Palestine

Reflections on recent events

by mgopin on October 21, 2015 · 0 comments

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Originally posted here on Oct. 19, 2015.

I am starting to see very clearly that there are those people who have the moral and emotional intelligence to understand two sides of a conflict, two enemies at once, and there are those who need to demonize someone in every situation. There are those who can empathize with their own community and with another, and there are those who at every turn look to demonize one group and whitewash their own. These are two camps of humanity, one with an evolved mind, and one with a primitive mind. Educational levels and graduate degrees having nothing to do with these two camps.

I am horrified by the mob mentality, I am saddened by many people I have helped and defended, not from my own community, who the first chance they get, join virtual lynch mobs.

The fact is that it is easy to …

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Zionists and Islamists

by mgopin on January 1, 2015 · 0 comments

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At a minimum a Zionist is one who loves Zion, often a Jew, but sometimes a Christian. At a minimum, an Islamist is someone who loves Islam, usually a Muslim. I see no reason to use either term in pejorative or hateful way, as a curse or as a condemnation. Associated with Zionism has been all manner of crimes against the native Palestinian people for over a hundred years, associated with Islamism has been tens of thousands of victims of crimes across the world, mostly Muslim victims. But it is an empirical fact that thousands of Zionists and millions of Islamists repudiate the crimes associated with these respective labels. They claim this is not true Zionism or true Islamism. We should agree as a global community to recognize the existence of these people, in fact to honor them. We can disagree with their philosophy but we should not label and …

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Roger Fisher, one of the greatest luminaries in modern times of negotiation practice died at the age of 90 on August 25 of this year. Roger exuded that confidence of Harvard elites, and American leaders, that has both been admired and admonished globally, that has been a source of optimism in the face of impossible circumstances and also a source of alienation and distance between American thinkers and actors and others. I come from a side of the field of conflict resolution that has emphasized local cultures, religions, psychological issues, that is far more receptive and encouraging of approaches uniquely tailored to each situation, each set of cultural actors. I stand by those differences that I had with him. And yet I always loved him in some fashion.

I loved Roger’s courage coming out of World War II, the worst era of Western civilization’s capacity for human degradation, with a …

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This is reprinted from my latest Huffington Post article:

Tourism is a business involving a billion people a year meeting several other billion people whose lives they profoundly affect economically and socially. The question for the future is whether that effect is going to be negative or positive, peaceful or destructive.

I want to argue that it is all up to us travelers.

Recently, in the major Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot, there appeared a picture of a beautiful little girl holding and aiming a machine gun almost her own size, being coached by a smiling soldier in fatigues in a West Bank settlement in the Occupied Territories. The caption mentioned how many foreigners come on tours and are given this kind of exposure.

This is a very different kind of tourism and educational seminar experience than the kind I and my colleagues have been running for years in Israel …

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THIS IS A REVOLUTIONARY DOCUMENT THAT SHOULD BE READ. THE COURAGE OF THESE ISRAELI PATRIOTS IS SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE NOTED BY THE HISTORY BOOKS, AND BY THEIR ARAB NEIGHBORS

 

Israeli senior officials and public figures to European leaders: Support Palestinian independence

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s horror show in Washington and the unequivocal support he received from the US congress may mark the end of the peace process. The only alternatives at this time are the Palestinian push towards independence or the risk of another surge of violence. In contrast to recent statements by Israeli and American officials, a unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence is consistent with fundamental Israeli interests. Moreover, it may rejuvenate the moribund peace process.

Following President Obama’s objection to the Palestinian declaration of independence, it is evident that the prospect of Palestinian statehood depends on the actions of key European governments.

Accordingly, a group of

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Not an Arab Spring, but a Human Spring

by mgopin on July 24, 2011 · 4 comments

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Maybe we are not in an Arab Spring, but a Human Spring. Maybe it is the flowering of nonviolent resistance, and it is time for Jews and Arabs to march as one in Israel/Palestine, and it is time for Americans to march as one to put the banks back into the controls that helped us flourish in the forties and fifties.

אולי אנחנו לא באביב ערבי, אבל האביב האדם. אולי זה הוא הפריחה של התנגדות לא אלימה, וזה הזמן עבור יהודים וערבים כאחד לצעוד בישראל / פלסטין, וזה הזמן עבור האמריקנים לצעוד כאחד לשים את הבנקים בחזרה את הפקדים עזרו לנו לפרוח שנות הארבעים והחמישים.

ربما نحن لسنا في الربيع العربي، ولكن فصل الربيع الإنسان. ربما هو ازدهار المقاومة اللاعنفية، وحان الوقت لليهود والعرب في مسيرة واحدة في إسرائيل / فلسطين ، وحان الوقت بالنسبة للأميركيين لمسيرة واحدة لوضع المصارف بالعودة الى الضوابط التي ساعدتنا في ازدهار الأربعينات والخمسينات.

 …

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Much is being made of Palestinian unilateralism recently, and President Obama and his advisors seem authentically perturbed by the unilateral march to Palestinian statehood declarations at the United Nations come September. It will indeed put the United States in an awful position.

 

Is this Palestinian move such a bad thing, and it is a betrayal of that sacred cow of statecraft, verbal negotiations? I say no, it is rather Palestinian leaders finally intuiting what the true form of negotiations have been all along, the true positions being formulated by successive leaderships of Israel. That form of negotiation, the one that has marched forward year after year, is the creation of facts on the ground, actions not words.

 

I always knew that actions speak louder than words, but only of late have I come to realize that they are not only a form of negotiation but the form …

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The Arab Spring Awakens in Palestine

by mgopin on May 19, 2011 · 7 comments

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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.

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Poll: Abbas enjoys support of young PalestiniansNearly 40 percent of young Palestinians say they would vote for Palestinian presidents secular Fatah faction, with only 10 percent backing Hamas.

via Poll: Abbas enjoys support of young Palestinians – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

This is very important as a step toward statehood. As I suspsected all along, the young are more pragmatic, less focused on revenge for all the injustices, and more aware of how Palestinian national aspirations can really be attained.…

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Recent sputterings of a peace process between Israel and Palestine, the termination of Israel’s settlement building freeze causing a demise of said peace process — again — has produced a loud, global yawn. What else is new in this endless conflict? Negotiations cannot succeed without a vision, and there is no widely shared vision of peace among these people that could truly spur their politicians forward.

The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of the past that create brutal behavior in the present. One way forward may be to suspend skepticism for just a moment, to free the mind to build a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved. Armed with this imaginative exercise it might become easier to lobby for practical ways forward.

Let’s imagine the following: official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza

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