinian Authority leaders and demanding their resignation. To me it seems that a new leadership which galvanizes all the people in Palestine, including some jews, is needed
    badly. For Palestine to become its own country, whatever form it takes, a movement within but projecting itself to the outside world needs to be formed. There is more and more information available all the time on the atrocities committed and the lies used by the israelies to maintain their fabricated story.
    I will leave it there. With all my support.

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