We are one family

From: latinpat@actcom.co.il (Latin Patriarchate)
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The voice of the TRUTH from Jerusalem

News, articles and documents from the Holy Land


“Peace will be the fruit of Justice and my people will dwell in the beauty of Peace”


Friday, 3 November 2000

 Dear Friends,

To tell you the truth, things are not clear at all, we don’t know yet where we are going? The leaders would like to stop the violence, the people doesn’t trust anybody any more. They say: if we stop what will be the next step? We don’t want to loose what we achieved in the last 5 weeks, because we have paid a high price. And I think that this is the right question. Because if they want the people to stop only, they will not resolve any problem, but they just postponed the whole conflict to the next confrontation. But if they are courageous enough to say to their peoples, we will continue soon the negotiations, but this time in a new way, and we will deal with the essential issues in order to find just solution as soon as possible, not after another years of negotiation – which means waste of time and energy- then they might renew the hope in a better future in which we will see immediate fruits of this process which is almost ten years old and an end to this conflict which is almost one 100 years old. Everybody wants peace, but why do we have pay this high price and wait so much time?

You will find in today’s issue the following documents:

1) Another horrible story of another family from Beit Sahour, whose house was burned and totally damaged in the last days. This story was report by Mrs Muna Ibrahim, a teacher in our Seminary, and cousin of the same family.

2) Another statement of the religious Islamic and Christian leaders and the national united forces in Jenin district: I send this statement because in that whole district we have only around 4000 Christians only among a total population of 200.000 Moslems. My village Zababdeh is the only Christian village in that zone among 67 other Islamic villages. My parish priest told me that the go from a village to another in order to present the condolences of martyrs fallen there in Jenin and elsewhere. They issued this statement and after a big manifestation they gave it to the representative of Red Cross in Jenin.

3) Another testimony of Fr. Georges Vimard, a French priest who is living in Al-Shateh refugee camp in Gaza, he is taking part in all the funerals of all the martyrs in Gaza, and living with poor people in their daily life… He can leave them as many foreigners left, because he says I can’t betray my own people.

4) An article of Amira Hess (in English and French also) about the difficult situation in the city of Hebron, where part of the city is under curfew since the beginning of the Intifada, because 20% of the city (40.000 inhabitant) is under Israeli control in order to protect the 500 settlers living there protected by 1500 soldiers.  Amira Hess is a woman writer in HaAretz newspaper and living among the Palestinian people in Ramallah.

 5) While I was thinking about the nonviolent alternative, I received this article written by Dr. Mubarak Awad, President of Nonviolence International, and founder of the Palestinian Center for Nonviolence. He tried to use nonviolence during the first Intifada, but he was arrested by Israel and put in jail for three month and then expelled to the States because he has an American citizenship, he lives actually in Washington DC, and I met him there two years ago to discuss with him about Nonviolence in Islam when I was preparing my thesis. He is a great man that I call him “THE PALESTINAN GHANDI”, I invited him to return back home, but he is still there, and sends us only: EIGHT STEPS TO ISRAELI PALESTINIAN PEACE. I am convinced that we still didn’t use this alternative way of resistance, and it is the best way to achieve our goals in a very noble and civilized methods… this is coming soon…!!!

Pray God for us to convert our hearts to the ways of peace through Nonviolence    Fr. Raed Abusahlia

Short story of a small boy

We visited yesterday the village of Taybeh (Efraim) one of our parishes nearby Ramallah. The Parish priest, Fr. Ibrahim Shomali, a very young priest who is new in this parish, told us this interesting story, he said:

This morning, at school, I celebrated the mass for the small kids who are 6-9 years old, and as it was the day of the deads, I wanted to engage a discussion with them during the homily, I asked them: do you know a name of a person from your family or from the village who died this year? And a small child who is 6 years old rose his hand and said spontaneously: yes I know, Mohammad Al-Durra..!

I was an interesting answer: Mohammad Al-Durra the child who was killed in the arms of his father in Gaza one moth ago, became a member of this boy’s family and village even if he was killed in Gaza, 200 Kms away from Taybeh..!!

Really we are all brothers and sisters and one family in this one homeland PALESTINE


Another horrible story of another family from Beit Sahour

The Christian Family of Ibrahim Elias Abu-Farha passed through a very painful experience last week: This family lives peacefully with its seven members in their beautiful house of 170 M square (three bedrooms, one sitting room, Kitchen and two bathrooms) in Beit Sahour not very far from an Israeli military camp. And this the problem:

 Due to the close distance of Mr. Ibrahim’s house to the Israeli camp, they were exposed to daily shootings and bombing during the night using tanks and helicopters.. Therefore, this family used to stay during the day in their house and moved to their daughter’s house during the night, because it is safer.

 The night of October 25, 2000 their house was exposed to a very heavy shooting from the Israeli side, and a bomb entered and exploded inside their bedroom and burned the whole house, even religious items, pictures and statues, all the memories of this family were erased in this same terrible night.

