TED Conversations

Uri Katz
  • Uri Katz
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • United States

This conversation is closed.

How do we make peace between Israel and Palestine?

Lets take it for granted that both sides are to blame in this conflict, and neither is going to disappear off the face of the earth any time soon.
Answers like "make love not war" would without a doubt work, but I am hoping for a little more substance.
If, like me, you think peace is only achievable in a distant future, but we have to begin working on it now, that is something I would like to hear, especially what we should be doing now.
If you know of a faster track to peace, all the better.


Closing Statement from Uri Katz

I would like to personally thank all the participants in this conversation.
I think we all recognized the immense difficulty this problem poses. At the same time, most people acknowledged that there is plenty that can be done, not all hope is lost.
Here are a few answers I collected. This is not a summary, only a list of the suggestions I think have the greatest potential to lead to peace. Each stands on it own, but together they have the most power. If we start implementing these ideas, sooner or later the reality in the region will change and a more direct path to peace will become apparent:

1. Instead of broadcasting yet another suicide bomber, give peace a chance by trumpeting every peaceful attempt by both sides.

2. Deflate the issue so that people see it not as cultural & religious issue, but as a localized dispute over resources and land. Then we can ask what a just division of these would be.

3. Recruit moderate religious leader.

4. Understand the other side as best as possible. How are they different? How we are they similar? Make sure your education is fact based and not propaganda.

5. Teach and practice forgiveness, which is key to all true conflict resolution
Also practice: Tolerance, Compassion, Acceptance, Appreciation

6. Remove all hate, and all us-them mentality, from school syllabuses.

7. Both side need to stop looking at themselves as victims. They are not victims of each other or of the larger world. They should take responsibility for their lives and actions.

8. The blame game does not help.

9. Historical arguments are usually used to advance one sided justification for violence and war, as such they are ineffective in the struggle toward peace.

10. Create joint projects such as competitive sporting events.

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    Feb 5 2013: How about the rule of law? In 1948 did the world decide to grant the Jews a homeland? Yes. Did the survey teams mark-out the borders of this new nation? Yes. Does anyone other than Israel have rightful claim to the marked-out real estate? No. Does Palestine have a complaint? Yes. Is Palestine's complaint Israel's responsibility? No. The same world that granted the Jews a nation of their own needs to evaluate Palestine's complaint and deal with it. Israel is protecting its land from being wrongfully taken. Every nation has the right to do that. Peace between Jews and Muslims is the real issue (which will NEVER be resolved), not just between Israel and Palestine.
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      Feb 5 2013: The borders demarcated in the 1948 UN resolution are not the borders of the current nation of Israel; which has expended its borders. Most debate today is about Israel returning to the borders it had before 1967, the 1948 borders are hardly mentioned.
      You are right, though, that the Palestinians are not yet ready to accept a Jewish state at all, and this makes negotiations very difficult. Recent developments in Muhammad Abbas's strategy might indicate a shift in this respect, and are welcome. He seems to be devising a nonviolent protest in order to gain worldwide support for the recognition of Palestine as a state. He must realize that this can only lead to a two state solution, the world will not hand over the entire land to him.
      Compromise must occur, for peace to have any chance. I personally do not think forced compromise is sustainable, though, it has to come from the people who are part of the conflict.
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        Feb 5 2013: Thank you for the information. How did Israel add land? This is one chapter in an entire book of conflicts between Israel and her Islamic neighbors. Solve this conflict and another is waiting. California is going to be for sale soon, perhaps Muhammad Abbas and Barack Hussein Obama can work something out? It is a serious problem and I should not joke but I am weak that way. Sorry.
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          Feb 6 2013: After the UN resolution the Arab coutries around Israel declaed war in an attempt to get back the land given to Israel. Israel won the war and ended up with twice as much land as they started with.
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          Feb 6 2013: The argument that land conquered in war is legitimately acquired may or may not be valid, I personally do not care. The past is the past, and today we have a problem that needs to be solved. We should apply our knowledge of history to coming up with solutions, but I do not think past events necessarily justify the present. The claim on the Palestinians side is also historical to a lare extent historical, and there too it is an obstacle to present harmony.
          If we adopt the attitude of: "solve this conflict and another is waiting" we may end up in paralysis and with more of the same. That is not necessarily an unacceptable view, it definitely has good arguments and plenty of history to support it. I just believe we should give peace a chance, and do everything in our power to try and move forward.
          Moving all the Israelis or Palestinians or both to California, now that is the sort of ingenious plan I was expecting from TED.
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        Feb 6 2013: You are correct sir, the past does not justify the present, but it explains it.
        You must agree sir that we have given peace a chance. Every administration since JFK has had to deal with Peace in the Middle East and all have claimed to have achieved it, but none truly has.
        I still support the rule of law. Israel owns the ground by UN grant and by spoils of war (a well-established process in human history). Palestine can try to get a UN land grant, or try again to take land by force. Isn't the real problem here the elephant in the room. . . Arabs hate Jews! It goes all the way back to Isaac and Ishmael, Sarah and Hagar, all the way to Abraham. I knew the California remark would come back to bite me.
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          Feb 7 2013: I am not at all sure Arabs hate Jews. See previous comments, by Ted Lover & Muhammad Aizat Zainal Alam, for 2 counterarguments.
          As for respecting the rule of law. I can get behind that so long as we make the law super clear and we leave open legitimate avenues for challenging the law for those who think it is unjust. Personally, I would advocate nonviolent challenge, and not military conquest, it is has proven highly efficient time and time again, and involves less suffering.
          One problem Israel might have with this approach is that there are those who claim it is in violation, or has violated, of all sorts of international laws. That is not for me to judge, but we can't expect the Palestinians will agree to accept the rule of law without having their complaints heard in a court of law.
        • Feb 11 2013: Edward: to be accurate, the UN is not a World Government, and does not have any authority to seize land and give it to anyone, Jews or not.
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        Feb 7 2013: RE: "I am not not at all sure Arabs hate Jews."
        1) While admirable, Mr. Alam's world view is rather Pollyanna.
        2) Are you sure you want to recommend Mr. Lover's 3-point plan consisting of planned (assisted even) economic collapse, eradication of all religion except Atheism, and all-out warfare with the victor getting the spoils?
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          Feb 7 2013: 1) We can synthesis his view to: when people stop demonizing and start learning, the place of hate begins to shrink. Nobody says it will be easy to convince Hamas, Iran and Israel to teach facts rather than spew propaganda, the point is these facts have transformative powers, as is evidenced by their effect on the few individuals that encounter them.
          2) No, I just referenced his point about 1,400 years (give or take a decade) of coexistence.

