29 September 2010 – Jerusalem
So, I want to write a brilliant synopsis of today – our first working day of the delegation. I also desperately want to go to sleep, since jet lag insomnia has had me up since 2:45am here today. It is now 9:30pm and we leave hotel tomorrow morning at 7:30 for Ramallah in the West Bank.
I think I’ll just write a few things I heard (paraphrased, but in quotation marks) and or that came to mind today (not in quotation marks). Of course there are many more, but these resonated enough for me to write them down in some form.
“At the end of the day, if we don’t talk to the ‘terrorists’ we won’t have peace.”
“I don’t know any religion out there that says we must fight each other.”
Why does the “official story” in almost any country carry more weight than the voices of hundreds, thousands and sometimes even millions who speak out with a different story from the same set of circumstances and events?
“I can be unambiguous in my support of a place while at the same being ambivalent about some of its policies.”
“Everyone who believes in peace should talk about both narratives – that of the Palestinians and that of the Israelis.”
“You can’t negotiate identities, history, emotions.”
States often prefer the majority of their people to not be actively involved citizens beyond giving them their “support” during elections; they want “Stepford citizens.” So much easier to run a country that way.
“Yes, the [barrier] wall is unfortunate for some Palestinians. But I prefer the misfortune of the Palestinians to the loss of one Israeli civilian life.”
“I have seen babies in incubators alone in the street while their parents are inside the Israeli checkpoint trying to get through to take the child to the hospital. Not that long ago, a baby died in the incubator while its mother was inside the checkpoint trying to get through security. If she had gotten through, then the baby would have been passed through to her on the other side. These kinds of incidents happen frequently.”
“With this wall, they take our lands. They destroy the olive trees. It is the same as death.”
“The border wall has not been built along the “green line” which was recognized in the 1948 armistice as the border between Israel and Palestine. The barrier wall has been built to include Jewish settlements built after 1967 in Palestinian territory inside Israel. And as such, it confiscates 10% of Palestinian land.”
“I participated in the building of this checkpoint to stop terrorists now at the same time I knew that with it I was creating the terrorists of tomorrow.”
“How do you make this thing [the latest round of peace negotiations] work when everything is against it? To answer the question we must understand the constraints: 1) skepticism, i.e., 70% of Israelis see a two-state solution as the only solution. At the same time, 70% of Israelis believe it is never going to happen. Skepticism is a prescription for inaction. 2) spoilers – on either side who do not want a 2-state solution but want their side to control the entire territory; 3) superficiality – many want a peace deal but are superficial about resolving critical points the must be dealt with to reach real peace.”
Is there a difference between “inaction” and non-action?
Ok. I know I could write pages and pages more of quotes/thoughts. I could write pages and pages of “stuff,” sights, impressions and emotions. But I have to end now because my eyelids really are closing on me now. Hopefully more tomorrow. # # #