WARNING : This site is not for you if you cannot see the otherness of other and sufferings of both sides of the party in the conflict. Security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians are interdependent, one will not happen without the other. My view focuses on building cohesive societies where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. I hope and pray a sense of justice to prevail. Amen. Website www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com | Also Check Israel Palestine Confederation a pragmatic solution

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Peaceful Protest can Free Palestine

By MUSTAFA BARGHOUTHIPublished: February 21, 2012

OVER the past 64 years, Palestinians have tried armed struggle; we have tried negotiations; and we have tried peace conferences. Yet all we have seen is more Israeli settlements, more loss of lives and resources, and the emergence of a horrifying system of segregation.

Khader Adnan, a Palestinian held in an Israeli prison, pursued a different path. Despite his alleged affiliation with the militant group Islamic Jihad, he waged a peaceful hunger strike to shake loose the consciences of people in Israel and around the world. Mr. Adnan chose to go unfed for more than nine weeks and came close to death. He endured for 66 days before ending his hunger strike on Tuesday in exchange for an Israeli agreement to release him as early as April 17.

Mr. Adnan has certainly achieved an individual victory. But it was also a broader triumph — unifying Palestinians and highlighting the power of nonviolent protest. Indeed, all Palestinians who seek an independent state and an end to the Israeli occupation would be wise to avoid violence and embrace the example of peaceful resistance.

Mr. Adnan was not alone in his plight. More than 300 Palestinians are currently held in “administrative detention.” No charges have been brought against them; they must contend with secret evidence; and they do not get their day in military court.

Britain’s practices in Northern Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s were not so different from Israel’s today — and they elicited a similarly rebellious spirit from the subjugated population. In 1981, Bobby Sands, an imprisoned member of the Irish Republican Army, died 66 days after beginning a hunger strike to protest Britain’s treatment of political prisoners. Mr. Sands was elected to Parliament during his strike; nine other hunger strikers died before the end of 1981; and their cases drew worldwide attention to the plight of Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland.

Just as Margaret Thatcher, then the British prime minister, unsympathetically dismissed Mr. Sands as a “convicted criminal,” Israeli officials have accused Mr. Adnan of being an active member of Islamic Jihad. But if this is the case, Israel should prove it in court.

Mr. Adnan’s actions over the past nine weeks demonstrated that he was willing to give his life — nonviolently and selflessly — to advance Palestinian freedom. Others must now show similar courage.

What is needed is a Palestinian version of the Arab revolutions that have swept the region: a mass movement demanding freedom, dignity, a just peace, real democracy and the right to self-determination. We must take the initiative, practice self-reliance and pursue a form of nonviolent struggle that we can sustain without depending on others to make decisions for us or in our place.

In the last several years, Palestinians have organized peaceful protests against the concrete and wire “separation barrier” that pens us into what are best described as bantustans. We have sought to mobilize popular resistance to this wall by following in the nonviolent traditions of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas K. Gandhi — and we remain determined to sustain peaceful protest even when violently attacked.

Using these techniques, we have already succeeded in pressuring the Israeli government to reroute the wall in villages like Jayyous and Bilin and helped hundreds of Palestinians get their land back from settlers or the Israeli Army.

Our movement is not intended to delegitimize Israel, as the Israeli government claims. It is, instead, a movement to delegitimize the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, which we believe is the last surviving apartheid system in the world. It is a movement that could free Palestinians from nearly 45 years of occupation and Israelis from being part of the last colonial-settler system of our time.

I remember the days when some political leaders of the largest Palestinian political parties, Al Fatah and Hamas, laughed at our nonviolent struggle, which they saw as soft and ineffective. But the turning point came in the summer of 2008, when we managed to break the Israeli naval siege of Gaza with small boats. Suddenly, I saw great respect in the eyes of the same leaders who had doubted the power of nonviolence but finally recognized its potential.