Meanwhile, one of the neighbors called the emergency fire station, but the Israeli solders didn’t allow the firemen to enter the area.. After a while they reached an agreement with the soldiers to cease fire for a period of time, unfortunately they didn’t keep their promise as usual and they started to shoot near to Ibrahim’s house again… while the firemen where trying to enter the house by breaking the door in order to put the fire down.

However, the above mentioned details caused a delay of firemen, and of course, caused more damage to the properties.. During that time one of the neighbors went to pickup the owner from his daughter’s house… and a after a lot of time the Israeli solders allowed him to enter for only a minutes and to close the door.

In the following day his wife went to see how far the bomb damaged her house?

At the moment she saw the view of her house.. she began to cry and had a nerves break down, and she was taken to the hospital.. All the Abu-Farha families and friends went to pay their regrets and they tried to help as much as they could.. Even the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, H.B. Michel Sabbah and other religious leaders in Jerusalem made visits of solidarity to this family…

One of our local engineers visited the damaged house and estimated that a lot of work is needed and maybe it has to be redone another time because three days ago another bomb hit the same house and destroyed part of it after being burned at the first time.

At this moment, Mr. Ibrahim and his family, don’t have another house were to go, or even they don’t have clothes to change.. they have lost also their life saving of 15.000 NIS, and 4000 US $ including the Jewry of the whole family…

This is the miserable story of Mr. Ibrahim Abu-Farha and his family… You know better than me that these simple and civilian people don’t deserve all this because they didn’t do anything against the army, which is punishing the whole population every day and night

 This story was report by Mrs Muna Ibrahim, a teacher in our Seminary, and cousin of the same family.

Statement of the religious Islamic and Christian leaders and the national united forces in Jenin district

1)      We, the religious heads in Jenin district and the national forces and in this dangerous historical period in which we pass, repeat our condemnation of the massacres committed by the Israeli forces against our unarmed Palestinian people, their act of aggression on our holy Islamic and Christian places and the bombing of houses of our families without consideration to what may happen to our children, women and old men. We also condemn the unjust siege on our villages and cities and the blocking of the entrances in all districts of our country. The dangerous procedures and orders taken by Israel are really a violation to human rights and the international law which has a destructive blow on peace process which has given hope to the Palestinian and the Israeli people in order to attain a real peace with real justice, since peace is the strategic dependable way in all the governments of the world. We believe that peace is not a result of balancing powers between two peoples but it is an echo to the principles of morals and justice besides the international law.

2)      Our people in Jenin district, Moslems and Christians, natives of one country who form on actual political reality. We are united by one history and one Arab nationality. We declare that what we demand is a part of our Palestinian people’s demands who refuse abandoning Jerusalem. The dangerous cruel actions carried out by Israel against our Palestinian Arab people in order to have a strong sovereignty on Jerusalem and the holy Islamic and Christian places and its refusal to apply the legal international resolutions for Jerusalem is contradicted with the international customary laws. So, the Arabs, Moslems and Christians represented by their religious heads and the united national forces make sure that Arab right for Jerusalem will be restored to its owners, the Palestinians.

3)      The uprising of the Palestinian people including the Arabs in Israel is a circumstantial evidence against the Israeli occupation and its injustice and its violation of human rights, dignity and freedom of worship. It is also considered a protest against the distasteful massacre and the Israeli dishonor of the Dome of Rock and the Aksa Mosque which is a part of Moslems’ religion and which is an Arab Islamic unalienable property (Waqf) admitted by the legal international law in order to live in an independent free democratic state with human dignity similar to other states and nations. We call upon leaders of the world including leaders of Arab states, UN and international organizations and the European Federation to support the Palestinian people in their just demands which are what follows:

-Admitting the right of the Palestinian people in its self determination and setting up a Palestinian state which expresses the legal international principles especially the right of freedom and right of repartition of refugees as shown in UN resolutions No. 194.

-To stop Israeli occupation in Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Arab Jerusalem as it shown in UN resolutions No. 242, 338 and 191 and removing settlements from Palestinian lands.

-We do not admit changes that are done by Israel in Jerusalem and its suburbs, which is against the customary international laws assuring the Arab nationality of Islamic, and Christian Jerusalem and should keep its Arab sovereignty and religious holiness. The unique nature of Jerusalem calls for just peace and reconciliation among people.

-Laying responsibility on the Israeli government of the human material and spiritual loss and harm it caused to Palestinian people and following them to be subject to legal prosecution at the Higher International Court of Justice.

-Respecting human rights and guaranteeing them to all parties including civil, political, economic, social and educational rights which requires the right of unlimited movement of commodities, transferring and the right in taking care of health, work and religious freedom.

