MS. ED

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Friday, July 04, 2014


Other Voices


“One way of mishandling a problem is to behave as if it did not exist.  For this form of denial, we have borrowed the term terrible simplification.  Two consequences follow from it: a) acknowledgment, let alone any attempted solution, of the problem is seen as a manifestation of madness or badness; and: b) the problem requiring change becomes greatly compounded by the 'problems' created through its mishandling."Watzlawick, Weakland and Fisch, "Change," 1974.

The three Yeshiva students, Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar, who were kidnapped and killed for trying to get home after study is an outrage.  Now another death has occurred, this time a Palestinian boy, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, found in a Jerusalem forest.  There is no explaining this endless stupidity.  Both sides are to blame, but terrible simplification begs real coverage, not radicalism.  For The Jerusalem Post peace is the culprit, not settlements, checkpoints or anything else.

“The teens were taken because Israel itself, as a collective, has become a hostage to an illusory process that promotes only terror under the guise of seeking peace.” Charles Bybelezer wrote in The Post. “Through having succumbed to negotiating with terrorists, the Jewish state has legitimized terrorism against it.”

Hardliners on both sides are set in their endless belief of the "other" as pure evil, and the worry grows.  The Algemeiner, a Jewish newspaper in America, recently voiced concerned over a far-right surge in European Union Parliamentary elections, and the liberal diaspora (and Israelis who long to see "two states for two peoples") grow evermore helpless.    

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, gave a speech Thursday night outlining our commitment to one another as nations of understanding, and this belief is most certainly shared by this reporter, and many others.  But when he said "In both our lands the rights of individuals are sacred," there was concern (his remarks at a pre-Independence Day event are shared below).  Hardliners rule Israel.



There is no question the United States stands with Israel, but there are other voices that also need to be heard, and Mr. Netanyahu knows this, which is why he opened his remarks by reminding President Peres that “when you talk about history, you need to add that you are a part of that history.”

So too are the Palestinians, a nation of people Mr. Peres, and many others (at least before this tragedy) have seen as neighbors in peace.

Is this so bad?

In December, 2011, Harper's Magazine published "Drip, Jordan: Israel’s water war with Palestine."  (A PDF can be downloaded here to read.)  It is a pro Palestinian story, and subjective (almost public relations), but it is shared here with an eye toward the democratic tradition that both America and Israel hold dear. It is shared to fight a terrible simplification. Without facts, and real information, it is impossible to understand what is happening in the Middle East.

Terrible simplification fuels the fire.  And while it is true the view shared below could be argued thus, it explores (openly and honestly) how many assess one of the more contentious issues facing the g
ut wrenching, and often horrifying, Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



Footnotes
1 Full article: The Jerusalem Post

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