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Palestine has for centuries been a region on the Eastern Mediteranean where people lived called Palestinians. They lived there under the Greeks, under the Romans, under the Syrians, and under the Ottoman Empire. It was a place known as Palestine even to the 1940's. The modern movement for Jews to have a homeland began in the late 19th century and was helped in 1917 by England's Balfour Declaration affirming that England would support a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Israel came into being through action at the League of Nations and the United Nations. These actions have been meant to "secure the establishment of the Jewish national home ... and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion..."

Establishing a Jewish home while safeguarding the rights of all inhabitants irrespective of race and religion has proven to be very difficult. Many have made observations from hindsight. One observer states that the concept of "nation" is a Western idea, not an idea natural to Palestinian or to Arab regions. Related ideas show up in valuing boundaries, domestication of livestock, permanent homes... There is an instinctive assumption that our Western way is more justified, and it is easy to overlook the rights of people whose ways are different. (nomadic, living in a region without clear boundaries, "owning" livestock without fences) Perhaps there is some parallel in the displacement of native Americans by Europeans and the ease by which we then enjoyed our manifest destiny. In 1492 there were 80 million people living in North and South America in mostly similar nomadic, herding lifestyles. There were 60 million Europeans living in highly organized nations who coveted "America", the new world. Hundreds of years later it is easy for us to see we were aggressive, we were unjust..., we felt justified (by our destiny).... Clearly we are right in our dedicated support to the Jewish homeland and in our readiness to defend all persecuted peoples. But might we again be overlooking the rights of an indigenous people, the Palestinians.... It seems to us that it is worth asking these questions....

If we'd like to get personally connected, Yigal Kahana has made us friends with the Woman's House of Peace in Ramallah. We created their website. They make wonderful things by sewing. Between that and Bondeau, Haiti, we could create a Fair Trade shop or marketplace.

Here's more information: Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, The Ottoman Empire, Constantinople, Antioch, Tikkun & Rabbi Michael Lerner's View, Tikkun: Finally, A New Idea: The Marriage of a One-State and a Two-State Solution , Islam and Family Promise, and Muslim Families Homeless in the US. .

The Two-State Solution Doesn’t Solve Anything 8/11/09Hussein Agha and Robert MalleyNYT
Green Shoots in Palestine II 8/ 9/09Thomas L. FriedmanNYT
Green Shoots in Palestine 8/ 5/09Thomas L. FriedmanNYT
The Silence That Kills 3/ 2/07Thomas L. FriedmanNYT
Midnight at the Oasis 1/28/07Max RodenbeckNYT
Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam   

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