Sunday, April 26, 2020

  • Sunday, April 26, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Where are the Palestinian peace groups? And why is no one even asking this question?

From American Friends of Combatants for Peace:

Our 15th annual Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Ceremony is co-organized by Combatants for Peace and Parents Circle – Families Forum and held on Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day). Our Ceremony challenges the traditional narrative of victimhood and separation, and brings people together to declare that, “War is Not an Act of Fate – but a Human Choice!”

Yom Hazikaron, Israeli Memorial Day, is a sacred day in Israel. Nearly every Israeli family has lost someone in the conflict, and together they come to remember these dear ones. However, traditionally, Israelis ignore the grief of Palestinian families. Indeed the official Israeli ceremonies are marked by a narrative of hopelessness, accepting that “we must live or die by our swords.” This leads to deep pain, fueling the despair prevalent in both societies today.

When Palestinians and Israelis challenge the status quo and come together to acknowledge each other and remember – together, we start to build a new reality based on mutual respect, dignity, equality, freedom and peace.  In this way, we are taking responsibility, challenging our own sense of victimhood, and better still, turning a sense of helplessness into empowerment and hope.
Looking at the organizations sponsoring the event, I see lots of left-wing Jewish and even anti-Zionist organizations, and I see some Israeli organizations, but I do not see a single organization based out of the Palestinian (or any Arab) territories:



The joint Jewish-Arab organizations listed above are all based in Israel.

They do not have any Arabic-language websites. Standing Together has Hebrew and English; Other Voice is clearly speaking only for left-wing Israelis.

There are a number of Palestinians who are involved in Combatants For Peace. Although I did not do an exhaustive search, I could not find them on social media. I found very few mentions of them in Arabic media. And I could not find a single time where any of them engaged publicly with other Palestinians to talk about peace with Israelis.

However, plenty of these peace-loving Palestinians come to Western nations to speak about how much they hate violence. American Jews and Western liberals eat this all up. It appears that saying you want peace is a very good career move for a segment of Palestinian society.

The message they bring, from what I can tell, is that terrorism is bad - but only Israel is responsible for the lack of peace. An overwhelming number of the social media posts from these organizations are against Israel. I see no criticisms of the Palestinian Authority for paying terrorists and their families, or for glorifying terror. I see no anguish that Palestinian children are raised learning to hate.

Maybe I missed a post here or there, but the basic message is not that both sides need to be pressured to create an environment for peace, but only Israel - a message that the Israelis and left-wing Jewish organizations are happy to push. Under the surface, there is no equivalence in the message nor of the audiences. Both sides agree Israel is to blame, at least based on what I can find.

Where are the Palestinian peace organizations, speaking in Arabic to Arab audiences? Where are the grassroots movements that demand responsibility from Palestinian leaders?

We unfortunately know the answer. The few Palestinians that have publicly spoken about real peace and coexistence with Israel and Palestinian responsibility - Bassam Eid, Khaled Abu Toameh, Mohammed Dajani Daoudi among them - are threatened, intimidated and sometimes attacked.

If these groups would be vocal about criticizing Palestinian society and leadership for that mindset, then perhaps they could credibly claim to be truly bipartisan - and truly interested in peace.

(h/t Yerushalimey)





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