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Monday, April 29, 2024

The Israeli-Palestinian Perplex

Back to exigent concerns (in the wake of my prior transient dumbass reactive diversion).
Is hope for a real, durable, amicable, broad Middle-East peace naive?

One of my favorite conflict resolution experts:
Crisis, Contradiction, Certainty, and Contempt

A Professor’s Statement on the Current Situation at Columbia University
Peter T. Coleman

As a member of the Columbia University community for over 30 years, Director of the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, current member of the University’s Task Force on Antisemitism, and a student of intractable conflict and sustainable peace, I felt it incumbent on me to share my take on the extraordinary challenges facing our community today.

For context, I have studied, written and wondered about the many conflicts related to Israel and the Palestinian territories for decades. I have visited and conducted research on peacebuilding in the region on several occasions, written about how the conflicts there have manifested at Columbia University in the past, and have traveled through the West Bank, including Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Nablus. I have not been to Gaza to date, although one of my top students, Naira Musallam, a Palestinian-Israeli, conducted her dissertation research there in 2010. I was last in Israel in May 2023 working with Israeli, Palestinian and international students through the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at Hebrew University (I later posted this blog on my experiences), and hope to return there this summer to continue this crucial work.

When I first visited the West Bank, I had a revelation. Some UN colleagues and I were traveling South out of Bethlehem towards Hebron on a dusty road, when we began to pass countless miles of a dilapidated refugee camp on our left (I believe it was Dheisha). This was one of the many camps where Palestinians who had fled Israel in 1948 had settled, and who still today refuse most support from the Israeli government as an active act of protest against the normalization of their ouster and a political statement signifying their struggle.

After passing by several miles of the ramshackle camp, I noticed on the right side of the road that a new, well-constructed municipality had been built, which in comparison to the camp looked like a nice suburb outside Cleveland. When I asked my colleagues about these structures, they explained to me that they had been built and were supported by the Israeli government, with running water, electricity, and sanitation. They also explained that at some point, many families from the refugee camp, desperate from the conditions they had lived in, chose to cross the road and set up home in the new buildings. However, doing so was typically seen as an unforgivable betrayal of the struggle by members of their family and community that stayed behind, who often disparaged them or cut ties with them altogether. This was just another glimpse into the complex web of multiple intertwined conflicts and moral dilemmas which constitute what many of us call the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”…
A fairly long read. Study it all carefully.
I've cited Dr. Coleman before (The Way Out).
More current Peter Coleman:
First, we are in a crisis. The current firestorm at Columbia is real, painful and deeply concerning. It was triggered most recently by the horrific combination of the slaughter, rape and kidnapping of Israeli civilians by Hamas militants on October 7, 2023, and by the Israeli government’s violent, punishing and unrelenting response to Palestinians and its deadly effects on humanitarian workers, journalists and many others in Gaza.

But the crisis at Columbia is also playing out in the context of dramatic spikes in antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate across the U.S., which preceded but were exacerbated by the current war, by the politicization and weaponization of these trends by members of the U.S. Congress who seek to delegitimize “elite” institutions of higher education like Columbia for political gain, and in the wake of 60 years of pernicious political polarization in the U.S. where we are seeing increasing tolerance for acts of political violence — as we head into what is likely to be the most contested elections in our nation’s history.

Further out, our crisis is also fueled daily by the atrocious violence playing out in the Middle East — by the dogged intransigence of Hamas and its supporters during “negotiations” over a ceasefire, their depraved willingness to sacrifice the lives of Gazan’s for their cause, and proud declarations by Hamas’ leaders of their ultimate goal to destroy the nation of Israel “from the river to the sea.” Of course, to some degree, these actions are both reactions to and justifications for the violent, aggressive, militant, expansionist policies of the far-Right Netanyahu government in Israel who for decades have shown scant interest in securing a genuine Israeli-Palestinian peace and whose support amongst the Israeli population at home has plummeted…
OK, “wicked problem,” anyone?

As campus protests proliferate across the U.S. and the world, people of goodwill everywhere are flummoxed. Read Coleman carefully.

Age-restricted, viewable only on YouTube.

Produced by Sheryl Sandberg. I'm sure she'll get "Jew Bitch" death threats.
Charge Palestine With Genocide, Too
The case for having the International Court of Justice hear two cases at once
By Graeme Wood

Israel has been convicted of genocide by protesters at Columbia and UCLA, but its genocide case before the International Court of Justice is still pending. Israel remains officially aghast that it, and only it, is subject to judicial proceedings for the crime of genocide—and that the ICJ’s rulings so far have implied that the judges think Israel might be guilty of the crime of crimes. According to reports this weekend, the International Criminal Court—a separate body that hears cases against individuals—is preparing arrest warrants for Israeli officials and possibly Hamas leaders. In the ICJ, Israel stands alone…

189 days to Election Day. Or, as Trump called yesterday, "Christian Visibility Day."
Of course.


(And, yeah, I erased his flagrantly unearned flag lapel pin.) Highly recommend you read the new Time Magazine interview with Trump. "How Far Would Trump Go?"
The 26 minute article contains a link to the entire 83 minute transcript of the reporter's one-on-one interview. ~Six months, peeps, You ought know what we're all likely facing. I could scarcely be more irritated.
More to come...

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