The power of nonviolence is that it gives Palestinians of all ages and walks of life the tools to challenge those subjugating us. And thousands of peace activists from around the world have joined our movement. In demonstrations in East Jerusalem, Silwan and Hebron we are also being joined by a new and younger Israeli peace movement that categorically rejects Israeli occupation.

Unfortunately, continuing Israeli settlement activity could soon lead us to the point of no return. Indeed, if we do not soon achieve a genuinely independent Palestinian state, we will be forced to press instead for a single democratic state with equal rights and responsibilities for both Palestinians and Israelis.

We are not sure how long it will take before our nonviolent struggle achieves its goal. But we are sure of one thing: it will succeed, and Palestinians will one day be free.

Mustafa Barghouthi, a doctor and member of the Palestinian Parliament, is secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on February 22, 2012, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Peaceful Protest Can Free Palestine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Israel Palestine commitment, part 2

Israel's security and justice to the Palestinians are directly proportional to each other. Hundred percent security for Israel comes with 100 percent justice to the Palestinians. A majority of people in the conflict understand this, but the leadership runs aground with short sighted false perceptions.

Huffington post on Israel Palestine solutions : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/commitment-to-israelpales_b_1263793.html

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Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. A writer, thinker and a speaker and is available to speak on pluralism, politics, Islam, peace, cohesive societies and a variety of topics. Check out 4 websites and 27 Blogs indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net. Current articles atwww.TheGhousediary.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dr. Munther Dajani on Israeli Palestinian Confederation

Dr. Munther Dajani is a member of the Israeli Palestinian Confederation, an organization committed to find the path to peace between Israel and Palestine.  We welcome articles and notes that express the human aspirations for peace. IPC is listed on the right panel of this blog.

Mike Ghouse

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Munther Dajani, dean, Faculty of Arts, AL Quds University, Jerusalem; co-founder,Wasatiyya(Moderation)movement:

This is the statement he was going to deliver at our convention in Jerusalem which was disrupted by demonstrators on December 12, 2011.

My name is Munther  Dajani and I am a humanist, chronic optimist and a citizen of the world.

Dear participants in this historic event, of all walks of life and of all nationalities and professions, the citizens of the State of Palestine and the citizens of the State of Israel.

I am honored to be standing here today among you, we the few who believe in the future of peace to become a reality in this part of the world. Needless to say that we owe our presence here to our American friends who took the initiative to make this meeting possible and specially Mr. Joseph Avesar and his team whose relentless efforts have to be acknowledged in making this gathering possible.

We the citizens of this region are the ones who always end up paying the price of blood-shed and death. Wars that results of meaningless deaths where the rules and regulations are imposed on us by people who already passed away generations ago, we have never met or even know. Decisions that are made maybe thousands of miles away in different capitals of the world, in closed rooms outside our region that we do not have anything to do with on the individual level per say… we who live in this region and in alliance with our friends in the United States and Israel have decided to make a change and as President Obama once said and we can make the Change that we all desperately need. I believe that it is about time that we take our own faith in our own hands and make our own decisions. 

A Decision that we will make today that will affect generations to come to end this protracted conflict that have plagued us for more than eight decades. I am standing here before you to say that we want peace, as most of the polls show that a majority of Palestinians and Israelis are thirsty for peace, peace of mind and body that will secure the well being of our children and their children in the region in particular and the children of the world. Stability that will usher in, economic prosperity, and will make the dream of the late President Arafat and President Shimon Peres come true resulting in a new Middle East based on human dignity and self-respect and respect of others for all regardless of creed, color, religion or ethnicity.

I am standing here to tell you that I have never met a Palestinian or an Israeli who did not hope for the achievement of peace in our area. After all, we breathe the same air, drink water from the same aquifers and plough the same land, and live on the same natural resources of the land as well as share the same touristic and religious sites…that constitute our main source of living.
In order to achieve this peace, we have to think outside the box and we have, we are proposing a confederation between the two states of the region, the State of Palestine and the State of Israel that will ensure security for all. This is the utmost level of guaranteeing security for all. This is the utmost of practical Confidence Building measure of all.

