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Author Topic: Truth and Reconciliation
Rand McNally
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posted 04 August 2004 12:44 PM      Profile for Rand McNally     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Just an idea that came to me this morning while zoned out on a treadmill. (I hate treadmills, but it is way to humid outside to do much of anything.) A couple years ago, CBC radio did a piece about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. I found it remarkable how successful that process seemed to be in healing some of the wounds of the past.

So here is my question. Does anyone here think that a similar process could be helpful in the Israel/Palestine situation? It appears to me that much of the problem in that conflict is cycle of violence stuff. Israel reacts to a Palestine attack, which was a reaction to an Israeli attack, and so on; soon we are talking about events in the forties, then we are dealing with fallout from the actions of Roman Centurions. Assuming that some new peace process gets started in the future, I think that some type of T&R commission could be a helpful part of the process. Why? Because could break the cycle of blame. Horrendous acts have been committed by both sides, having an opportunity to clear the air, and explain to each other the motivation for their wrongs maybe able to allow a clean start. I believe that Aristotle was largely right, no one commits evil on purpose, evil arises from a misunderstanding of the good. Maybe, seeing the pain and humanity of the opposing side and seeing the reasoning behind the actions will bring both sides a little closer the good.

I know that this has all been a bit of blue-sky dreaming, because it does not appear that a truce is close to being called. However, I do think something like a T&R commission could help keep a truce, if one came into place. Think back to what a fractured state SA was; there were some many wrongs, and so much resentment, that I thought the change of power would be a very bloody process. While SA had problems in its transition, it went a lot better than many thought it would.


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Briguy
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posted 04 August 2004 01:20 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There was a thread about this long ago, I think. The T&R commission is a great model for Israel and Palestine to follow, especially if peace takes the form of a one state solution. I don't hold out much hope for such a commission being formed at present, though. At least, not a bipartisan (or even better, independant, non-partisan) commission. The encroached ghetto state that is being jammed down Palestine's throat won't make for a congenial dialogue down the road. Sadly.
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Khadiija
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posted 04 August 2004 01:22 PM      Profile for Khadiija   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
RM, I don't know if it could work in this case. After Oslo was signed the Israeli government was on a mission to convince Israelis it was a good thing. Someone I know called it a PR campaign to convince Israelis to swallow something that was bitter. The violence continued and by the time the Knesset had to vote on Oslo II it only passed by one vote.

Today, after 4 years of suicide bombers, the left in Israel have mainly moved to the right. Polls show that Sharon has strong support across the spectrum except from the right who are against leaving Gaza.

I think when the new Palestinian leadership emerges, led by people who are not connected to terrorism, then Israelis may be open to a reconciliation. It will be harder the second after the experience of Oslo.

The idea of "cycle of violence" is not held by many Israelis. They feel that they are protecting themselves from terrorists. The term offends many who feel that they gave the PA a chance through Oslo 1, Oslo 2 etc. I think that once a state of Palestine is declared and the Palestinians give up on their terrorism, then Israeli hands will be extended to help their cousins and the reconciliation can begin.


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Rand McNally
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posted 04 August 2004 01:47 PM      Profile for Rand McNally     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I admitted at the end of my first post that this was blue-sky stuff. However, I think that if a future peace is to hold some type of T&R process would be useful.


quote:
The idea of "cycle of violence" is not held by many Israelis.

Of course it is not, I would guess that the same is true for many Palestinians. This would be part of the purpose of the T&R process it would force both sides to see themselves as actors, rather than merely acted upon.


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Critical Mass
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posted 04 August 2004 02:18 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post
Don't think it will work because of religion. In South Africa, most of the factions were not based on religion so reconciliation on rational grounds could work.

In this conflict, too many fanatics on both sides believe God teaches that the other is evil incarnate. I'm afraid anyone campaigning for a TRC will immediately be threatened with being shot to death. That's what bringing God into politics does to people.

The best outcome appears to be an internationally supervised/enforced cold peace with heavily armed foreign troops patrolling a legitimate "separation barrier" along the legal international borders.

