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I’ve seen my friends humiliating people, treating them as I would not treat an animal. My friends, forcing an elderly man to do disgrace himself, hurting children, abusing people for fun, and later bragging about it, laughing about this terrible brutality.
I am not sure I still want to call them my friends.
Why? What leads a human being to treat another like this?
In the army we are taught better, I though. I believed that an army that dedicates so much to educate and build morals and ethics, is a good army, as good as an army can be. But I was wrong. All this, like so many other things in enforced education, was brushed off, shoved into a dark drawer, ignored.
Those no-longer-friends of mine let themselves to lose their humanity, not out of pure viciousness, but because dealing with it in any other way is too difficult. How can a man say “I do terrible wrongs” and continue doing it? Lying to himself, twisting reality.
I could not do that.
Nor could any of the petition’s signers.
I believe that peace is possible, but Israel is on the wrong tracks, occupying the territories.
Yes, this is a political opinion. But I signed the petition because of ethical opinion. I could not lie to myself. We should not be there, we have nothing to do there. Those terrible things happening in the territories have little to do with the security of Israel and stopping terror. It is all about the settlements. Choking and starving and humiliating millions of people, to provide safety to the settlements.
I should be there, force ethics to my fellow soldiers? It does not work like this. In this nightmare reality in the territories, reason cannot be heard. The voices of hatred and senselessness are to loud to be overcome by a still sane minority.
Our soldiers are numb, they do not see any false in their acts. In this brutal occupation, a solider can brag about shooting a child, can stop ambulances and still believe in his righteousness, can kill without feeling.
You say there is no other choice, that this occupation is forced upon us, that no other way is possible?
The occupation itself is unethical, wrong, and must be ended. So another way should be found. What is such a way? This is the realms of politics, I’ll share here my political opinion.
I believe in peace.
I include here an article I wrote explaining this. It is a very general opinion, it purpose is one – belief in peace.
One vote for peace.
“Peace is a state of being all human communities should strive for, a state in which everyone works and lives together in harmony and co-operation“. Sounds reasonable. But is it really necessary? I hear voices saying peace is not an option nowadays, Israelis/Palestinians do not want peace, and so peace is not desired.
Lets check this.
Situation as it is now is not acceptable. Life of fear and terror for both sides, anger, hate.
Lets examine different solutions as they are perceived from different points of view.
Some Palestinians suggest to continue armed resistance, to build up military power and force Israel to withdraw its occupation. To answer this I point out Israel’s extensive military experience, and also point to statistics of the recent years concerning territories, casualties and economics. Armed resistance against Israel means completely destroying the land, with little or no progress to freedom.
Some Israeli people suggest to transfer of Palestinian population or to continue the attempt to eradicate all terror. But to this I answer, wherever the Palestinian might be, their ambitions will not be suppressed, and they will fight for their causes. No fence nor border will ever protect Israel from this, and it is shown time and time again. Transfer means perpetuating Palestinian actions against Israel. Continued clashes will worsen the Palestinians’ life and thus strengthen the armed resistance / terror.
Only a peace agreement will eventually lead to true safety. Any other ‘solution’ means either hiding behind an illusion of safety or perpetuating the dangers through endless conflict, where no side can ‘win’.
The peace agreements.
But how shall we decide what is the desired fair peace? Who gets what and why? Many would clearly say that the right thing to do in order to judge this is to go to history books and see EXACTLY what happened, and rule according to this information. That is the right thing to do, many say.
But is it really so?
There is no one history. This is easily seen in the vast cyberspace of the web, where all points of views are mixed, not bound by any border. Studying the available histories can create some confusion. There are extreme differences between histories as each ‘side‘ portrays it.
Can we reach a mutual decision about one ‘true‘ history of the conflict? Is there such a thing, ‘true history‘?
I suggest studying the present as the only link to the past. What does it matter why a person feels ‘historical connection‘ to a specific land? The feelings are there, and that is what matters. Trying to justify/disprove the connection does not change those feelings.
So what should be addressed is the current feelings, current desires, current ambitions. We live in the present, and we try to create a future. We should remember the past and learn from it, but not worship it.
So what is the present situation?
Some Israelis might say “a war is going on, the Palestinians do not desire peace, are not ready for self-governing, will never abandon the way of terror“
Some Palestinians might say “we are occupied by vicious army, and though the Israeli government claims to be ‘peaceful’ it really desires surrender, not peace”
On both sides you can find people saying “they seek to completely destroy us”.
Even agreeing on the present is not simple. Except, maybe, that things should not continue as they do.
Obviously there is clash between different desires, concerning territories and governing, concerning rights and obligations, concerning limits and borders. But there is a middle point that both leaderships can agree on. And once this is found, things will be different.
How different? Peace and love and dancing of happiness? Flowers and understanding? Freedom and security?
Even then, there will be along road ahead of us. The change will be that things could finally start, slowly and with great effort, to be better, bit by bit. Change will not be immediate, and this will be frustrating.
But, as things are today, we are surely, and not quite slowly, going downhill, dipper, into an abyss we will not be able to get out from. More destruction, more bitterness, more death. Less understanding, bigger gaps to bridge.
There must be a change.
Economics of peace.
To have a durable condition of safety and peace, there cannot be a situation in which neighbouring people have extremely different living condition, where some have relative prosperity and others relative poverty, with distinct nationalities of these two groups of people. A rich nation bordering extremely poor one.
Why? Such a difference will create financial dependence, and will revive and strengthen resentment and friction. Moreover, if the difference is extreme, it will lead to the poorer side’s giving birth to extreme actions, be it theft, attacks or riots. Also, it will lead to the richer side’s giving birth to ideas of superiority and contempt, and to exploit.
So, to avoid this, it is mutual objective, to create a prosperity throughout the region, to build up the Palestinian quality of life, be it industry, schooling, possibilities in life. To achieve this international aid is needed. But hey, help is already being given to the Palestinian Authority from international aids for a long time now, right? Where does the money go? Destroyed by the occupation / invested in terror, depends who you ask. Furthermore, the current situation serves only to cripple Palestinian economy more. So an immediate step to final peace must be to stop ruining Palestinian economy. But more steps are needed, many more. And the financial aid needed can only be gained through a peace agreement, by international financial aids to support the peace.
Borders, green and red lines.
It is agreed by most people concerned with the conflict that the solution will be two territories, one to Israelis, one to Palestinians. What is difficult to agree upon is the line between those two territories.
So how can a border-line be agreed by everyone? We should remember:
Both Palestinians and Israelis need space to live and work, land to cultivate.
Agreement should be based on mutual recognition.
Agreement should be based on equality between the sides.
These are necessary as a base for equal and just negotiation, negotiations leading to a border-agreement that will not be a source for further dispute.
The fate of Jerusalem, the right of return, the settlements.
Controversial issues. Countless different opinions, demands and arguments. Also, happily, many suggestions for solutions.
Those so difficult to decide issues must be solved. The different solutions proposed must be reviewed by both parties. To either party some solutions will seem acceptable, other solutions not, few solutions will seem outright insanity. What is likely to happen is that not a single solution will be immediately tagged as acceptable by both parties. But as in any negotiation, one of the solutions can and will be agreed upon.
Big stones can be moved. It takes time and effort, long painful negotiations. It is difficult. But it is possible.
Last word on past and future.
Lets learn from the past.
The past teaches us that peoples’ right to self determination cannot be suppressed and must not be dictated.
The past teaches us that a situation in which behind a fence people live in hunger and fear is not tolerable.
Now lets build a future.
A future in which these things will not be.
We are all human being. We should all live life of safety, life of happiness, life where we can shape our future.
By Gil Nemesh