There are important next steps being debated for what states can and should do to stop the current war, and set the stage for ending the current cycle of violence. That is not my subject. I thought recently that leaders are followers and followers are leaders, and neither knows it. The fact is that people and their individual initiatives have much more impact on the course of history than is acknowledged by government officials, by cynics, and by those too apathetic, too callous, or too fearful to act. If you are in that category, do not read forward. Just go back to Al Jazeera, Fox and CNN and choose a side. Or go back to Jon Stewart and have a good laugh.
Here is what is necessary, efforts that have worked before in history in changing the available information available to all parties so that more rational and more morally …
(This article was written in collaboration with Aziz Abu Sarah, Co-Executive Director of The Center for World Religions Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution.)
Ever since the disastrous split in Palestinian leadership of several years ago into Fatah and Hamas it has become clear that disunity has been a critical factor standing in the way of Palestinian statehood. Many reconciliation efforts, with several third parties, were attempted and aborted. This time it seems that things are different, despite the enormous ideological divisions and outstanding grievances between Fatah and Hamas.
Why is this happening now? Clearly, the historic impact of the “Arab Spring” on Egypt and Syria, and across the region, is an enormous game changer. The increasing instability of Syria suggests that there is a strong possibility that A) Hamas may no longer have a stable home in Syria, but, on the other hand, Palestinians now have a much more sympathetic …
Here are two interviews that I did with Fox News and Russia TV on Tuesday, regarding thousands of Palestinian refugees who attempted to nonviolently cross Israeli borders from the Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian border last weekend, resulting in several deaths and dozens injured.
Hamas advocating dialogue through children’s cartoon? Not exactly.
By Roi Ben-Yehuda
From France 24’s The Observers:
Last month, on the controversial Palestinian children’s program, “The Pioneers of Tomorrow”, a cartoon was aired (on the Hamas owned Al-Aqsa TV) ostensibly aimed at teaching kids Islamic values. The cartoon features a conversation between a Palestinian boy and a young Israeli Jewish settler. Through their dialogue and interaction, the Jewish settler learns to question everything negative he had been taught about Palestinians.
The problem is that while the cartoon is designed to empower Palestinian children, it does so through the use of anti-Semitic stereotypes. This is not all together uncharacteristic for the Hamas run TV program: Past episodes of the show, for example, have shown a cute and cuddly rabbit who desires to kill and eat Jews. Yet, unlike previous shows, the message of this cartoon is less than …
American Thanksgiving Reflections on Democracy in Light of 57% of Israelis Supporting a Plan to Talk to Hamas
This is shocking, when you think about it. Any American Congressman who dared suggest we include Hamas in negotiations would be run out of town by the all-powerful so-called pro-Israel lobby, which is neither pro-Israel nor pro-American but pro-violence. But the Israeli people, who were on the receiving end of Hamas suicide bombs for years, is ready to talk to them. So A. who is controlling American congressional policy and why? B. Why do they have a right to hound so many congressmen into ignorance and silence? C. Who do they speak for and represent? Not me, and apparently not the people of Israel.
I had in my office a long time very senior member of Congress, who said to me that for twenty years he was threatened and badgered about Israel, forced to go there numerous times, silenced from any position of conscience. This is anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-democratic. …
This is the full Goldstone Report on the War in Gaza, including all aspects of the war, its aftermath, full documentation of Hamas’ violations, crimes by the IDF, recommendations, reparations, as well as a review of what happened inside Israel during the war. It is over 500 pages of documentation and represents a powerful statement of truth from a man who has been at the forefront of the most important truth commissions in modern times. This is a good place to start in terms of future documentation of all violence in this conflict, Jewish and Arab, and a good model to build upon in terms of what exactly needs to happen to prevent such tragedies in the future. It is the details that everyone should read and debate. Here is the link again:
By Agatha Glowacki, PhD Candidate, Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution (ICAR)
Recent news that HAMAS is forgoing the use of armed resistance, specifically the use of the short-range Qassam rockets that for years have flown into Israel, for what it is calling “cultural resistance” may prove that one of the lessons it learned from the war has been that violence doesn’t work. In a recent article by the New York Times, HAMAS leader Ayman Taha explains this policy move as partly the result of popular pressure by a public that increasingly perceives terrorist tactics—such as rockets—as ineffective. The article quotes, ““What did the rockets do for us? Nothing,” Mona Abdelaziz, a 36-year-old lawyer, said in a typical street interview here.”
But this policychange is more than a tactical move meant to appease its public. Instead, it represents a shrewd strategic calculation by HAMAS to move from a physical battlefield—upon …
Analysis continues on the reality of Hamas’ powerful role in Palestinian politics, whether or not their popularity at this moment is going up or down, in itself a contest topic.
Here is an excerpt from a recent USIP report, no less interesting because it is USIP that has published it. Tell me what you think:
Discussion in the United States regarding Hamas is usually framed by two somewhat contradictory assumptions: (1) that Hamas is ideologically incapable of evolving to accept the existence of Israel and (2) that isolation and strong pressure are the only tools that may force it to recognize Israel. This controversial report challenges both assumptions. On the one hand, the authors, make a case for recognizing that Hamas has already, in certain respects, changed and has sent signals regarding its possible coexistence with Israel. On the other hand, they conclude that Hamas might never “recognize” Israel in
It is a half year anniversary of the Gaza War of 2009. I love this incisive report. Amnesty must be doing something right for both sides to condemn them. Their critiques are trenchant, to the point, based on simple facts, and they expose the brutality of this confrontation, including Israel’s paradoxical use of pinpoint, precision weapons to create wanton destruction, and Hamas’ purposeful and unabashed targeting of civilians while calling it defense. The moral bankruptcy of the military leaders on both sides is plainly apparent, and cries out for global leaders to intervene forcefully, for the sake of the innocents on all sides. Since the “precision” weaponry of Israel’s is so lethal when used indiscriminately, however, the vast majority of civilians killed are on the Palestinian side as usual, which is why the Occupation must go. (Those who think that Gaza is not occupied anymore with all borders and commerce …
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