-Insuring International Protection, which can guarantee what we mentioned above especially the sovereignty of the Palestinian State with all its land and rights water and natural resources, the possibility of world trade and the freedom of transportation in their own country including East Arab Jerusalem.

With these demands, a real peace will be realized and based on justice by which the two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, will live in a secure and prosperous future.

                                  L’UN MEURT ET L AUTRE AUSSI

Quand je demande à Abou Salem ce qui fait la différence entre l’Intifada des années 1987 et ce qu’on appelle aujourd’hui l’Intifada al Aqsa, il me répond: «la police est palestinienne; les ambulances sont palestiniennes; et les morts sont toujours palestiniens» En effet, tous les jours, le rapport du Centre des Droits de l’Homme à Gaza allonge la liste des noms de nouvelles victimes, leur âge (moyenne de 22 ans), leur lieu d’origine, (des camps de réfugiés pour la plupart) et  l’endroit où la balle a tué (tête et cœur). 140 tués, 4000 blessés (dont de très lourds). De son côté, l’armée israélienne annonce la mort de12 arabes israéliens, 9 soldats juifs  israéliens et 2 druzes. Effrayant «no comment !».

Deux Intifada, deux révoltes qui ont le même ressort: l’humiliation, parce qu’il n’y a rien de pire. La première était soulevée par l’espoir d’aboutir  à des négociations; Ca a été les accords d’Oslo; la deuxième est emportée  sous nos yeux par le désespoir, explosion d’une violence quotidienne trop longtemps subie;

Je suis arrivé dans le pays en Septembre1995 où régnait une certaine euphorie des premières applications d’Oslo. «Gaza et Jéricho d’abord» en Mai 1994, suivi du retour historique d’Arafat, avait ouvert la voie à l’élaboration d’un Etat de Palestine sur 20/100 de la Palestine historique à savoir la Cisjordanie et Jérusalem Est. Or,depuis six années, fondamentalement, ce qui apparaît, c’est  l’inefficacité de ces accords pour faire droit au droit des palestiniens. Dans une mêlée d’événements tel l’assassinat de Itzak Rabin, le redéploiement de l’armée hors des villes palestiniennes,les attentats  meurtriers revendiqués par le Hamas, les premières élections législatives, les changements de gouvernement en Israël pour ne parler que des premiers mois de l’année1996,  le nouveau venu que j’étais commençait  à comprendre que la réussite du processus de paix s’engageait mal.

Taba, Oslo2, sommets de Charm-el-Cheikh et de Wye Plantation, Erez, Camp David.... autant de sommets et de camps de mépris, de retours sur la parole donnée, de chantages qui ont peu à peu réduit l’espoir d’Oslo à des «aménagements humanitaires» et surtout ont fait oublier le socle normal des négociations: les résolutions de l’Onu. Sur le terrain, qui ne voit que la logique d’occupation militaire n’a jamais cessé ? L’extension des colonies et de leurs réseaux routiers  ont  isolé les  villes et les villages palestiniens en leur rendant peu à peu  la  vie impossible;
L’Intifada el Aqsa est une guerre ouverte avec chars et hélicoptères contre  des civils. L’Onu peut bien condamner Israël une fois encore, «c’est une affaire strictement bilatérale entre israéliens et palestiniens. Et  américains!» C’est  impressionnant d’être pris sous un bombardement, ce jeudi 12  Octobre. Passé l’émotion-on se serait cru en direct dans un mauvais film  «Rambo»- on voit que les accords d’Oslo ne protègent le peuple de rien du  tout. C’est :«où vous vous écrasez, où on vous écrase» Bombardement, frappes punitives, c’est le vocabulaire même utilisé pour parler de la guerre en Irak; et les mêmes armes sans doute qui  tuent en premier les enfants  iraqiens et.palestiniens. Les aéroports de Bagdad et de Gaza sont contrôlés, l’économie étranglée, le patrimoine pillé.

Voilà deux peuples abandonnés directement ou indirectement par les nations.

L’un meurt et l’autre aussi

Les affrontements d’aujourd’hui, qui se sont étendus pour la première fois en Galilée avec les Arabes israéliens, ont   tous lieu dans les Territoires  Autonomes Palestiniens.. Sept ans après la signature des accords d’Oslo qui en prenaient le monde à  témoin à Washington, que font les Israéliens dans un pays qui n’est pas le  leur ?

Sept ans après la signature des Accords d’Oslo, en ce moment même, une armée  d’occupation peut saccager en toute impunité la splendide oasis du sud de Gaza, dévastant les jardins et les conduites d’eau, arrachant  les  palmeraies et les oliveraies au motif que «des terroristes  peuvent s’y  cacher et nous  attaquer! » La peur, les arbres me renvoient au récit  biblique de la Genèse où l’humanité découvre sa nudité. Quand bien même un  homme  serait -il  le mieux armé et le plus fort, Dieu lui révèle l’autre  vulnérable comme son semblable.

