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Peace Initiatives for the Middle East

by Eckart Spoo Saturday, Jan. 13, 2007 at 5:39 AM
mbatko@lycos.com

For decades, the Israeli and Palestinian people have lived as neighbors. Cooperation and joint development are possible. Instead their life is poisoned by war and violence. The Israeli occupation is the essential evil.

PEACE INITIATIVES FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

By Eckart Spoo

[This article published in: Ossietzky 23/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://sopos.org/autsaetze/457dd43561394/1.phtml.]




On November 27, 2006, I heard on the morning news of Berlin-Brandenburg radio that the ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians is holding. Israel soldiers had killed two Palestinians.

Everything is clear.

I support an initiative by Rolf Verleger. The psychology professor in Lubeck is circulating a “Berlin declaration.” Several sentences from this declaration will be quoted here.

For decades, the Israeli and Palestinian people have lived as neighbors. Cooperation and joint development are possible. Nevertheless their life is poisoned by war and violence, threat and terror, mutual hatred, contempt and lack of respect. – The essential evil is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory since 1967. The occupation means degradation and deprivation of rights of Palestinians. This occupation paralyzes their economic, political and social life. This injustice experienced daily prevents a peaceful balance of the old injustice inflicted on Palestinians with the 1948 expulsion. All this drives the spiral of violence. – It is time to break this spiral, pave the way for a permanent peaceful solution making possible a self-determined life in dignity for the Palestinian people, secure the existence of both nations in internationally-recognized borders, pacify the whole region and allow the whole earth to be more peaceful and secure.

The “Berlin declaration” says little support comes from Germany for the efforts around understanding that have long stirred on both sides. This has its reason: The mass murder of Europe’s Jews committed under the leadership of Germans ended 61 years ago with Nazi-Germany’s defeat. Shame and sorrow over these crimes silences many people on the politics of the Jewish state. This silence makes possible new injustice. – To bring movement in this congealed situation, we Jews from Germany were the first signers of this declaration. With horror, we see how the state of Israel founded with such great hopes is stuck in a cul-de-sac of violence. We urge the German government and the European Union not to tolerate the Israeli occupation policy any longer, to quickly end the boycott of the Palestinian autonomous authority and seriously strive for realizing a viable Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank including east Jerusalem occupied since 1967 with full sovereignty and freedom of movement.

Among the first signers of the declaration, Rolf Verleger, a member of the directorate of the central council of Jews in Germany and chairperson of the Schleswig-Holstein Jewish community was terminated in the summer because of his criticism of Israel’s military measures against Lebanon. A million more signatures are sought (e-mail: meinung@schalom5767.de).

Signing this call and helping finance its dissemination are first steps. A Middle East forum could be established. German and Israeli Jews, Palestinians of different political schools, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis and Iranians live in every German city. They all belong to a great roundtable. No one may be excluded, not even those who annoy others. They must join in all peace efforts. Peace should be made with them, not against them. Peace against part of the people in the Middle East would not be an honest lasting peace. Universities could take the initiative for these local forums that should give politicians an example of speaking with one another. Or a group of pastors and rabbis. Or the town council. Or the German unions. Or the president of the university. Or the director of the city theater. These are all better possibilities than sending troops.

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