To have a shared vision for peace and common interest not only on the superficial level but to those who are concerned with security, this will be the maximum security assurance that all can hope for deep down to the core of our inner souls, our deep core of our different societies, where all will have a stake in keeping an ever-lasting peace.

This is the message we are sending all our leaders in order to be responsible towards future generations to come. We are doing this in order to save our children and future generations from the agonies of war and bloodshed.
In conclusion, this is our historic contribution and our legacy which we leave not only for our people but for mankind as a whole because we took a stand for the achievement of peace and stability in our region. I have been told again and again that this is the land of peace, this is the land referred to as the land where the prophets delivered their messages for peace have to have an ever-lasting peace.

Our call for a confederation between the states of the region, the State of Palestine and the State of Israel to begin with and we must keep it open for other nations of the region to join, I call upon all the nations of the area to join, so they can all also live in peace, peace that can assure all, political stability and economic prosperity that will end all conflicts in the region.
I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to share with you our vision for peace in the region, that we are all sure will be achieved, due to all your efforts in the call for this initiative.

Thank you.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Author's note: Who am I to worry about Israelis and Palestinians? What inspires me to be involved in the Israel Palestine conflict? The following is the story of my struggle to see a cohesive world, the story will take you through different emotions but at the end, I hope you feel a sense of completeness of the story. Due to its length, it is a three part article.
I believe at the heart of world peace is the Israel Palestine conflict. It is the mother of all conflicts, and if we can find a solution to this, peace is on the horizon, ready to shine on us.
When I was about 10, my Dad made me aware of the conflicts, not just around Bangalore, my home town; but around India, the Subcontinent, Asia and the world. My father is my hero and had opened the doors of wisdom to me. He taught one of the biggest lessons of my life in social cohesiveness and dealing with extremism that I continue to reflect in my speeches, acts and write ups.
During the communal (religious) riots in the early '60s, both Muslims and Hindus were killed in the mayhem. I wish every father in India, America and elsewhere teaches this lesson to his kids. He told us the "individuals" were responsible for the bloodshed and not the religions; he would emphasize that you cannot blame an intangible like religion and expect justice, we must blame the individuals who caused it and punish them accordingly for disturbing the peace and thus bring a resolution to the conflict by serving justice. He was crystal clear: You cannot annihilate, kill, hang or beat the religion, so why bark at it?
Fully cognizant of China's attack on India usurping large swaths of land in Kashmir and on the North Eastern Borders, my little mind recorded another devastating war between India and Pakistan followed by the 1967 war between Israel and Palestine. The Palestinian exodus was painful and I went through anger and then into mental exile trying to understand the inhumanity and the futility of wars. I was thinking about King Ashoka, who became a pacifist after witnessing blood shed on the fields of Kalinga. Who do we blame? How do we find solutions? I was 14.
The exodus of Palestinians remained clear on my mind and I wanted to find solutions.
Fast forwarding to the '80s, the destruction of Beirut was debilitating. The Sabra and Shatila massacres were harrowing, and I was seeing Israel as the Goliath and the Palestinians as the Davids with nothing but rocks to throw at the rolling tanks.
Ted Koppel's broadcasts of Intifada from Jerusalem were censored, particularly when he pitted Hanan Ashrawi against Benjamin Netanyahu. American media was determined to show Palestinians in the poor light and invariably showed and repeated the poor miserable performance of their poster boy Arafat, against the suave Netanyahu. My heart was crying out loud and was hoping the world could see the way I saw things and peace came to both the peoples.
It took me years to truly understand the nature of security that the Jews were craving for over a millennia, it is not the military power but a sense of security that a baby feels in the lap of a mother -- completely free. The Jews felt home in Spain after nearly 2,000 years of wandering, then the damned Ferdinand massacred (along with Muslims) and completely uprooted them in 1492. It took them another 450 years to feel home again in Germany, but the butcher Hitler was bent on annihilating them. Thanks to America for stepping in and preventing a full scale annihilation and Holocaust. Even here in the United States, every now and then a Swastika appears on some one's door. I have been a witness to it and have fought off two such incidents. Now they have a home in Israel sans security and they really need to feel that it is their eternal "home." Once they feel that sense of home in their bones, they will go back to becoming their self again -- a people who have stood up for social justice.