          I can tell you from 1st hand experience that their is no shortage of Jews hating Arabs / Muslims. The point is not that this is not a problem, but that reality is much more nuanced, and that this problems can be solved.
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        Feb 7 2013: RE: "We can synthesis. . . "
        Do you see Hamas, Iran, and Israel as the sole antagonists in this issue? This is not a localized problem perpetuated by a few combatants. This is a cultural/religious clash which will persist as long as Israel is a legal nation. If the Jews would abandon Israel and submit to another diaspora, or to genocide, then the enemies of the Jews could re-focus their priorities. By the way, how is Israel an antagonist? When has Israel ever exercised a non-defensive military action against another nation? Pre-emptive strikes do not constitute acts of hatred as does the bombing of bus loads of civilians; sneak (undeclared war) rocket attacks on major population centers; and targeting civilian locations for suicide bombings.
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          Feb 7 2013: I do not want to enter the blame game, I merely said there is hate on both sides.

          I am not sure this is a cultural / religious issue at its core. I think it has become one over the years, because it has been used in the major East vs. West conflicts of the past 100 years (first the cold war and now the war against Al Qaeda and Iran). Maybe part of the solution is to deflate the issue and see it as a localized dispute over resources and land.
          Perhaps the biggest problem is that once an issue is inflated with religious dogma it is very difficult to deflate. When each side is willing to die for what they think god wants... So another part of reaching a solution is to recruit moderate religious leader.
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          Feb 7 2013: Conquer by passive occupation. It's not military but is still an act of invasion. Israel occupies the west bank as Mexico occupies Texas.
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        Feb 7 2013: RE: "I do not want to enter the blame game. . . "
        Oops. Now we are too far afield from the OP and I am unqualified and unmotivated to add anything constructive. I still say the only way to appease the Arab world's resentment of the nation of Israel is to remove the nation of Israel from the middle East, or remove the Arabs. Of course neither will happen, ever. Thanks for the exchange Mr. Katz, it was invigorating. Be well sir!
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          Feb 10 2013: Thank you too sir.

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