Tout le camp de Chateh n’est que clameur, accompagnant les funérailles de  l’un de ses martyrs. La foule crie au nom de celui qui est maintenant  silencieux mais terriblement présent par son corps exposé, ensanglanté, drapé des couleurs de la Palestine. J’arrive à entendre la psalmodie envoûtante du muezzin qui vient se perdre,  et s’élancer à nouveau dans la foule: «Ne crois surtout pas que ceux qui  sont tués en combattant sur le chemin de Dieu sont morts. Ils sont vivants» sourate 3, 169

J’entends encore le chauffeur de taxi qui me disait tout à l’heure en traçant sur la paume de sa main un territoire minuscule:«la Palestine est morte!»

Leur cri n’a pas fini de couvrir les veto de l’ONU. Ni leur main nue de chercher une large mesure de justice et de paix.

Georges Vimard.

                              The Mirror Does Not Lie

By Amira Hass
Ha'aretz, November 1, 2000

How perfectly natural that 40,000 persons should be subject to a total curfew for more than a month in the Old City of Hebron in order to protect the lives and well-being of 500 Jews.  How perfectly natural that almost no Israeli mentions this fact or, for that matter, even knows about it. How perfectly natural that 34 schools attended by thousands of Palestinian children should be closed down for more than a month and their pupils imprisoned and suffocating day and night in their crowded homes, while the children of their neighbors - their Jewish neighbors, that is  - are free to frolic as usual in the street among and with the Israeli soldiers stationed there. How perfectly natural that a Palestinian mother must beg and plead so that an Israeli soldier will allow her to sneak through the alleyways of the open-stall marketplace and obtain medication for her asthmatic children, or bread for her family. (Sometimes Israeli soldiers do have the guts to disobey orders, although, generally speaking, when encountering such situations, they order the woman to return to her home.)

How perfectly understandable that the Israel Defense Forces is seizing control of an ever-increasing number of rooftops atop the homes of Palestinians in the Old City of Hebron and that Israeli soldiers positioned on those rooftops from time to time open fire on other Palestinians, while, down below, at  street level, the Jewish settlers are free to show over and over  again  -  at  the expense of the windshields, windows and tires of the parked  cars of Palestinians - who's really the boss. How perfectly natural that a Muslim house of prayer like the Ibrahim mosque should be shut down and declared "off limits" to thousands of Muslim worshipers.

The ease with which a curfew has now been imposed on Hebron and the perception of that curfew as a completely natural occurrence are not the products of the past few weeks.  (Incidentally, the residents of the village of Hawara, in whose vicinity and on whose lands the Jewish settlement of Yitzhar was built, have also been placed under curfew; their curfew was imposed more than three weeks ago.)

After the massacre carried out by Baruch Goldstein in the Ibrahim mosque, also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the ones who were punished were the Palestinians, with the punishment taking the form of curfews, closures, "disengagement," the shutting-down of entire streets and the continual, hostile supervision by Israeli soldiers and police officers. And there was an additional punishment that was meted out to the Palestinians: economic disaster.

However, Hebron is only a microcosm, an illustration of the general picture. The protracted curfew imposed on Hebron and the way that this curfew has been accepted in Israeli eyes as such a natural event convey, in a nutshell, both the entire story of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land in general and the essence of the kind of Israeli thinking that has developed in the shadow of obvious military superiority. The curfew in Hebron and the ease with which it has been imposed only illustrate the entire story of discrimination and uprooting that the Palestinians have suffered at the hands of the Israelis - a never-ending story that unfolded as far back as the Oslo era and the period of the so- called "peace process."

Jews live in Hebron today either because of "ancestral rights" or because they can show proof of Jewish ownership of a given property in the not-too-distant past. It is so perfectly natural that Jews should be able to live wherever they want in the Land of Israel - on both sides of the Green Line. It is so perfectly natural that a Jew who was born in Tel Aviv should be able to move to Hebron or to Yitzhar. And it is so perfectly natural that Palestinians cannot enjoy that right and cannot move to Tel Aviv or to Haifa - even if their families own lands and houses there.

It is so perfectly natural that, to this very day, Israel is developing and expanding the Jewish community in Hebron, just as Israel is developing all the Jewish settlements in the territories. And it is so perfectly natural that, to this very day, the Palestinians must deal with various limitations imposed on any planned development for their own communities, because most of the lands on the West Bank - which is their primary land reserve – are under Israeli administrative control.  No, the Palestinians do not need the kind of legroom that Israelis do.

It is so perfectly natural that Palestinians have to obtain a travel permit from the Israeli authorities (only a minority of the applicants are granted the permit) in order to enter East Jerusalem or the Gaza  Strip, within  the context of  Israel's closure policy, which was launched in 1991  and  which  continues until this very day. On the other hand, Jews are free to travel from the West Bank to Israel and back, using well-built highways that have been constructed on lands that have been expropriated from Palestinian villages.

