[NetBehaviour] Thoughts on Israel/Palestine

Gretta Louw gretta.elise.louw at gmail.com
Mon Nov 6 11:00:11 CET 2023

This is a great list Alan. We must hold space for imagining paths to peace and coexistence no matter how fictitious they might currently seem.

> On 6. Nov 2023, at 09:48, Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
> (apologies for so much posting recently, cutting back)
> Thoughts on Israel/Palestine
> 0. Like everyone else, I've been ruminating more or less in
>   despair at the situation in Israel/Palestine. Until my mother
>   died, she was active in the Hadassah women's organization,
>   and made many trips to the Mid-East and Europe, working on
>   peace processes; I have many of her documents and some of her
>   talks here. In any case, thinking about the situation,
>   however naive I might be -
> 1. A two-state solution is absolutely necessary; nations need
>   self-governance all the way around. There's no reason that
>   the West Bank and Gaza cannot be united through physical and
>   eletronic internetworking that would be able to respond
>   quickly to crisis.
> 2. Israel must pull out of Gaza; what started as defense and
>   retribution has turned into a massacre on the order of
>   Dresden or the Warsaw ghetto. Beyond the politics there's an
>   outdated issue of saving face which is increasingly deadly.
> 3. I believe that Israel still has nuclear weapons, and these
>   should be off the table completely. A war of any sort in
>   these small areas can escalate into annihilation: to the
>   limit as I once wrote.
> 4. The hospital systems of Gaza and Israel should connect and
>   the wounded of all parties should be able to receive
>   immediate treatment.
> 5. Talks should begin on all of this, sidelining Netanyahu and
>   Hamas; there should be no room for absolutism.
> 6. Jerusalem, in parts, should be an international city; there
>   are a number of religions which are somewhat central there,
>   and there should be no competition. It would be governed both
>   as the capital of Israel and an important religious and
>   political center for Arabs, Christians, and Jews.
> 7. I would keep in relation to 6, the ultra-orthodox out of all
>   of this; their reasoning tends towards catastrophe, and, like
>   Netanyahu, they have no interest in anything other, I think,
>   than total annihilation of the Arabs. The same would hold for
>   any other religion as well. I'd argue for the UN to control
>   the temple mount, wailing wall, etc.
> 8. A great deal of all of this should center on the Jordan River
>   which has been known for a long time to be in a contention
>   that's damaging to everyone - instead there should be an
>   international agency composed of all the countries involved,
>   to find the best way to employ the water for agriculture and
>   so forth. Likewise Israeli desalinization plants should be
>   open to all. Articles I've read have indicated that this
>   might well be sustainable.
> 9. Cross-cultural education should be offered to all and perhaps
>   made mandatory; there are too many misrecognitions among
>   peoples that are resulting in the growths of hatreds.
>   Face-to-face peaceful encounters should be instituted;
>   there's already much too much false information online on
>   both side to result in anything other than a sense of
>   absolute warfare and enemies.
> 10. In terms of #2, the pull-out should be an immediate priority
>    and Israeli hospitals and other institutions should be open
>    to receiving the wounded. In other words, there must be
>    immediate steps taken, above all, to at least hint of a
>    periphery of reconciliation and cooperation; the land-mass
>    is too rugged, too alienating itself for anyone to prosper
>    without cooperation.
> 11. Obviously there should be term limits on Israeli leaders;
>    Netanyahu, who of course is corrupt, is going the way of all
>    strong-men, caressing the state, consolidating power,
>    ensuring his continuous re-election, and working with a
>    vengeful and underlying militarism that affects everything.
>    The fact that he listens to no one but himself in this
>    catastrophe - which he is now both creating and continuing -
>    indicates he has no desire for a peace process. I'm reminded
>    of Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us" - and this is
>    absolutely true in this situation, with perhaps the worst
>    collateral damage the world has seen since World War II;
>    again Dresden comes to mind.
> 12. There should be any number of "temporary" withdrawals on the
>    Israeli side, to see if Hamas could be contained or even
>    become part of the peace process. In other words, in order
>    to give peace a chance, you need a space for peace, a space
>    that would, at least for the moment, refuse recrimination in
>    the interests of the families and cultural institutions
>    caught up in the middle of all of this. (Remember John and
>    Yoko's bed.)
> 13. I wonder if lessons might not be derived from Hiroshima in
>    particular, a cultural backing-away, finding other paths to
>    process what is happening and what has happened. I remember
>    the long tradition of the Jewish Left in America, saw it
>    work out, at least for a while, in New York city, and
>    whether one might draw on that as well. We're on the brink
>    of inconceivable horror, even worse than the current
>    carpet-bombing and violent moving of populations from one
>    place to another, what I called at one point "annihilation:
>    to the limit." We live in a universal shtetl.
> 14. Finally, I'd even think of Thomas Merton, Liberation
>    Theology, the world's calling for peace over and over again,
>    so many protests, so much pain distributed everywhere, and
>    see if it would be possible to at least begin the peace
>    process. I cannot imagine what it must be like living in
>    Gaza with continuous bombing, etc. - no sleep, no clean
>    clothes, no shelter, and always in a resulting state of
>    inconceivable anxiety and danger, sleeplessness and lack of
>    medication, nowhere to go, constant contradictory orders,
>    and people dying or wounded everywhere around you - in other
>    words a phenomenological environment of pain, fear,
>    exhaustion, hunger, illness. That should be absolutely
>    paramount.
> 15. I know of course what I'm writing is a fiction, has no
>    ultimate meaning in terms of performativity; it's something
>    I've been thinking about for a lot time, way before August.
>    A final note, the simplest thing - everyone involved should
>    be talking, however where and when, with everyone involved.
>    And more than anything, this should be within a safe space
>    for listening as well.
> - Alan
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