Ironically, the Israelis were busy in defending their right to survive up until 1967 and completely failed to articulate their need to the Palestinians, they should have poured their hearts out to them, who would have understood in an environment of mutual suffering and sharing.
On the other hand, the Palestinians were hurt, uprooted from their own homes, and were completely deprived of their basic need to have a sense of belonging, a sense of community and a sense of identity. Children have witnessed their parents and siblings butchered in front of them, and what do we expect them to do? What is their hope? For nearly three generations they lived in tents and squalor, and had to beg for food, clothing and an identity. It is depressing to see such humiliation in their own land.
We the people of the world were busy in punishing the weak and shamelessly enjoying the emotional and physical beating they were taking. We did not offer them any serious options but to fight for survival. Sadly, like the leaders of Israel had failed, the Palestinian leadership also failed to share their humility and humanness with the Israelis.
And we the people of the world found poor excuses to blame Palestinian and Israeli leadership, instead of taking the lead and guiding them in their most vulnerable moments of history. We succumbed to their plea of the moment and took sides and propped them to fight against each other. We Americans are as guilty as the Arabs in the mindless upmanship, shame on us for dumping our in-capabilities on to the next generation.
We should have gotten the families of Palestinians and Israelis to sit and eat together, talk with each other and let the kids play a game of soccer in their presence and dream about a future for them. We deprived them of their humanness and instead armed them to fight. What have they achieved and what have we achieved?
The hate multiplier has made the leaders on both sides to say shameful things about the other including cooking up things that weren't true. The world community took sides instead of finding the truth and solutions.
I feel the pain and wanted to do my share of work in doing the things I am capable of, and here is a partial accounting of it. It is not easy. You get beat both by the Palestinians and Israelis in the leadership front, and both want to blame the other.
I am deeply committed to the security of Israel and Justice for the Palestinians. A few ugly comments here and there matter to me but don't deter me from my commitment. I have chosen to be neutral for the sake of peace, and invariably about 1 percent of Israelis and 1 percent of Palestinians will never want to see neutrality in others. We cannot forget the desire for peace by the overwhelmingly silent majority. We need to hear them.


If the embedded links don't work, here are the links:

Muslim Holocaust commemoration:
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Anti-Circumcision Bill and a Muslim's take

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Huffington post on Anti-Semitism http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/standing-up-for-jews-gays_b_650167.html 
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Pictures from Fred Phelps Demonstrationhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157624336357507/ 
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Middle East Peace Initiativehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157624709053713/  ....
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President Obama blows the opportunity for Israel and Palestinehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hb0Y-4lRkM
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UN Resolution
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The necessity for a Dialoug between Jews and Muslimshttp://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Articles/Jewish-Muslim-dialogue-a-necessity.asp
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A tribute to my Mother

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Additional items not referenced above:

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A tribute to the Jewish Communityhttp://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Honored_JewishCommunity_TG2005.asp. . . . . . . . . .

A tribute to Elliott Dlin, Executive Director of Dallas Holocaust Musuem

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Yom Hashoah at the Temple Emanu-Elhttp://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/05/yom-hashoah-at-temple-emanu-el.html 

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Stereotyping Muslims and Jews
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2009/09/stereotyping-muslims-and-jews.html . . . . . . . . . .

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, Israel, India, Pakistan, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.