Maybe after a generation, historians can rewrite the history books and enough people will be ready to calmly evaluate what really happened and recognize the horrors they inflicted on each other in the name of God and Nation.


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 04 August 2004 02:54 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Racial hatred is as powerful as religious hatred. Hatred is hatred. If it could be done in S. Africa, it can be done in the Middle East.

The CBC doc has really stuck with me. I would like to learn about how the TRC has influenced S. Africa since. The point of having one is healing, which can only have meaning if it's long-term.

Desmond Tutu has had some very pointed things to say about the Israel/Palestine conflict--I wonder if he has mentioned the possibility of a TRC there, what conditions are necessary for it to work, and what its chances might be. Not everyone has to accept it, because the point is to plant enough seeds to make an incremental difference, especially in the next generation.

[ 04 August 2004: Message edited by: bittersweet ]


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al-Qa'bong
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posted 04 August 2004 03:23 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Don't think it will work because of religion. In South Africa, most of the factions were not based on religion so reconciliation on rational grounds could work.

In this conflict, too many fanatics on both sides believe God teaches that the other is evil incarnate.


Relegion isn't a major issue in Palestine, except for the settler zealots.

This is a political conflict.


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Coyote
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posted 04 August 2004 03:31 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Were a negotiated peace settlement to be reached, one- or two-state, a necessary corallary(sp?) will be a TRC. It will be a tough slog. There is so much history of blood and animus on both sides, and the politics of the thing will be just incredible.

But the point of a TRC is to move beyond those things. The final report will have to deal as much with the holocaust survivor's understandable fear as the Palestinian refugee's understandable rage; how the 19-year-old IDF soldier was duped into being an occupier and the 19-year-old Palestinian student into a suicide-bomber.

There are ideologues in the Western world who love to frame Israel/Palestine in East vs. West colours; and they have their intellectual kin in the moslem world who frame it in terms of jihad. Neither side can come off looking very good, ever, once one details the true cost of how and why decisions were made, and what that truly meant for communities on the ground.

If for no other reason that to expose this in a judicious manner, a TRC is crucial.


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Coyote
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posted 04 August 2004 03:37 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:

Relegion isn't a major issue in Palestine, except for the settler zealots.

This is a political conflict.



al:

I agree that at its foundation, this is primarily a political conflict. Nothing that can be resolved can be done so on theological grounds, surely. But there are "river to the sea" islamists in Palestine, and they should not be ignored simply because their fantastical ravings are fantasical, and they have no semblance of the military power necessary to achieve their ends. I agree with you that the settlers are the most dangerous theologically-based element in this conflict (if only because they carry actual political and military power), but it is not for nothing that Dr. Barghouti has warned against the religious radicalization of the Palestinian resistance.


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lagatta
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posted 04 August 2004 03:45 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
al Q - have to agree with Thomas. The main reason now that there can't be peace and reconciliation is that Israel is still occupying the Palestinian territories, still treating Palestinians who are Israeli citizens as second-class citizens, still denying the hurt of the 1948 Nahkba (with some honourable exceptions). But Sharon's clampdown on secular Palestinian leaders and Arafat's own authoritarian behaviour towards progressive Palestinian groups (the FPLP, FDLP, many civil society groups...) has left a vacuum filled by the Islamic fundamentalists. They may be resisting Israeli rule, but they have a most retrograde programme in terms of women's rights and civil rights in general - like the settlers, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties in Israel and all religious fundamentalists. This has become a serious problem for progressives in the West acting in solidarity with Palestine, and it would be pointless to deny it.
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Rand McNally
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posted 04 August 2004 03:45 PM      Profile for Rand McNally     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
But the point of a TRC is to move beyond those things. The final report will have to deal as much with the holocaust survivor's understandable fear as the Palestinian refugee's understandable rage; how the 19-year-old IDF soldier was duped into being an occupier and the 19-year-old Palestinian student into a suicide-bomber.

Well said. That was the sort of thought that motivated me to start this thread.


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