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Way outside the confines of the box

by Minden Press-Herald

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”–attributed to Albert Einstein

If you care about the people of Gaza you will not support Hamas. 

If you care about the people of Israel you will not support Netanyahu. 

All the old games just get more people killed, wreck more infrastructure, smash hope, and poison the environment. 

The actual solutions will come from a populace ready, finally, to think and act way outside the box. 

Every single one of the in-the-box ideas has proven a failure, not once, not twice, but consistently, time after time. 

And yet we have some college students actually defending and justifying Hamas. 

Others are defending and justifying Netanyahu. 

In my field, Conflict Transformation, we just say no. We defend, justify, and promote supporting the Third Side, the side of positive peace. We support a trauma-informed process that rejects the positional, adversarial, obdurate case for one or the other, for Hamas or for Netanyahu. 

In my field, Conflict Transformation, we suggest the most adaptive course will be created by the people on the ground, but will definitely not be engineered by the conflict industry. 

In my field, Conflict Transformation, we notice that if someone benefits in status, power, or financial gain by the eruption or the continuation of destructive conflict, they are members of the conflict industry and the conflict industry built the master’s house. As visionary Audre Lorde well noted, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.”

The master’s tools are violence: structural, direct, physical, verbal violence. 

So we call for eliciting new ideas that can breakout. We suggest the counterfactuals: 

·       What if the US were to offer to build an Iron Dome for Iran and Gaza?

·       What if Iran and the US were to cease all offensive weapons transfers to the IDF, to Hamas, to Hezbollah, and to the Houthis?

·       What if the UN blue helmets were to separate Israel and Palestine along the Green Line?

·       What if Qatar were to host in-person, ongoing substantive talks that restarted many of the initiatives between and amongst Israel and Palestine that had worked in the past?

·       What if Palestine acknowledged and expressed brotherly sorrow for the European Holocaust?

·       What if Israel apologized for all violations of human rights that occurred during the founding of the state of Israel?

·       What if Israel offered reparations to Palestinians, or their descendants, who were harmed by the creation of Israel?

·       What if Palestine supported a nation-state of Israel?

·       What if the British, French, Germans, and others offered reparations to both Israel and Palestine?

·       What if Israel supported a sovereign Palestinian nation-state?

The Irish and Brits finally ended the Troubles with a peace treaty.

The Guatemalans finally ended a long war with a peace treaty.

Colombia ended decades of brutal war with a peace treaty

There are many examples of ending protracted “insoluble” deadly conflicts with functional treaties that have worked quite adequately. Israel and Palestine could do the same in their own fashion. 

They will not do it by relying on anyone in the conflict industry, at home or abroad. The supplier of weapons cannot be an honest broker of peace. The actual negotiators must be Palestinians and Israelis (not Hamas and not the Netanyahu factions). 

In the end, the people of both nations will initiate and negotiate or war will continue. 

Along the way, US protesters who fail to use trauma-informed resistance will contribute nothing. 

Israelis are traumatized.

Palestinians are traumatized.

Let them work it out. Stop sending arms. Stop cheering for one side. Cheer for the third side, for peace.

Liberian women showed the world how it was done in 2003, when they rejected all the master’s tools despite being utterly traumatized, and used mass nonviolent resistance to stop a war and gain true democracy.

Serb kids showed the world how it was done in 2000 when they used nonviolent resistance, despite being traumatized, to overthrow a dictator and bring about democracy. 

Palestinians and Israelis can do this. We just have to get out of their way.

Dr. Tom H. HastingsPeaceVoice Senior Editor, is Coördinator of Conflict Resolution BA/BS degree programs and certificates at Portland State University.

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