it’s easy to say something needs to be done. It’s easy to complain and I have to admit that I do that a lot. I try to add concrete points of what could be done to my posts but I know too often things take my breath, exceed my ideas, my imagination of another Israel. So I decided I’d try to gather some points for today. Who knows … perhaps somebody prints that list and on whatever way in whatever time it will reach a person who can use and produce chance trough it:
- Make sure Palestinian Arabs are given short-term relief. How? Oh there’s a lot but for instance the question of the Palestinian’s citizenship (and most of all the Palestine-originated refugees). And here I don’t think you can’t keep all responsibility to Israel, Arab host-states must be a part of this. As Palestinian refugees are given European or American citizenship after a while so must they in Arab states. A lot of them live there in third generation but still do not have the citizenship. No wonder they suffer from a lack of future and too much anger. As for those living in the PA or the Gaza strip they need to be given some citizenship might it be a Palestinian or Israeli passport. It is a sign yet a powerful one.
And then of course there is that aid money: It needs to be made sure that it actually reaches people and not terrorist and extremist organisations that will turn it against their own people. Unfortunately it is a fact that the best part of the relief agency’s structures (not only) within the PA is as corrupt as the Kreml. It’s easy for the Western World to send money but nobody cares what is moved with that money. They need to send their envoys there and make sure the money is sent directly to trustworthy organisations that will make sure structures are built that will grant an income and a future to the people, not the politicians. Of course it is difficult and of course it will take some of that aid money. But still more will come out of the money in the end then does these days and most of all it will keep weapons from being bought with European or US American money.
- There needs to be a Palestinian security force of one kind or another. Personally I think – though of course it is close (!) to impossible – a joined Israeli-Palestinian one would be best. Palestinians must be taught how to catch their own terroristsand lock them away for if that happened there was no reason for Israel to violate the PA’s territory anymore. Terrorism is a crime and it needs to be treated as a crime in order to downsize it. Treating it as war, as it is these days, gives even more power to it and is beneficial to the terrorist’s case of destroying structures and producing fear.
- The UN has to take a decision. They must make clear to themselves and the world whether they want to contribute to a peaceful Middle East. If so they must take action towards it e.g. by putting together a peacekeeping troop that could do the terrorist- and rocket-hunt for Israel within the PA. If not they must say so out loud and play hide and seek any more. They cannot send troops to the Israeli-Syrian border who’s high ranking officers tell everybody daring to ask how they do favor Syria over Israel. The UN has lost trust by both populations. It cannot do its work that way. Either it takes steps to restore its reputation or it lets go of the region. What they do right now is nothing but spoiling relief money and human capital for actions that will just make things worse.
- And of course the media and public diplomacy. Though I feel it has improved lately a dead Palestinian terrorist (!) is still worth more media-coverage then a dead Israeli civilian (!). Something is wrong with that. Yet Israel itself might be a good part of the problem. They still nourish a lot of clichées and they have no clue about public diplomacy. Israel itself must create a second image of Israeli culture and daily life. They must show off their music and performing arts (that wonderful Mizrachi-chants and those amazing modern dance!) to other countries until people hearing the word “Israel” will not only think of terrorism and wars but also of music and culture. And once you are doing this you can also make a point of Middle East originating cultural elements. As for me this was the point where I, for the first time, got to ponder the question whether in the end Israelis might happen to belong to Israel. Because there was that culture that fit in, not the Ashkenazi-European culture that really doesn’t quite seem to fit.
Of course there’s more where that comes from yet I guess it’s enough for the moment. There is so much getting completely wrong within the conflict that once you think too much about it you nearly feel sick. Mostly, I guess, because there is one question I just cannot bring myself to deny: Is there any party out there that really is in favor of bringing peace to the Middle East?