• For one Palestinian Citizen of Israel, peace begins within

    Meet our friend, Hanan, a fabulous new peacemaker, a cool mother,  a deeply progressive and courageous Muslim woman, one of a legion that we are discovering around the world. This is the hope of the Middle East.


    For one Israeli Arab woman, peace begins within
    By Karin Kloosterman


    Real peacemakers are often the quiet ones, like Hanan Gaffaly – who works at the NGO Kids Creating Peace and volunteers for Sulhita, an NGO that brings together Palestinian and Israeli youth. Thousands of peacemakers like Gaffaly are not high profile activists like Ghandi and Martin Luther King were. They work from deep within, starting with themselves and their communities, and move on to take small, bold steps to influence the ‘big picture.’

    ISRAEL21c first met Gaffaly, a 34-year-old Israeli Arab woman from the city of Jaffa near Tel Aviv, while at a San Francisco-based United Religions Initiative conference. At the annual

  • The Lonely Man of Peace: An In-depth Interview

    Folks, many of you may have seen this, but we have friends in the world who cannot directly access the Jerusalem Post piece. So here it is. Lauren is an amazing interviewer. She interviewed me for nine hours, longest interview of my life:

    The lonely man of peace




    This week, Orthodox American rabbi Marc Gopin saw his coexistence work in Syria bear fruit. What turns a Soloveitchik disciple into an unofficial diplomat to the Arab…Somewhere between the shtetls of Eastern Europe and sites across the Levant, Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, 52, has found his calling.

    Heading the George Mason University Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution in Arlington, Virginia, he is not waiting for a peace treaty to cause change. Gopin gets on a plane and heads for trouble spots wherever he can find openings. He meets with sheikhs, heads of state …

  • Hamas advocating dialogue through children’s cartoon? Not exactly.

    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 …

  • Privately Run Checkpoint Stops Palestinians with ‘Too Much Food’

    This is just ridiculous. One more humiliation for Palestinians, one more embarrassment for Jewish identity, which, by the way, justifies Jewish attachment to the land of Israel through a religion that completely outlaws withholding food or wages from workers. It is even forbidden to withhold food from working animals. It is time for Israel to live up to the past of Jewish ethics. I invite anyone reading this to join Mahsom Watch for just two weeks to find out that this is not about security or saving lives. Israel and its supporters must change, and it is hearing that now from the whole world, including the American Congress. This is slow but inevitable, so why prolong the humiliation of all of this?


    Privately run checkpoint stops Palestinians with ‘too much food’
    By Amira Hass

    A West Bank checkpoint managed by a private security company is not allowing Palestinians to

  • Palestinians of a Jewish Origin??

    This video just blew me away. I know the secular progressives among  you will be horrified. How can this man try to convince everyone that Palestinians are actually Jewish and THAT is why Jews should care for them and treat them as brothers. This does not conform to the classic enlightenment and democratic approach to social justice. On the other hand, I never cease to be amazed by how many conflicts around the world seem to be solved in some people’s world view by an appeal to kinship and family. Kin means everything to billions of people. I frankly don’t care at this point how people come to a nonviolent politics, just that they do. Tell me what you think?

  • A Young Israeli Reflects on Gaza

    By Kobi Skolnick


    It has been six months since Israel launched an incursion into Gaza, and the anniversary has prompted the Red Cross to release a report on life since the operation.

    According to the report, 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair” because of the continuing Israeli blockade, and since April 2007 there has been an 80% decrease in the number of truckloads allowed through the boarder. With the population of Gaza being made up mainly of teenagers and children, this means many children are suffering from malnourishment and poor health. Furthermore, the Red Cross reports the people of Gaza are powerless to restore their lives and are sliding deeper into hopelessness. (See the full report here.)

    Nor has the situation in Gaza left Israel’s soldiers unaffected. After the Israeli operation in December, there were alarming cases of immorality among our finest soldiers. According to

  • Red Cross report: Gazans in despair

    Please read this account of what is happening in Gaza from seasoned outside observers. The question remains why? No explanation has ever been given why basic materials for life, excluding bomb making materials, have been choked off from over a million human beings. It remains as criminal as the day it began, and it is a travesty that must end.  One can only surmise that the assumption of Israel, and implicitly the West, is that it is ok to continue to punish and hold hostage over a million human beings for the actions of Hamas. So, hostage taking seems to be acceptable, except when Hamas does it? I still am amazed. The only way the rule of law ever succeeds in history is when it is universally applied, everything else is just a game.

    Red Cross report: Gazans ‘in despair’

    JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip has

  • Land Swapping for Peace in Israel and Palestine

    This piece is worth reading and debating. I don’t agree with many of its assumptions about blame and the causal chain of connections, but I do think that jumping to final status on land swaps may be a way out of the current impasses. The problem I have is where they will get the rest of the land inside Israel for the swap, and will it play into Lieberman’s anti-democratic plans to give away the Arabs in Israel’s triangle area in order to disempower an Arab voice in Israel. It is very important that every affected community have a stake in these negotiations, and Israel’s domestic relations with the Arab community of Israel is going in the opposite direction right now of disenfranchisement of Israel’s Arab citizens. I think David’s focus on land is a good idea because it could do an end run around all ideological opponents of a …

  • Video of Israeli Border Police Abusing Palestinian Man

    The video and the article below provide the most important evidence yet that Israel’s occupation forces, especially the border police, need to be disbanded, de-funded, or completely overhauled, and that the United States funds that support such forces need to be re-examined and allocated by the United States Congress. This is not just an exception. These cases have been reported routinely by Palestinians for decades, and no one would believe them because the assumption was that the enemies of Israel just spin endless fabrications and propaganda. But here is the evidence for Americans to see, and to help Congress overhaul this corrupt system.

    According to recent polls a whopping 69% of American Jews favoring the United States pressuring Israel into a settlement with the Palestinians!  This suggests an amazing level of courage in the Jewish community that I believe is inspired negatively by the criminal acts perpetrated in Gaza in …

  • Jews and Palestinians as Brothers: A View From Genetics

    There has been extensive analysis in the last decade of the genetic origins of Jews and their relationship to other groups, especially in the Middle East. I am still in a state of shock from these many studies.  This research has been overshadowed by the wars of Jews and Palestinians, but the genetic research provides an opportunity for profound reflection on what actually is happening when Jews and Palestinians fight, who they really are, and where these two peoples have been for the past 10,000 years.

    In this video I react to that evidence. I explore the relationship between genetics, science, the Book of Genesis, and some basic truths of the Palestinian/Jewish relationship. Below the video please find a genetic map of the Jewish people’s y chromosomes, and where Palestinians and Syrians, and other Middle Eastern groups, fall.