During the summers in Hebron, sometimes days, even weeks go by without running water in the faucets of Palestinian homes. On the other hand, the Jewish neighbors of Palestinian Hebronites  - in the Old City of Hebron or in the nearby Jewish quarter of Kiryat Arba - experience no problems or shortages as far as their water supply is concerned.

The same situation prevails in many Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank: Whereas the Palestinians have no water, the residents of the Jewish settlements enjoy green lawns.  The reason is that Israel has, in effect, imposed a quota on the water that the Palestinians are allowed to consume -that is, on the right to use water resources that are supposed to be jointly accessible for both Israelis and Palestinians in the single land they share.

This is a tale that must be recounted over and over again  - almost to the point of exhaustion  -  because  it  depicts  a situation that is so self-understood in the eyes of Israelis that they cannot even see that there is any  problem  whatsoever.  How perfectly easy to regard the Palestinians as a violent and cruel people and to ignore the cruelty that has accumulated day after day for 33 long years and which has been directed during that long period toward an entire community. This is the kind of
cruelty that is characteristic of every occupation regime. This is a cruelty that intensified during the Oslo years because of the gap between the fine talk about a "peace process" and the reality.

The curfew in Hebron and the fact that this curfew is regarded as a completely natural phenomenon in the eyes of Israeli society reflects the twisted sort of thinking that developed in the minds of Israelis during the Oslo years.  According to this warped thinking, the Palestinians would accept a situation of coexistence in which they were on an unequal footing vis-à-vis the Israelis and in which they were ranked as persons who were entitled to less, much less, than the Jews. However, in the end, the Palestinians were not willing to live with this arrangement.

The new Intifada, which displays the characteristics of both a popular uprising and a quasi-military one, is a final attempt to thrust a mirror in the face of Israelis and to tell them: "Take a good look at yourselves and see how racist you have become.

