[NetBehaviour] Thoughts on Israel/Palestine

Edward Picot edward at edwardpicot.com
Tue Nov 7 20:13:18 CET 2023

Yes, I completely agree. It's so nice to hear somebody saying something 
sane and constructive, even if it seems almost ludicrous in the face of 
all the hatred and violence.


On 11/6/23 10:00 AM, Gretta Louw via NetBehaviour wrote:
> 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 
>> <mailto: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   outdated issue of saving face which is increasingly deadly.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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