Tuesday, 19 February 2008

What is the answer for peace in Israel







The Green Party has recently been discussing a motion on an academic boycott of Israel. The Green Party of Israel disagrees with this, and has much to say on www.green-party.org.il/public_statement.htm including that
'Israel is the only free democratic country in the region, with freedom of speech, free press, and a free and independent judicial system. From our point view all Israeli citizens from all religions have equal rights. All Israelis have the right to vote and run for parliament. We are not aware of any state violation of human right of any Israeli citizens.'

I would like to quote one commentator, who has battled against this motion, and makes an interesting case. I have based the following post on his comments and my web research. He says that a boycott would stifle efforts at reconciliation and be counterproductive. I am no expert on the Middle East, but I dislike most of what I read about it as it either seems to condemn one side or the other. As a green I believe violence is not the answer for either side. If the Palestinians are serious about peace they could learn much from Ghandi, peaceful protest wold bring much of the world out on their side, killing innocents just perpetuates revenge killing. Israel to has much to learn, a few years ago they had the worlds sympathy but much of this has turned towards suspicion and hatred.

Regarding the Arabs who live in Israel, are they really second class citizens discriminated against or amongst the freest and better off people in the middle east? www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=31947 though a few years old is very interesting and www.arabsforisrael.com has something to say about this. www.mossawacenter.org is also noteworthy.

If we want to express our solidarity with Palestinians, we should condemn violence on both sides, including; Israel's siege of Gaza, the targeted killings, the settlements in the West Bank, Hamas suicide bombings and rockets attacks against civilians, and we should support pioneering admirable work by Palestinian NGOs, Israeli NGOs, and International NGOs who are effectively working for peace and working towards building understanding and collaboration. We should support the Palestinians negociators who are trying to bring the conflict to an end through political negociations leading to two states.

A sad example of the bad effect of a boycott was the cancellation of the One Voice peace concert. Who in their right mind would call for a boycott of a peace concert? See links below for details of this story.
www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1479
www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1484
Another example was the recent call by the PSC to boycott "Peace oil", an organization which was set up by the UK charity Charities Advisory Trust as a model for co-existence and cooperation between Jews, Druze, Arab and Bedouin in Israel and the West Bank.
www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1547

The peace process would not be adressed with this, it doesnt even mention Hamas or Fatah, or the roles of Egypt, Syria, Iran, the US and the international community. The aim of the motion is to characterize Israel as essentially and intrinsically evil and to support a boycott of Israel.

Hence the re-writing of history - Are Green Party policy statements the right place to write the history of the Middle East? Hence the unsubstantiated claim that Israel is the root cause of all unrest in the Middle East. Hence the cherry-picked and made-up facts.

Examples of made-up facts include:
"92 % of the land falls under the administration of the Jewish National Fund, and cannot be sold to non-Jews." This is not true. 13% of the land belongs to the JNF; the other 77% belong to the state and are equally accessible by all citizens. Even on these 13%, following a landmark case in 1995, discrimination was considered illegal. There is undoubtly still discriminations, as well as efforts by rightwing MPs to re-introduce discrimination in the JNF. How a boycott is going to support the forces that, in Israel, on the grounds and in the courts, are fighting against discrimination, is still to be demonstrated by the boycotters...

"Settlements consume more than 80% of the renewable water resources in the West Bank and Gaza." This is not true, let me quote here Dr. Amjad Aliewi, Director-General of House of Water and Environment, Palestine:
"The concept of benefit sharing should always be promoted to influence the politicians towards a win-win scenario in shared aquifer management. "
This quote is taken out of a long presentation in which Dr Aliewi highlights the current massive problems, challenges and injustices faced by the Palestinians in relation to water.

Still Dr. Amjad Aliewi believes, "benefit sharing" and "shared management" is the route to go.

Our boycotters know better.

UPDATE
another interesting website is
www.beyondimages.info/

2 comments:

Peter said...

Adrian,

the people behind this motion think Israel should never have been established in the first place. Effectively they think it is both possible and desirable to turn the clock back to 1939; and if the Jews don't like it they can go and live in New York or wherever their families lived before.

The aim of the motion is effectively a propaganda effort to de-legitimise Israel - in order to turn public opinion against it.

It is absolutely nothing to do with efforts for peace and reconciliation.

Adrian Windisch said...

Hi Peter, I suspect you go a bit further than me in this. How about 1946 rather than 1939? Under those rules most Jews around the world would be moving, but where to go isn't obvious, most aren't just from one country, we've been moving around since Roman times.

I think public opinion is against Israel, who have acted very aggresively in recent times; but isn't for the Palestinians. We need to be for all people, its not their fault where they were born.