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Working Draft of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Groups:

Shared Responsibility for Repair

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This document is a working draft of proposals for joint Israeli and Palestinian actions for peace, prepared by peace activists. It is not the policy of any group, and is presented by the authors and by MidEastWeb as a basis for discussion and for initiating programs that further coexistence. Interested readers should contact:

Hagai – 051-713697
Walid – 02-6281151
Melisse – 053-537014
Mideastweb

Thank you.

Ami Isseroff
for
MidEastWeb
May 9, 2002


United Leadership of Shared Responsibility for Repair

Empowering the Muted Voice of Both Nations

Spring 2002

 

Assumptions:

 

  1. The Muted Voice: Among Jews and Palestinians, the main voices express hatred and anger towards the other nation. Other voices are generally being muted. Expressing empathy towards the needs and rights of the other nation is interpreted as ignoring the needs of one’s own nation.
  2. Promoting Empathetic Leadership: In other places (a known example is South Africa), breakthrough and conflict transformation were achieved when a leader has expressed empathy towards the needs and rights of the other side, without making any concessions. Surprisingly, these leaders often come from the side that has perceived itself as oppressed and powerless (e.g., Mandela, Tutu). When the formal leadership is not mature for such empathy, a popular movement for shared understanding and responsibility is required.
  3. Impasse and Paralysis: In both nations, most of the people feel hopeless, powerless and have no trust in the other side. They perceive the current situation as impasse. Especially, the large group of individuals who understand the need for a just solution for both nations feels frustrated and paralyzed – as its voice being muted.
  4. The Need to Act: This large group looks for activities that express their muted voice. They want a process that would empower them to affect the situation, give hope and restore trust.

 

We believe in a united Palestinian-Jewish group that acts to express the muted voice. This is the voice of shared responsibility for a repair that fits the needs and rights of both nations. This voice must be heard as empathetic to the vast majority of the people of both nations.

 

Approach:

 

  1. A popular process that can affect the media, the public opinion and the political leaders.
  2. Emphasis on needs and rights, instead of “solutions, “opinions”. Any solution in the current situation would sound pathetic and will cause marginalization of ourselves in the public.
  3. Emphasis on what we can do, instead of giving “advice” to the leaders of the other side, or of “my side”. They do not listen anyhow. Focusing on giving advice to the political leaders at this time is a symptom of the paralysis.
  4. The only call to leaders will be to take the role of empathetic leaders who understand the needs and rights of both sides.
  5. Messages and slogans must appeal to the vast majority of both sides. Although most Israelis want to end the occupation, the slogan “End the Occupation” is perceived as anti-Israeli. Although most Palestinians do not believe in killing random civilians, the slogans “End the Terror” and “End the Violence” are perceived as anti-Palestinian. More sophisticated messages are required.
  6. The role of the Jews in the group is to support the Palestinians of the group in their appeal to their people. It should be well understood why this group contributes to the Palestinian interests.
  7. The role of the Palestinians in the group is to support the Jews of the group in their appeal to their people. It should be well understood why this group contributes to the Jewish interests.
  8. This mutual support must be deep enough to allow the group to be expanded – it should be a positive feedback process.
  9. Recruitment: in the Jewish side, the initial target population is the large group from the left and center (and also some from the right) who will not join activities that are perceived as purely pro-Palestinian, but at the same time is not sharing the hatred to the Palestinians in the Jewish public. In the Palestinian side, the initial target population is the large group who understands that non-violent and “Tutu-Mandela approach” activities can achieve more in terms of Palestinian interests.
  10. Methodologies: 1. Symbolic actions (vigils, ceremonies, co-activities, etc.) that express the muted voice of shared responsibility as well as the ability to act and transform the situation (in opposed to the general feeling of impotence hopelessness). 2. Community groups who work to change their local situation by forming partnership of residents from both nations. 3. Bi-national groups that share profession or specific interest and work in partnership to achieve a specific win-win synergic goal.
  11. The practical short-term challenge: in the short range, it seems comparably easy to recruit an initial group of Jews and Palestinians to this movement. However, in order to expand the group, mutual support will be required. Each one will have to ask: “how can I help the participants from the other side in their recruitment?” This requires fast proofs of the efficiency of the group’s approach, at least in a small scale, in helping the needs of both sides.

 


Contact information:

Hagai – 051-713697

Walid – 02-6281151

Melisse – 053-537014

 

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