At first I was shocked when I read the story of the Gazan peace doctor who has been working with Israelis for years, whose daughters were decapitated and cut to pieces in front of him, from an Israeli shell aimed without care or caution at Hamas.
But then I went through a second stage of reaction when I was warmed by how amazing a reception he received in Israel. His surviving wounded daughter was operated on to save her eye as he was surrounded by sobbing Israeli Jewish colleagues. Here are excerpts from the story:
“I dedicated my life really for peace, for medicine,” said Dr. Abuelaish, who does joint research projects with Israeli physicians and for years has worked as something of a one-man force to bring injured and ailing Gazans for treatment in Israel.
“The Israeli Defense Forces does not target innocents or civilians, and during the operation
Israeli aircraft dropped over 100 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip throughout Saturday as part of operation “Cast Lead” launched in response to the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel, but Gaza’s inhabitants worry that the worst is yet to come.
The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.
Said Masri sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, close to a security compound, alternately slapping his face and covering his head with dust from the bombed-out building.
“My son is gone, my son is gone,”
I have a friend, Bryan Hamlin, who has been an amazing citizen diplomat all his life, who helps entities in conflict understand each other, especially at critical hours. What I mean by ‘citizen diplomat’ is a person who takes it upon himself to build relationships between enemy groups, or between his own culture and a culture with which he or his country is in conflict. My next book, To Make the Earth Whole, will deal at great length with citizen diplomats because I believe they are the hope of the future, inching the globe toward greater integration, cooperation, and community.
Bryan had two great pre-occupations of his career as a citizen diplomat, the Palestinian/Jewish relationship, and the Russian/Western relationship. He chose wisely, for these remain the deepest challenges to the future of humanity. What we have seen in Georgia proves this.
One of the most exhilarating moments …
The fact that Musharraf is resigning is excellent news. Yesterday’s news that the military was not going to interfere with his impeachment is far more important. The military was prepared to turn its back on Musharraf’s old ways, of engineering military coups, possibly assassinations, and throwing thousands of democracy proponents in jail.
This is a major turning point in the history of modern Pakistan, and perhaps the beginning of an authentic democratic evolution. The foundation of democracy is the willingness of militaries to submit to civilian rule. The only reason that the United States achieved democracy as early as it did is because General George Washington went home. With all that power and popularity, amazingly, he just went home! It was a damn miracle in history. Only after constant prodding did he accept the Presidency. He never had imperial ambitions, though he easily could have succumbed to that common …
Donna Bryson reports in the Boston Globe today that Mugabe has accepted an arrangement in which Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition movement, will become Prime Minister with a variety of important responsibilities.
Protesters in Johannesburg demonstrated yesterday against Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, whose role has been a major sticking point in the contentious power-sharing talks. (jerome delay/Associated Press)
Maybe this is the beginning of the end of the Mugabe era’s destruction of Zimbabwe, and perhaps this is an important milestone for President Mbeki of South Africa who has been brokering this deal in person all week.
Tsvangirai said compromise is necessary because Zimbabweans would reject a deal “if any party is greedy.”
“We have agreed that Mr. Mugabe will be president whilst I become prime minister,” he told the SADC ministers. “We envisage that the prime minister must chair the Cabinet and be responsible for the formulation, execution and
I had written a piece earlier on Leo Kramer’s pioneering work supporting Palestinian and Israeli doctors who work together. Leo’s follow-up article, Israeli, Palestinian Doctors Affect Change on the Ground, is even more revealing. Leo writes that the medical work is vital because doing is more important than talking, a theme I have been trying to push recently in It Is What You Do That Defines You. Leo writes:
These efforts, however, must also be directed toward achieving results on the ground. That means ameliorating the insecurity of the Israelis, while addressing the deprivation of the Palestinians, their need for medical services, goods, utilities, food and freedom of movement. The overt violence of the conflict is bad enough for both sides, without the medical and humanitarian border crises, which thwart the struggle to maintain a basic standard of living for the Palestinians.
To properly approach security and
IT IS WHAT YOU DO THAT DEFINES YOU: A RE-ASSESSMENT OF DIPLOMACY IN THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT
There is a desperation at work in the sad excuse for negotiations underway between Israel and Palestine. This is the latest:
PA rejects Olmert’s offer to withdraw from 93% of West BankBy Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent, and Reuters
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday rejected an Israeli peace proposal, which included withdrawal from 93 percent of the West Bank, because it does not provide for a contiguous Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, Abbas’s spokesman, told the official Palestinian news agency WAFA that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plan showed a “lack of seriousness.”
Under the proposal, Israel would return to the Palestinians 93 percent of the West Bank, plus all of the Gaza Strip, when the Palestinian Authority regains control over the Gaza Strip, which the militant group Hamas seized from forces loyal to Abbas in June 2006.
Olmert presented Abbas with the
There is so much chaos in Israel and Palestine right now politically and in terms of peace and violence that it is hard for those of us who know them intimately to keep it all in perspective. For today I just ask you to choose which Israel. I thought I had seen everything. Here is a scene of a senior Israel Defense Forces commander ordering a soldier to shoot at close range a bound and blindfolded Palestinian teenager who earlier can be seen waving a Palestinian flag at a demonstration.
This is filmed by a little girl from her window. Her father is subsequently arrested by the police. They can be heard in the background speaking in the film. Here is another version of the film accompanied by an official news story followed by an Israeli human rights group report. Of course, because this was caught on tape …
The world of disaster relief, overseas aid, and development has always had a difficult time with mixed motives. Why does anyone give large sums to poor nations in desperate need of help? Millions of people donate money to thousands of non-governmental organizations precisely in order to help people who are sick, poor, and in disastrous circumstances, especially when natural calamities occur. The motivation is mostly altruistic. But governments are massive donors as well. The problem is that once government gets involved there is always the question of mixed motives, national interests and economic interests mixed with public expressions of altruism. The problem is even more acute when it is not just the government but the military. That is why there are strong objections to the U.S. military getting into the business of aid and disaster relief:
“Our [foreign] policy is out of whack,” said Kenneth Bacon, a former assistant secretary …