Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Little Q. and A. on Palestine and At-Tuwani.

I was just asked a few research questions from a university student. I thought I might as well share my answers with you as well. Good luck on your paper, Alicia!

1. How do you come to discover the Palestinian situation?

Well, I was raised Quaker, which is to say that I was raised to believe strongly in social justice and peace. I knew a number of people who had spent time in Palestine and went to a college with a significant number of Palestinian students. I first visited in 2005 and fell immediately in love with Palestine, but my heart was broken by what I saw. It was clear, though, that Palestinians in the West Bank were articulating a few well-defined ways that internationals could support their struggle. I wanted to be a part of that.

2. Do you feel more or less hopeful now about a Palestinian state and peace in general since you first went to the holy land?

I feel just as hopeful as I did four years ago, but far less optimistic. I say that because I think hope is a decision more than an emotion. Hope is about faith and I still agree with Dr King, who
said "the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice." I don't think that the region will, in the long run, have any choice but to become a society based on justice and peace. I agree with Ali Abunimah's analysis in One Country. But I worry that the short term doesn't look good. The new Israeli government has been really hard on Tuwani. The most striking change is that the army seems to be colluding with the settlers even more and is willing to arrest Palestinians for anything they can come up with. I hadn't seen shepherds getting arrested just for being out with their sheep, but now it's happening regularly. Jail sentences are getting longer and fines higher. It's clear they're trying to shut down Palestine's nonviolent movement. Moreover, Obama is bowing to Israel's wishes regarding settlements and that's pretty scary.

3. What do you think political leaders/decision-makers are overlooking in trying to reach the two state solution?

Wow, a lot. First, they're over-looking the Palestinian nonviolent resistance movement. This is the movement that most Palestinians are involved in, in some way or another. Violent resistance is actually abnormal by comparison. Secondly, they're overlooking international law, which is a clear guide for a just solution. Perhaps most importantly, they're overlooking the right of return. Until Palestinians are afforded their rights, I don't think that a just solution is possible. Lastly, it's the settlements, stupid, as they say. A disengagement of the West Bank is crucial. But I don't think my opinions on this really matter all that much. Everyday Palestinians need meaningful representation at the table. Their dreams and needs are being overlooked and that needs to stop.

4. In his recent speech to Cairo, Obama encouraged Israelis and Palestinians to see each other as victims (historically). Do you agree with his statement?

The more compassion we can all have for one another the better. But Obama mostly really missed the point in that speech. Here's our response to it:


Pablo (yo) said...

great blog!!
If you like, come back and visit mine:

Pablo from Argentina

Christian said...

Would I be right in thinking you do not want a 2 state solution?

Christian said...

You say 2 things are needed for peace, the removal of the settlements, which means a return to something like the borders pre 1967, and would create a Jewish and a Palestinian state, as the 47 UN resolution called for. You also insist on the "right" of return, which means you do not accept the 48 borders, the ones you would unroot 500,000 Jews to re-establish, and you do not accept a Jewish as well as a Palestinian state. That once Israel had evacuated into the pre 67 borders, you would then pump in millions of Palestinians, not to the Palestinian state, but into Israel. This would mean the destruction of the Jewish state. Your recipie for peace is between Palestine and Israel is to destroy Israel.

joy_in_palestine said...

Thanks for commenting, Christian. I'll be clarifying my views on this issue in a new post. Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of other work so I don't have time to write something right now. Let me just say right now that I don't think that you're representing my views well at all. I believe in peace and human rights for everyone, Palestinians and Israelis alike. Ali Abumina's book, I believe, is a very realistic look at a possible solution - and one that respects all people. I'd encourage you to read it. That's all I've got for now. Again, thanks for commenting.

adriennefriend said...

Hey Joy!

If you have a moment, please check out my blog at You're mentioned in posts 8 & 9. Please leave a comment with your contact information so that I can get you that paperwork and mail you a copy of the recording. (You comment will remain unapproved so that no one sees your private information.) I'd leave my email here, but then again...I'm afraid of the same! :)

Hope to talk to you soon,

Christian said...

I sent a follow up comment, just wondering if you recieved it?