(c) Copyright 2000 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved

2. Ha'Aretz (quotidien israélien) du mercredi 1er novembre 2000
Le miroir ne ment pas par Amira Hass [traduit de l'anglais par Marcel Charbonnier]
Il est tout-à-fait normal, n’est-ce pas, que 40 000 personnes soient soumises à un couvre-feu total depuis plus d’un mois dans la Vieille Ville d’Hébron afin de protéger la vie et le bien-être de 500 Juifs. Il est parfaitement normal que pratiquement aucun Israélien ne mentionne cet état de faits, ou même, n’en sache quelque chose, non? De même, rien d’anormal à ce que 34 écoles, accueillant normalement plusieurs milliers d’écoliers palestiniens, soient fermées depuis plus d’un mois et à ce que ces enfants restent prisonniers et suffoquent jour et nuit dans leurs domiciles surpeuplés, tandis que les enfants de leurs voisins - de leurs voisins juifs, j’entends - sont libres de folâtrer comme d’habitude dans la rue, avec et au milieu des soldats israéliens en faction. Comme il est naturel qu’une mère palestinienne doive supplier un soldat israélien pour lui demander l’autorisation de se faufiler entre les allées du marché à ciel ouvert pour aller acheter un remède pour soigner la crise d’asthme de son enfant ou du pain pour sa famille. (Exceptionnellement, le soldat israélien a le courage de désobéir aux ordres, mais, le plus souvent, confronté à ce genre de situation, il ordonnera à la femme de rentrer chez elle).
Il est parfaitement compréhensible que les Forces de Défense israéliennes prennent le contrôle d’un nombre toujours plus important de terrasses des maisons palestiniennes dans la Vieille Ville d’Hébron et que les soldats israéliens ainsi positionnés ouvrent le feu sur d’autres Palestiniens, tandis qu’en bas, dans la rue, les colons juifs ont tout loisir de rouler les mécaniques impunément, de montrer qui est le chef, aux dépens des pare-brise et des pneus des voitures des Palestiniens. N’est-il pas dans l’ordre des choses qu’un lieu de prière musulman tel que la mosquée d’Abraham soit fermé et déclaré "hors zone" pour des milliers de fidèles musulmans ?
La facilité avec laquelle un couvre-feu a pu être imposé sur Hébron et la perception que ce couvre-feu est un non-événement ne sont pas le fruit des quelques semaines écoulées. (Mentionnons au passage que les habitants du village de Hawara, à proximité et sur les terres duquel la colonie de Yitzhar a été construite, sont aussi soumis au couvre-feu ; mais depuis plus de trois semaines).
Après le massacre organisé par Baruch Goldstein dans la mosquée d’Abraham, connue aussi comme le Tombeau des Patriarches, ceux qui ont été punis ont été les Palestiniens, la punition prenant la forme de couvre-feu, blocus, "désengagement", condamnation de rues entières et surveillance hostile et perpétuelle par les soldats et les officiers de police israéliens. Une punition supplémentaire fut infligée aux Palestiniens : la catastrophe économique.
Toutefois, Hébron n’est qu’un microcosme, une illustration du tableau général. Le couvre-feu prolongé imposé à Hébron et la manière dont l’opinion israélienne l’a admis comme étant parfaitement naturel, donnent, en raccourci, l’histoire de l’occupation israélienne de la Palestine, en général, et l’essence du mode de pensée israélien qui a grandi à l’ombre d’une supériorité militaire évidente. Le couvre-feu, à Hébron, et la facilité avec laquelle il a pu être imposé, ne font qu’illustrer l’histoire de discrimination et de déracinement subis par les Palestiniens du fait des Israéliens : une histoire sans fin, qui remonte aussi loin que l’ère d’Oslo et la période du soi-disant "processus de paix".
Les Juifs vivent aujourd’hui à Hébron soit en raison de "droits historiques" ou parce qu’ils peuvent apporter la preuve que telle ou telle propriété a appartenu à un Juif dans un passé pas trop ancien. Il est tellement naturel que des Juifs puissent vivre où ils l’entendent sur la Terre d’Israël, des deux côtés de la Ligne Verte... Il est tellement évident qu’un Juif né à Tel-Aviv puisse déménager pour venir habiter à Hébron ou à Yitzhar si cela lui chante... Il est tellement normal que des Palestiniens ne puissent jouir des mêmes droits et ne puissent pas aller vivre à Tel-Aviv ou à Haïfa, même si leurs familles y possèdent des maisons et des terrains.
Quoi de plus naturel qu’Israël, jusqu’au jour où je vous parle, soit en train de développer la communauté juive d’Hébron : Israël n’est-il pas en train de développer toutes les colonies juives dans les territoires ? Il est bien normal que, jusqu’à ce jour, les Palestiniens doivent compter avec les nombreuses limitations imposées à tout projet de développement de leurs propres collectivités : en effet, la plupart des terrains de la Cisjordanie - leur principale ressource en terrains - sont sous contrôle de l’administration israélienne. Non, les Palestiniens n’ont pas besoin du même espace que les Israéliens pour étendre leurs jambes.
Il est parfaitement normal que les Palestiniens doivent obtenir un permis de circuler des autorités israéliennes (qui n’est accordé qu’à une minorité d’entre eux), pour pouvoir pénétrer dans Jérusalem-Est ou la Bande de Gaza, dans le cadre de la politique israélienne de blocus, inaugurée en 1991 et encore en vigueur aujourd’hui. En contre-partie, les Juifs ont toute liberté de passer de Cisjordanie en Israël et vice-versa, grâce à des autoroutes dernier cri, construites sur les terrains gagnés sur les villages palestiniens par expropriation.
Durant l’été, à Hébron, l’eau est coupée, parfois pour quelques jours, voire quelques semaines, dans les maisons palestiniennes. Heureusement, les voisins juifs des hébronites palestiniens, dans la Vieille Ville ou dans le quartier juif voisin de Kiryat Arba n’ont aucun problème en ce qui concerne leur approvisionnement en eau...
La situation qui prévaut dans la plupart des villages et villes palestiniens est la même dans toute la Cisjordanie : là où les Palestiniens n’ont pas d’eau, les résidents des colonies juives soignent leurs gazons verdoyants. La raison est qu’Israël a, en effet, imposé un quota sur la quantité d’eau que les Palestiniens sont autorisés à consommer, c’est-à-dire sur le droit d’utiliser des ressources en eau supposées accessibles indifféremment aux Israéliens et aux Palestiniens sur le territoire qu’ils ont en partage.
Voilà un récit, qu’il faut recommencer encore et toujours - presque jusqu’à épuisement - car il dépeint une situation qui est va tellement de soi aux yeux des Israéliens qu’ils ne peuvent même pas entrevoir qu’il y ait là un quelconque problème. Il est tellement facile de considérer les Palestiniens comme un peuple violent et cruel et d’ignorer la cruauté, accumulée depuis trente-trois ans, et dirigée durant cette période interminable contre un peuple entier. C’est le type de cruauté inhérente à tout régime d’occupation. C’est la cruauté qui a empiré au cours des années d’Oslo à cause du hiatus entre les beaux discours sur le "processus de paix" et la réalité.
Le couvre-feu à Hébron, en lui-même, et le fait qu’il soit considéré comme quelque chose de parfaitement normal par la société israélienne reflètent le type de perversion de la pensée qui s’est développé dans les esprits des Israéliens au cours des années d’Oslo. D’après cette pensée biaisée, les Palestiniens étaient supposés accepter une situation de coexistence dans laquelle ils ne seraient pas sur un pied d’égalité avec les Israéliens, et dans laquelle ils seraient catégorisés comme des personnes pouvant prétendre à moins, beaucoup moins, que les Juifs. Toutefois, à la fin des fins, les Palestiniens ne voulaient pas vivre avec ce type de compromis.
La nouvelle Intifada, qui présente les caractéristiques tant d’une révolte populaire que d’une insurrection quasi-militaire, est une ultime tentative de mettre un miroir devant les yeux des Israéliens et de leur dire: "Regardez-vous bien et voyez à quel point vous êtes devenus racistes".


