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"The Peace of the World begins in Jerusalem"

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On Sunday, 20 August 2006 at 8:30 PM from Jerusalem, Uri Avneri, the dean of anti-war activists, a globally respected analyst and the founder of Gush Shalom, spoke on a telephone conference call moderated by Rabbi Lerner of Tikkun,
to a few, thoughtful, committed American's seeking peace and justice in Israel and Palestine. During the 83 year olds commentary I often thought of what Rev. Naim Ateek wrote in the classic and prophetic release from 1989, "Justice and Only Justice".

Uri spoke, "The root cause of this war and everything else is the Israeli Palestinian conflict...The pretext for the war in Gaza was the capture of soldier... [But] this war had been prepared several years ago. The aim was to destroy Hezbollah and after thirty three days of fighting, Hezbollah has already returned to the Israeli borders and is fully armed. We are exactly where we were before; except now we have created a huge wave of hatred, disgust and loss of sympathy all over the world...Condoleezza Rice was back and forth dictating when to start, when to stop, what to do, what not to do. America is fully complicit...

"The war against Palestinians in Gaza was to destroy Hamas and they used the pretext of the captured soldier. Hezzbolah wanted to show solidarity with Hamas-and this must be seen in the terms that Hamas, and the Palestinians are Sunni and Hezbollah is Shia-and there has always been enmity between them, [but this move to solidarity announces] we are all fighting as Arabs together...

Of course it was opportunistic for Hezbollah to connect with the Palestinian cause but all these struggles are connected and the results have a profound influence for all Arabs who look at it like this: the fifth strongest army in the world...could not overcome a guerilla army of a few thousand...This will have a profound effect on Palestinians, now they see that guerrilla's can overcome the mighty Israeli army...the profound emotional connection...and Arab solidarity -not because of the diverse dictators; each ready to sell out to America-but behind them are masses, millions of people who saw the onslaught on TV constantly, and their anger against the impotence of their government and anger against Israel because of the terrible devastation we have done them is what military minds never consider; the emotional outcome of war; the anger, fury, hatred will overcome any military victory, and this time there was none of that at all.

"Trading prisoners has always happened. Israel once exchanged 1,000 for 3...but this [onslaught] was not retaliation, this was a full scale war against guerillas which we cannot win. America has failed miserably in Iraq and Vietnam. Russia failed in Afghanistan. Guerilla warfare requires military and political means to be used and highly motivated guerillas can beat any highly equipped army.

"Hezbollah has deep roots in every town and they are allied with Syria and Iran for their arms. Just like the USA, which supports Israel with money and arms...Israel could be a pawn in a proxy war for USA and Lebanon a proxy of Iran...

"What we need is to make peace with Syria and give back the Golan Heights...We were close six years ago, but Barrack got cold feet and there have been no negotiations since. Peace with Syria means peace with Lebanon...The security of Israel depends on making peace with Palestine because that is the root of the whole problem. I have believed that for 57 years that we must make peace with Palestine and that they must have a free sovereign state. We must work with what ever leadership they elect, and that is Hamas. I have talked with Hamas and I am convinced that we can negotiate a peace and that includes East Jerusalem as the capital...

"Since the beginning of the world people working for peace have been viewed as naïve... [But] the Palestinians are our natural partners. To think we are forever condemned to live in a land where everyone hates us; where there is war and more war! We must learn to live as neighbors...The real peace solution is with two states with open borders and frontiers, each with their own language and customs, but fully equal and a shared capitol in Jerusalem...This will lead to a slow organic coming in Europe where borders don't count anymore, economies are so intertwined...

"The difficulty is all in our mindsets. We are still prisoners of our own propaganda and physiological problems. The job of the Israeli peace movement is to change the mindset of the people. The question is how do we see the future of this state we created? Are we going to make peace or condemn ourselves to eternal war? Every new generation of Arabs hates Israel more than the last one...The fact is that we came to a country inhabited by another people and they won't go away. We cannot go away; we must make peace."

In 1989, Rev. Naim Ateek, a 1948 Palestinian refugee and founder of Sabeel www.sabeel

"An imaginative solution is vitally needed in the Middle East....the pressure on Israel to accept a political solution must come from both the American Jewish community and the United States government. The major premise is simply this: Palestine is a country for both the Jews and the Palestinians...

..The preservation of Israel as a Jewish state is important not only to Israeli Jews but to Jews all over the world...we should put aside the idea of one democratic Palestine and insist on preserving the Jewish character of Israel so as to alleviate the insecurity of the Jewish people...

...the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel" is the only "alternative offering real justice and a good measure of peace and stability in our area...It is for the security and well-being of Israel that a Palestinian state should be established...

...But the creation of a Palestinian state should be only the first step in a dynamic process of peace and reconciliation...The work of reconciliation can only begin, when Jews and Palestinians meet each other on equal footing and not as oppressor and oppressed...[And then] we can share the land with you. You have suffered for so long. Come share our land. This is God's land. We will live in it together as brothers and sisters...Jerusalem as the federal capital would again be given the dignity, honor, and holiness it deserves. The Holy City will not be Judaiized, Islamized, or Christianized: it will be the city of the One God."
-"Justice and only Justice" pages 163-174

"The Peace of the World begins in Jerusalem"
-Rev. Theodore Hessburgh 6/26/05
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Eileen Fleming,is a Citizen of CONSCIENCE for US House of Representatives 2012 Founder of Staff Member of, A Feature Correspondent for Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" (more...)
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