Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Four Lessons of Gaza - Lucy Nusseibeh

Open Democracy, February 4, 2009 - The Israeli army's display of overwhelming force in Gaza during the three-week war of 2008-09 has not achieved its stated goal, as rockets continue to fall on southern Israel. This campaign by one of the world's best-equipped military machines, which killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and destroyed over 18,000 homes, has not been enough to provide the Israelis with the security they desperately seek.

Why is this? The answer is in part that the kind of power the Israelis excel in goes nowhere near to solving the heart of the problem they face - which lies inside themselves as much as in the Palestinians, their "other". Perhaps the answer has to be sought not - or not just - "externally" (in actions) but "internally" (in perceptions of self and other). After all, when a system is dysfunctional, more of the same does not work: it needs to change from the inside out.

In the light of this approach, the massive Israeli attacks on Gaza - only the latest episode of a deep-rooted and increasingly dangerous conflict - offer four lessons that must be learned:

* demilitarising minds

* creating reciprocity and dignity

* overcoming fear and victimhood

* forging human connections ....

[For more on the four lessons, read the full article at the link.]

Lucy Nusseibeh lives and works in East Jerusalem. She is founder-director of Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy (MEND) and director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al-Quds University. She is also a member of the International Governance Council Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP), and co-chair of the Awareness Raising Working Group at the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).

No comments: