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Invited to Israel
Grassroot Diversity Solving Disputes
Israel is the land of diversity, in every aspect:political, cultural, and religious. Its population believes in either a Palestinian state, the equality of all human beings or in what is called "the Larger Israel" view, which if implemented, according to humanist as well as true religious values may prove itself not any less preferable.
It is no secret to many on both sides that, a Palestinian state view implemented without humanist or true religious/spiritual values leads to a corrupt spending of money and donations. On the other hand, it shouldn't surprise anyone that a settlement built without these values leads to hatred and anger, but are all settlements ignoring Palestinian rights?
To confirm this is third hand information and certainly not true for at least 15.000 Palestinians that work inside settlements and 40.000 Palestinians who work inside Israel on a daily basis.
To confirm this is also ignoring an independent Palestinian research at the Al Quds university which shows that Palestinian businessmen invest the incredible amount of 2.5 billion ( 2.500.000.000) dollar in Israeli Westbank settlement products.
There is a supermarket in Gush Etsion where Israelis and Palestinians both go shopping. It has become a hit among the Palestinian population. A joint Israeli Palestinian venture has established a DIY store in Gush Etsion. The Palestinian owner is from Bethlehem.
Before one decides if a given settlement ignores Palestinian rights one needs to know where they are located: in area A, B or C? These areas all are subject to different agreements under the Oslo accords. And one needs to know when it was built, cause a Jewish settlement located close to or in Area A, under Palestinian control since the Oslo accords, most likely, was built on Tabu or privately owned land under English law before 1948.
In 1948 when Israel became a state and the war broke out, not only security sensitive Arab but also Western church owned land and property in what is Israel today, was confiscated. There is no good reason to think that Israel today desires to confiscate Arab Tabu land which originally, during the time of the English Mandate was registered as land privately owned by Arab Palestinians in the Westbank or Israel.
The idea just doesnt make any sense, it didnt happen before, in and after 1948 inside of Israel and won't happen now inside the Westbank or Israel. To get an idea on the complexity of the decisions made where to draw the line read the Wikipedia article called: Israeli Westbank Barrier and ask the questions which haven't been fully answered by the article. Why are certain areas completely encircled by the barrier such as Qalqilyia, but also Alphe Menashe, the settlement next to it. Why Oranit and Elkana are encircled and why Kiryat Arba, Beit El and Tekoa have not been encircled, Jewish settlements.
Have a look at Landownership in Palestine 1880-1948 and get an impression of how much land was bought and paid for by Jewish organisations right before World War II that felt the rise of antisemitism and started thinking about an escape route to Palestine.
If the sole truth about the land confiscated was to realize the bigger Israel dream, then why is it that Israel has made landswaps and paid for land they felt needed to be in government hands for security reasons? When was the last time you saw or read something about payments for Palestinian land and land swaps ?
In Rabin's time settlements continued to be built, but everyone knew that the goal was going to be a final agreement about the land. and strangely enough the trust between the two more secular sides at that time made the building of the settlements a non issue in the media, they hardly ever mentioned it.
Democracy , however is a stumbling block in that even if a long standing good relationship exists between Jews and Arabs, the political arena in Israel switches every four years and those who protected those good relationships in a previous government, might not be able to do so any longer when a new government has been formed. This is one of the biggest obstacles today inside Israel between the Arabs and the Jews. Past friendships may have been valued and honored, but can also be ignored every so often all due to democracy and changes of right and left wing governments.
A Westbank village called Kfar Kassim applied in the 80-ties as a whole for citizenship and became part of Israel, a result of local Palestinian grassroot negotiating. This means that if Palestinians desire to live inside Israel there has been time and again the opportunity to negotiate that. In Rabin's time around 400 Palestinians from East Jerusalem applied for Israeli citizenship. Rows of these people were shown on Israeli television, their faces not visible.
Most information you hear about Israel in the West, about the Westbank or Gaza is third hand and no one knows exactly whats going on with the real people living there. It's called:"They told me-information". There are media that get paid to make belief in politics possible.
What one hears in the West about the wall, the fence, properties being confiscated, killings of innocent children can only be verified by people of different and opposing views that live in the same area. It's a battle of interests that very few people overseas have any clue about.
The fence that separates Israel from the Westbank has been subject of much political debate. But the fence on the eastern side of the Westbank never has been discussed even once. And still four people were shot by the Jordanian border police, when they naively came too close to that fence, an incident that never made the news.
It is the grassroots who live in the areas of dispute that know better than anyone whats going on. Only they could tell you the truth. But unfortunately very seldom a true neutral video of both sides telling the truth is posted on youtube.
Wikipedia states that 400 Arab villages were wiped off the map bedore 1948, however it doesn t answer the questions why that happened and how big these villages were. No one seems to know that there was a constant threat of murder of Jewish people living around certain villages in North Israel. Besides that, the majority of these villages counted between four to seven houses. Only Israelis that lived in Israel in these days can tell you about this.