By Mubarak Awad and Abdul Aziz Said

[Dr. Mubark Awad is the Chairman of Non-Violence International and the National
Director of the National Youth Advocate Program.
Professor Said is the Director of the International Peace and Conflict
Resolution Program at the American University and holds the Mohammed Said Farsi Islamic Peace Chair.]

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains intractable, despite the best efforts of the Clinton Administration. Traditional techniques of conflict resolution using engineering, mechanistic, isolated approaches to problem solving are not suitable for nonmaterial identity based conflicts. Beliefs, values and behavior of conflicting parties are at stake. The fundamental concessions that are needed for peace will emerge, not through technical agreements, but only in a transformed political and psychological environment. Israeli-Palestinian peace is achievable but only at a price: both sides must undergo a change of mind.

The present impasse in the peace process is fundamentally a crisis of mind and spirit. If Israelis and Palestinians cannot change some deeply ingrained habits of thinking about one another, a crisis will be recreated in short order. Only a new-shared vision will suffice.

Why vision? To avoid drift. To avoid self-centeredness. To help mobilize the best imagination and energy of followers and leaders. To widen and deepen the sense of mutual responsibility. In the absence of vision, pandering replaces leadership, mood replaces action, and charisma replaces creativity.

Self evidently not all Israelis and Palestinian are accepting of the other, or open to the reality that they are each other’s neighbors. The irredentists among both groups insist that no real change has taken place in the context of their relationship.  There are Palestinians and Israelis who recognize that the relationship between the two parties has changed, but they are incapable of acting on their conclusions. Palestinians and Israelis have no other viable choice but to live beside each other. The security of the Israelis and the dignity of the Palestinians go hand in hand.

The only workable instrument for establishing a Palestinian-Israeli peace is the development of a broad consensus. The strategy of consensus calls for Israelis and Palestinians to strengthen their mutual dependencies and cooperative linkages.  Both parties must willingly exploit existing tendencies towards their interdependence.  Israeli security from this perspective is achieved less by placing the Palestinians at a power disadvantage than by circumscribing Israelâ?Ts freedom to and incentives for undertaking hostile actions. Adoption of an interdependent strategy carries with it an implied willingness to downgrade sovereign freedom of action as a defining characteristic of security. Enhanced Israeli security requires improved Palestinian security.  Both sides achieve common security.

The process of consensus underscores the obsolescence of the habitual competitive practice in the Israeli Palestinian relationship. It is a model based on the assumption that the pursuit of self-interest, leads to the betterment of both sides.  Consensus requires a cooperative model of Israeli Palestinian relationship that focuses on the benefits of stable peace for both.  Neither Israelis nor Palestinians can achieve stable peace alone. In fact, both sides have to make sacrifices.

Given present realities, the Israelis cannot be defeated militarily; yet, they cannot win politically. The loss of the ability to force a verdict by armed conflict imposes a limitation on the practice of Israeli Palestinian statecraft. But it is a limitation that leaves room for vigor, imagination and skill in framing and executing reconciliation and coexistence between
both parties.

Step One: Apology and Forgiveness

Israelis and Palestinians should begin their own process of truth and reconciliation now.  Apology and forgiveness are central ingredients. Apology was a key to peace in South Africa and is being currently practiced by the Catholic Church, Germany and Poland who are seeking forgiveness from the Jews.  Israelis should extend an apology to the Palestinians for Israeli abuse of Palestinian basic human rights. Palestinians should apologize to the Israelis for Palestinian acts of violence against Jews. Both must forgive, and accept apology graciously.

Step Two: Recognition and Acceptance

 Palestinians and Arabs have to accept Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians must recognize the Jewish historical, religious and emotional connection to the Temple Mount. This is consistent with Islamic traditions. While it is true that in times of decline in Islamic history Muslims violated precepts of coexistence, the religion of Islam clearly acknowledges and respects the rights of Jews, as well as Christians. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are not inherently hegemonic. However, in the context of power politics, Jews, Christians and Muslims have and do justify hegemonic practices. In keeping with the Islamic tradition and precepts, the Palestinians should accept Israeli identity.

Arabs also need to acknowledge the tragedy of the holocaust -- to listen to the Jewish story of pain and empathize with the historical memory of the Jewish people. The Arabs must acknowledge that the Jewish people have a historical connection to the Old City of Jerusalem and accept Israel into full membership in the Middle East region. Israel must be included in Arab maps, sports, and regional gatherings.

