Thursday, October 15, 2009

Peacemaking Demands Peacemakers

The Israeli-Palestinian problem is more complex than a failure of leadership, although that is part of the complexity. From my perspective as a professional peacemaker, the heart of the problem lies in the identity conflicts existing within both the Israeli and the Palestinian camps. Essentially, the fundamentalists on both sides have seized the ideological high ground, They have staked out extremist positions in terms of sacred values from which no compromise is possible. I believe that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians seek and hope for peace. They are hijacked by those in their midst who claim that honor, duty, and death come before a pragmatic settlement of all disputes. If there is a failure of leadership, it is here: leaders on both sides have failed to stand into the ideologues, denounce their fundamentalist and extremist views, and courageously stand for peace. Until such time as the extremists in both camps are marginalized by popular opinion, the crisis and conflict will continue. In the meantime, there are ways to engage the extremists which will require engaging with patience and tact.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


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