Israel does not have a record of indiscrimenately chasing people away from their land and homes. Yet, Israel' s security reasons, may neither be fully accepted nor understood by outsiders.
Israel has first, second and third generation holocaust survivors who stand for human rights values and fight for them. They take to the streets whenever there is a demonstration for peace.
It has a second and third generation right wing settlers, born in the Westbank who believe they belong to the Westbank but still don't hesitate to cooperate respectfully with Palestinians when it comes to where to locate a caravan settlement. Palestinians live in peace with these people, whereas both Israeli and Palestinian governing authorities forbids such settlements. Grassroot movements could solve these disputes with their respective governments.
Israel has 2nd and 3rd generation Christians from Jewish descent who were born in the Westbank and play an active role for peace by sharing their values with their Palestinian neighbours. Again, these grassroot people are an integral part of the solution as well.
Israel number of ex drugaddicts of both Palestinian and Israeli origin have for a big part come off drugs through the largest non profit organisation the NA Narcotics Anonymous which operates indiscriminately for both groups. These members are ranked inside the NA according to the time they have been clean of drugs, not according to their ancestors privileges to the land. And so it happens that the well and high educated get introduced to the steps by those who have no such background but have achieved the position of NA coach through character, determination and a clean record. Every so often there is an international Middle East conference where Jews and Arabs join hands in prayer and pray together for Middle East Peace. If the grassroots pray together who can stand against that?
Israel has Muslim teachers working as fully respected collegues in Jewish Schools, Jewish teachers by the way are also working in Muslim schools, and equally well treated.
Israel has an immigrant problem with children of Jewish immigrants from less advantaged backgrounds,much like Europe has with Christian and Muslim immigrant children from the Middle East and East Europe. The difference with Israel lies in this that Israel has a far more effective approach to help their immigrant children get a better life than Europe has had sofar with its immigrant population.
It has very advanced programs for Ethiopian immigrant children and parents. Parents are taught the Hebrew language first and then they teach it to their children. If only Europe had come up with an idea like this, it would not be finding itself in lack of authority with the third generation immigrant youngsters that roam the streets of big cities like London.
Israel has Sharia for all its Muslim citizens, marriage is performed by a Muslim clerque. They have ritual slaughter of animals, their own burial rites, and graveyards.
(It even used to be a practice by young Jewish adults to get married by a Bediun Sheik from The Sinai as part of an intercultural marriage usually followed by a Jewish marriage with a Rabbi inside Israel.
Female circimcision is forbidden in Israel, human rights are more important than these cultural practices among less modernized Beduin tribes in remote villages.
Israeli hospitals are visited by and open to all:Jews and Muslims and their is no respect of person in the treatment of Palestinians from Gaza, the Westbank or a Jewish soldier.
Israel has been portrayed by Europeans as a racist state, whereas in fact Europe has a more racist attitude towards immigrating Christians (Armenians and Gipsies specifically). Third generation Muslim immigrants will tell you how they are being treated when looking for work, something that has to do with improper teaching and absorption methods where children dont learn the European language and become drop outs in school. All this is not any different in Israel, but gets treated in a way that it keeps youngsters off the streets after school. Where and when Europe managed to keep its immigrant youngsters off the streets and teach them the necessary language so they can get proper jobs?
Israel has (together with the Russian immigrant population of 1 million) the largest population of Jewish immigrants from the Rif Mountains in Morocco, people who speak Amazigh and Arabic and have a connection with the Muslim Berber population in Morocco through Ahmed Agrini. In fact many of them would love a free and unrestricted travel between the two countries.
Friendship Association Israel Berbers
Israel has Sephardic and Eastern immigrants that have lived under Muslim rule and know what that means. On top, the veterans among them have high standard values and at the same time a traditional religious background. They are capable of speaking a common language with Muslims, much more so than others who dont have these backgrounds.
This is why Israelis who have a religious background and are either Eastern or Sephardic know how to reach the hearts of the people in the Middle East with music and art. A rockgroup: Orphaned Land has hundreds of thousands of fans, all throughout the Middle East. Watch the video below
The interesting thing is that peace movements, that are only motivated by humanist values don't speak as much to outsiders in neighbouring countries, whereas the initiators:Kobi Farhi and Ronny Edri in the below two videos have a spiritual and religious Jewish basis. People think Ronny is secular, but he himself states that he grew up in a Jewish home that kept tradition, he has nothing against religion, it makes life richer he says. He has been able to impact the Iranian public far beyond Israels borders.
Israeli Band Reaches All of the Middle East
This means that the opposing factors for peace are not only based on human reasoning for justice and safety but on religious fundamental differences, which can be overcome by prayer, and common religious values. Why is it that young educated Palestinians are more interested in spending their weekends at Tel Aviv beach than in political discussions about whose land belongs to who? Maybe they know the situation from the inside out and could tell a Westerner what 's been going on behind the facade of politics?