This article is 3 weeks old and I wish I had found it sooner, but it is fantastic and it shows that there is sign of hope and peace in the Middle East even when things right now are very bad.
Israeli activists, intellectuals recognize the right of return
Document submitted 'for truth and reconciliation'
Signatories include Prof. Anat Biletzki, Andre Draznin, Haim Hanegbi, Yehudith Harel, Michel (Micado) Warschawski and Oren Medicks
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Israel, 2004, is a state on the road to nowhere. Fifty-six years after its establishment - notwithstanding its many achievements in agriculture, science and technology, and albeit a great regional military power, armed with doomsday weapons - many of its citizens are heartsick with existential worry and fear for their future.
Since its foundation Israel has lived by its sword. An incessant succession of "retaliations," military operations and wars has become the life-support drug of Israel's Jews. And now, almost four years after the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada, Israel is up to its neck in the mire of occupation and oppression, while it goes on extending the settlements and multiplying the outposts, repeating to itself ad nauseam that "we have no partner for peace."
Ten years after the Oslo Accords, we are living in a benighted colonial reality - in the heart of darkness. Thirty-seven years after Israel conquered the last of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, over three and a half million Palestinians under its rule are penned up in their towns and villages. The term "Palestinian State" - which for years embodied the peace option - is being used by many Israeli politicians as a mirage phrase, a spin on the reality of occupation: "In the future," they whisper with a knowing wink, "the Palestinian entity in the Territories may be called a 'state.'" And meanwhile Israel is amplifying the devastation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as if determined to pulverize the Palestinian people to dust.
In the face of the large Israeli camp of supporters of the separation walls - those, both right and left, who are terrified by the demons of demography, constantly counting the populace to find out how many Jews and Arabs are born and die every week, how many Jews and Arabs live in the entire country and in each of its districts every month - it is vital to pose an alternative outlook, based on the following principles:
Coexistence of the peoples of this country, based on mutual recognition, equal partnership and implementation of historical justice.
We are united in a critique of Zionism, based as it is on refusal to acknowledge the indigenous people of this country and on denial of their rights, on dispossession of their lands, and on adoption of separation as a fundamental principle and way of life. Adding insult to injury, Israel persists in its refusal to bear any responsibility for its deeds, from the expulsion of the majority of Palestinians from their homeland more than half a century ago, to the present erection of ghetto walls around the remaining Palestinians in the towns and villages of the West Bank. Thus, wherever Jew and Arab stand together or face each other, a boundary is drawn between them, to separate and distinguish between the blessed and the cursed.
We are united in the recognition that this country belongs to all its sons and daughters - citizens and residents, both present and absentees (the uprooted Palestinian citizens of Israel in 1948 ) - with no discrimination on personal or communal grounds, irrespective of citizenship or nationality, religion, culture, ethnicity or gender. Thus we demand the immediate annulment of all laws, regulations and practices that discriminate between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, and the dissolution of all institutions, organizations and authorities based on such laws, regulations and practices.
We are united in the belief that peace and reconciliation are contingent on Israel's recognition of its responsibility for the injustices done to the indigenous people, the Palestinians, and on willingness to redress them. Recognition of the right of return follows from our principles. Redressing the continued injustice inflicted on the Palestinian refugees, generation after generation, is a necessary condition both for reconciliation with the Palestinian people, as for the spiritual healing of ourselves, Israeli Jews. Only thus shall we stop being plagued by the past's demons and damnations and make ourselves at home in our common homeland.
Read the rest of the article here:
It is people like these that can bring peace to the region. We all have to make sacrifices. We have to accept Israel's right to exist and the Israeli people's right to exist on this land and Israel needs to recognize the right of return for the Palestinian refugees.
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran