I once worked for a Palestinian – Jewish peace village and peace initiative (Oasis of Peace / British Friends of Neve Shalom ~ Wahat al Salam) and had also studied the conflict at university. So quite a few were interested in my thoughts on the escalation of the conflict.
My main forum of discussion was on my facebook. I share the comments here for those who use different ways of staying in touch, as some found them helpful and shared some of them.
Hamas is using guerrilla war fare techniques. They were first suggested but not called this way in the Chinese Art of War Manual. Mao and Ho Chi Minh reiterated the strategy which has its current name from the Spanish peninsulan war. The idea is that a powerful army can not fight an army where the transition between civilian and soldier is constant. In its modern form victims are taken into account deliberately and the depiction of them are used to demoralise the other side and increase sympathies with others, showing how brutal the opposing army is, in its attack on innocents. This is classic war theory. In my opinion, Palestinians in Gaza are just as much hostage to the techniques and agenda of Hamas functionaries as Israelis are subject of their attacks. Why Hamas would order the stockpiling of rockets again, and build all these infiltration tunnels after the previous conflict outbreaks and their costs, is hard to understand.
11/7/14 MULTIFACTORIAL SPIRAL
There is a huge social media battle about Israel and Palestine ongoing. Each side and its supporters discrediting the other. Mostly there is some evidence given to each claims, but I am amazed about biased selectivity across the board There are evidently problems on all sides. It is only through that admission we can move forward, because violence in the Middle East is a multi-factorial spiral.
NOT A LOVE RELATION—-
I think that in the media war the clear looser are the powers for peace and reason. The clear winners are the sides that de-legitimate one or the other side or in deed dehumanize them. Years after the Volksapparat was created (“machine for the people”, the name for the affordable TVs in the Third Reich) to spread the message of Adolf Hitler, we have now entered in deed the age of propaganda rather than factual and reasoned argument, where anyone can try to prove a point with a string of shocking images and simple messages underneath. The internet has made all of us potential hate cells, who can be influenced and traumatized through the free dissemination of the worst images of bloodshed, torture and murder. We can be made to believe that the other side is out there to get us any moment and that all of a Jewish faith or Muslim faith are enemies in their true nature. This begs for very solid education, but I fear no education program in the world can compete with the lazy images on the internet.
Still we must not stand by idly and in defeat. We must insist on solid argument and not the misleading conclusions that simple messages give. Still the half truths if added up with all the others create also a picture. Since I have facebook friends in all camps, many myths are disproved on all sides too. The trouble is that people choose what to see and what not to see.
So what’s the way out? Once again establishing real relations where people encountered the other in reality and consistently and are forced to discuss the topics we smile away, their fears and their believes about the other, and let the other side hear these and respond to. Then after being upset about these, we go back to talk, and meet, and with some good guidance this process leads to an understanding and agreement of how one can live and exist alongside the other. Not a love relation, but a better way of communication through real human relations, than the Q & A game of throwing deadly things at each other.
11 July 2014
NOT SO ALIEN
When working as press and education officer for Oasis of Peace UK, who represent Neve Shalom – Wahat al-Salam, for over five years, I have witnessed successful conflict transformation between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis through consistent talks amongst ordinary people and professionals on numerous occasions in their centre School for Peace ( http://wasns.org/-the-school-for-peace-), where both sides can meet on neutral grounds. I also witnessed people of the first and second generation (and now even third), who chose and continue to choose themselves as examples of living with the other as neighbours and share all communal life so, thus going to school together, using the same facilities and making decisions together, without being any less Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian, Muslim or Christian.
The community sustained itself in spite of and in the face of many set backs and outbreaks of open conflict and is evidence that Palestinians and Jewish Israelis are not so alien to each other, or so incapable of finding an acceptable way forward, as many on all sides would claim. Their message continues to go out to all on all sides, that if you really try to engage with your “enemy” and neutral places for sustained and ongoing mutual talk and meetings are being provided, the reality on the ground can be very different. We need promotion of the way out of conflict, not just the documentation of what conflict does. Please help strengthening the alternative by spreading the message of projects like Oasis of Peace, the Black Women Movement, Givat Aviva, Combatants for Peace, and other shared Palestinian and Jewish initiatives for a non-violent future!
—- 13 July —
There is a 1991 Israeli movie called cup final, where a Palestinian unit adducts an Israeli soldier and they discover heir mutual love for football during the 1982 World Cup. May the arms rest for a while this evening too…. www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-B6ryVB3k
Sending my heartfelt deep wishes and hopes for a brighter future to all my facebook friends and family whose lives are affected by the latest violence in Israel and Palestine. I am sorry for my delayed message. I had hoped it would last only a few days.
There are two other posts.
- One shows the work of Combatants for Peace: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbzw6m_combatants-for-peace-promotional-fi_news
- An economic analysis http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2014/07/17/What-is-Hamas-trying-to-achieve-.htm