There is no way to peace.
Peace is the way.
I need to reconcile the hot, burning anger inside with this statement that a friend sent to me this morning.
I don’t know anything about A.J. Muste, but his words resonate with me. Put another way, peace is not the destination with easy way markers to lead us there, but a journey we are living which requires intentional thought and hard work.
However, I feel anything but peaceful. My anger is visceral. My heart muscles are twitching. I’m laser-focused on the source of my anger (COGAT) and the injustices perpetrated daily, but now that injustice is screwing my good friend in Gaza.
Today Mohammed Awad (age 28) is sitting on a precipice. The State of Israel appears determined to throw him over the edge.
Mohammed is the first Palestinian I met in Gaza; actually we met via Facebook many months before I traveled to Gaza. His intellectual curiosity about the world beyond his borders struck me as unusual. I’d never met any young Americans with that same fervor for exploring ideas and challenging their own ideas and perceptions.
Even though Mohammed has never traveled outside of Gaza, his mind has touched many new horizons thanks to his university studies, his reading, his questioning and his desire to learn.
Recognizing Mohammed’s special gift for learning, the Goldsmiths program at the University of London awarded him a fully-funded scholarship to pursue his Masters Degree in Multilingualism, Linguistics, & Education beginning October 1, 2017.
Mohammed followed all the required steps — getting a UK visa, notifying the Palestinian authorities, requesting permission to exit Gaza from Israel’s COGAT, asking the Israeli human rights organization (Gisha) for assistance — and yet he’s caught in Israel’s red tape and there’s a serious risk he may lose his scholarship as a result. The State of Israel is pushing him over the cliff. Read the Independent’s story here.
Thus, my red hot anger. My voice inside my head wishing bodily harm to the Israeli officials sitting at their COGAT desks. My frustration at my personal impotence — unable to kick down the walls that separate Mohammed from his future studies in the UK.
How do I reconcile my feelings this morning with the journey I feel committed to follow? The answer came when I found another quote by A.J. Muste.
Substitute “Occupation” for “war” and I think I’ve found the answer.
The State of Israel has existed for 70 years (1948-2018), and has occupied the Palestinian territories and Gaza for 50 years (1968-2018). Throughout its existence, the State has acted and reacted from a place of profound fear, viewing the world and its neighbors as hostile forces requiring a strong defense.
When the Zionists decided to create their new state on top of the lands, towns and villages of the Palestinians, the Arab world was certainly hostile. But time has proven two things: (1) the State of Israel is not a good neighbor and doesn’t know how to treat “others” with dignity or respect, and (2) the State of Israel has no regard for the international rule of law when it views the law as an impediment to its objectives. In both cases, the Palestinians be damned!
Therefore, I’ve found the answer to my conundrum. How can I maintain my personal journey or path focused on peace, while feeling this profound anger? Does peace require the absence of anger? Does peace require passivity in the face of injustice? — NO! —
The State of Israel has lost its legitimacy to exist as the State of Israel, it has proven it’s incapable of reform or changing its way. By its own calculation and design, the State of Israel is the embodiment of war. It must fail.
I want to use whatever power and influence I may have to end the State of Israel. It’s no longer an issue of two states, side-by-side. It’s no longer an issue of remaining neutral or on the fence between the two. The State of Israel must end, and a new state must rise in its place where everyone (Jew, Christian, Muslim) share equal rights.
You may call me foolish, naive, a warmonger and an anti-Semite. I’m none of those. I want Jews to live in peace and security with their neighbors. I want Palestinians to enjoy the same. Based on the many, many Palestinians that I’ve met in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jordan … I know they want peace, security and dignity too, side-by-side with all religions.
I have not met many Jews who will make the same declaration. Perhaps their fear is too great. Or perhaps their sense of entitlement to a piece of land prevents them from securing long-term peace for themselves and their neighbors.
However, I will no longer be an enabler for their dysfunctional State.
Mohammed Awad is exactly the kind of person that Israelis and Jews worldwide need as a good neighbor. They should be bending over backwards to ensure his success. It’s in their best interest to make sure Mohammed and every Palestinian fulfills his or her dreams.
Now I understand, my journey for peace is consistent with ending the State of Israel for everyone’s sake.