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 11 2013: Edward : the reason for bringing up England is because it is simply not accurate to say that Arabs have a (longstanding)burning hatred of Jews. They are well aware that the Jews are their cousins, just like the Brits are ours. The vicious conflicts of the present in the Middle East are very recent, Before WW1, they didn't exist. And the reason for the "burning hatred" is that they feel that they have been mightily swindled by the West , for the benefit of Jews, and that they are not in a position to do very much about it, even though we are all dependent on Oil. Which they might be forgiven for considering "theirs".
    As to how knowledge of this might bring Peace, consider the brilliant advice of Pope John Paul: "If you want Peace, work for Justice". Exactly. The Arabs would forget about their burning hatred if they should ever get "Justice" But in the present political scene, no such possibility is even considered by the West and Israel. It is considered that either the Israelis won their war, and seized territory, Fair and Square, or alternatively, that the UN had the right to give away Arab territory without consulting the inhabitants. It is hard to reconcile either idea with the usual ideas of "Justice". So in the meantime, the Arabs are just saying, "the war isn't over yet".
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      Feb 11 2013: Who was behind the Balfour Declaration?
      "The Balfour Declaration may be the most extraordinary document produced by any Government in world history. It took the form of a letter from the Government of His Britannic Majesty King George the Fifth, the Government of the largest empire the world has even known, on which -- once upon a time -- the sun never set; a letter to an international financier of the banking house of Rothschild who had been made a peer of the realm.
      Arthur Koestler wrote that in the letter "one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third." More than that, the country was still part of the Empire of a fourth, namely Turkey.

      Support for a "national home" for the Jews in Palestine from the government of the greatest empire in the world was in part a fulfillment of the efforts and scheming of Theodore Herzl (1860-1904), descendant of Sephardim (on his rich father's side) who had published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) in Vienna in l896. It outlined the factors which he believed had created a universal Jewish problem, and offered a program to regulate it through the exodus of unhappy and unwanted Jews to an autonomous territory of their own in a national-socialist setting."


      "There are different theories about why the British agreed to issue the Balfour declaration when they issued it. Some of these "theories," such as the claim that "Jewish money interests" were being courted to help float a loan for Britain or bring the United States into the war are racist inventions. Nonetheless the exact circumstances of the declaration are unclear. One possibility is that the declaration was deliberately contrived to allow the British to renege on earlier promises to France and the Arabs regarding Palestine. Lloyd George reportedly said that British control over Palestine would prevent it from falling into the hands of the agnostic atheistic French."
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      Feb 11 2013: In 1922, Churchill tried to hint broadly that a "national home" was not necessarily a state. According to Lloyd George, however, the meaning was clear:

      There has been a good deal of discussion as to the meaning of the words "Jewish National Home" and whether it involved the setting up of a Jewish National State in Palestine. I have already quoted the words actually used by Mr. Balfour when he submitted the declaration to the Cabinet for its approval. They were not challenged at the time by any member present, and there could be no doubt as to what the Cabinet then had in their minds. It was not their idea that a Jewish State should be set up immediately by the Peace Treaty without reference to the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants. On the other hand, it was contemplated that when the time arrived for according representative institutions to Palestine, if the Jews had meanwhile responded to the opportunity afforded them by the idea of a National Home and had become a definite majority of the inhabitants, then Palestine would thus become a Jewish Commonwealth. The notion that Jewish immigration would have to be artificially restricted in order to ensure that the Jews should be a permanent minority never entered into the heads of anyone engaged in framing the policy. That would have been regarded as unjust and as a fraud on the people to whom we were appealing. (Memoirs, pp 736-7)
      • Feb 11 2013: Everybody forget the essential item of the Balfour Declaration: It was just a declaration. If I say at this moment it is day light and not night darkness. This is also a declaration but at least it is true and one can go around outside and not walk into a wall by mistake. The Balfour declaration resulted in nothing, nada,
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          Feb 12 2013: It would be correct to say it resulted in very little by itself , but it framed the conversation going forward. The Rothschilds' involvement in a Jewish homeland is evident in many ways from this point forward.

          In the late-19th century, persecution of Jews in Europe followed by the creation of the Zionist movement, led to international support for the establishment in Palestine of a homeland for the Jewish people on the site of the ancient kingdoms. Following the British conquest of Syria, the Balfour Declaration in World War I and the formation of the Mandate of Palestine, Aliyah (Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel) increased and gave rise to Arab–Jewish tensions and a collision of the Arab and Jewish nationalist movements. Israeli independence in 1948 was marked by massive migration of Jews from both Europe and the Muslim countries to Israel, and of Arabs from Israel leading to the extensive Arab–Israeli conflict.[1] About 42% of the world's Jews live in Israel today.

          Edmond de Rothschild financed two of the original settlements in Israel, Rishon LeZion in Tel-Aviv and Zikhron Ya’akov in Carmel. By 1934, the year of Edmund de Rothschild’s death, 125,000 acres of land and more than 40 settlements were purchased under the auspices of the Rothschild’s Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA). Edmond de Rothschild became known as the “Father of the Yishuv” because of his involvement in early Israeli settlements.
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      Feb 11 2013: "Soon after the Balfour Declaration was issued, it became clear to the British that it was inconvenient to implement a "National Home" for the Jewish people in Palestine. None of the persons who had issued that declaration in 1917 were in power. Britain had meanwhile, reneged on their commitment to give Syria to the Arabs, in favor of their commitment to give Syria to France based on the Sykes Picot agreement. The Hashemites were no longer in power in Saudi Arabia either. The Mandate had created intense resentment, and riots had occurred in Palestine in 1920 and 1921. Motions were raised in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords to repeal the Balfour declaration. The motion was defeated in commons with the help of Churchill, Ormsby Gore and others, but it was felt that a compromise would be necessary. The "as implemented" mandate would be somewhat different from what the Zionists and the framers of the mandate had envisioned. Churchill, possibly with the help of Herbert Samuel, was given the thankless task of reframing the mandate in such a way that it would placate the Arabs, but still give Britain an excuse to keep Palestine from the French in the form of the "homeland for the Jewish people"

      The British government decided to detach Palestine east of the Jordan river, constituting most of the area of Palestine, and form the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, as shown in the map at right."


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