At the same time, Israelis have to accept that there is a Palestinian people and not merely the West Bankers and acknowledge the historical memory of the Palestinians. The Israelis should stop referring to Palestinian land as Judea and Samaria and recognize the Palestinians just claim to their land. Israelis, too, must undergo a process of soul searching and come to terms with a past that includes acts of repression and dehumanization. Israel must also see itself as a Middle Eastern country. Israel is projecting itself in the region as a superior Western country, oblivious to its actual geography, an attitude that rekindles Arab resentment of Western colonialism and continued hegemonic behavior.

Step Three: Non-Adversarial Relationship
The Israelis need to abandon the practice of exploiting inter-Arab tensions. In international forums, Israel needs to refrain from voting against Arab states. In Arab countries, in public discourse, Israel should be treated as a neighbor rather than an enemy.  Israelis and Arabs need to move away from the adversarial posture that both have adopted toward one another in the region and the international arena, toward a cooperative relationship.

Step Four: Sharing Progress
There cannot be peace without economic prosperity. Prosperity must be shared. Opportunities for economic growth will ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians are too busy to hate. Mutual prosperity will provide a basis for overcoming mistrust, paranoia, and defensiveness.

Israeli society and industry are technologically sophisticated, but Israel has not demonstrated willingness to help Palestinians.  Israelis should pursue policies that promote Israeli investment in Palestine and development of the Palestinian economy.  Encouraged by the Palestinians, Arab countries must end the economic boycott of Israel and promote trade and commercial transactions.

Step Five:  Rights of People not States
Israelis and Palestinians need to recognize the rights of each other’s people. Israel should acknowledge its role in creating the plight of Palestinian refugees. Palestinian refugees should be given the choice to live where they want.  Jewish settlers should be granted similar rights to settle in the West Bank. Palestinians should also be compensated for the property that they lost as Jews are now being compensated in Eastern Europe for the same. The same applies to the compensation of Jews who lost property in Arab countries

If Israel were to accept the return of Palestinian refugees, only a small percentage of the refugees would return.  It is generally agreed that a significant number of Palestinian refugees would remain in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria if these governments were given incentives and were willing to integrate them into their societies.

Step Six: Mutual Religious Tolerance
Judaism, Christianity and Islam need to acknowledge one another. Israel needs to recognize the legitimacy of Islam, rather than view Islam as the enemy and move away from a clash of civilizations, to a dialogue of civilizations posture.  Muslims need to acknowledge that Judaism has a deep historical connection to the Old City of Jerusalem.  By recognizing each other’s narrative, Jews, Christians and Muslims prevent the discourse of their respective fundamentalisms from becoming instruments of foreign policy, as is presently the case.

Step Seven:  Education and Communication for Peace
Both Palestinians and Israelis need to change curricula, textbooks and other learning sources to accept the concept of the new truth.  Israelis and Arabs who do not know one another are the most aggressive, towards one another, because the other has no face.  This results in de-humanization. Both sides need to move towards re-humanization and empowerment. Israeli and Palestinian youth have more in common than their grandparents did. By confronting their differences, they will discover their similarities, as some are already doing.

Step Eight: Jerusalem
The final step is possible only when the previous steps are realized. Jews, Christians, and Muslims have equal rights in Jerusalem. Every religious group should acknowledge the right of every other religious group. We need to take politics out of the Old City of Jerusalem.

A council representing the respective religious communities should administer the Old City, whose walls shelter the holy places for three religions.  Its inhabitants should have the choice of Israeli or Palestinian citizenship. The council should have a rotating leadership. Security in the Old City should be shared between Israelis and Palestinians.

Capitals could be located outside the Old City. Israelis and Palestinians can locate their capitals in metropolitan (greater) West and East Jerusalem -- Jerusalem minus the Old City. Borders within metropolitan Jerusalem could disappear. They are illusory. Its inhabitants should be given the choice of Israeli or Palestinian citizenship.  Embassies could be located anywhere in greater Jerusalem and serve both Israelis and Palestinians. Finally, we would suggest that were the Arab world to unequivocally and sincerely recognize the right of Israel to exist as a brother nation in the Middle East, the symbolic capital of Jerusalem as the key national identity marker for Israelis would diminish.

This is not idle dreaming. The journey toward peace requires a great awakening.
Sincerely, The folks at Nonviolence International

Things undreamt of are daily being seen; the impossible is ever becoming possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence.  But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.
-- M.K. Gandhi--------------------------------------------------------
Fr. Raed Awad Abusahlia
of the latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Personal Secretary of H.B. Patriarch Michel Sabbah

P.O.Box 14152  Jerusalem  97500
Tel.  00 972 2 6282323/6272280
Fax  00 972 2 6271652
E-mail: nonviolence@writeme.com
E-mail: Latinpat@actcom.co.il
Website: http://www.Lpj.org
Website: http://members.nbci.com/nonviolence