What are the three circles of the peace process?
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There is a direct connection between anti-Israeli or
antisemitic incitement and terrorism. The extreme anti-Israeli indoctrination that is so pervasive in Palestinian
society nurtures a culture of hatred that, in turn, leads to terrorism.
The Palestinian education system, media, literature, songs, theater and cinema have been mobilized for extreme anti-Israeli indoctrination, which at times degenerates into blatant antisemitism. This incitement to hatred and violence is pervasive in Palestinian society, particularly in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. It exists in nursery schools and kindergartens, youth movements, schools, universities, mosque sermons, and street demonstrations. Incitement creates a culture of hatred and violence, which in turn provides fertile ground for terrorism and murder.
Incitement against Israel has many faces. It begins by totally ignoring the very existence of the State of Israel. Maps in schools and universities do not bear even the name of Israel, nor a large number of its cities and towns. Beyond that, inciters extol the names and deeds of the suicide bombers, name football teams after them, and hold the terrorists up as models to be emulated. Incitement includes antisemitic cartoons that use the same kind of motifs and imagery that were used against the Jews during the Nazi era.
This phenomenon bodes ill for the next generation, educated to worship symbols of death and destruction. Children, such as those in Hamas-controlled Gaza, who have been taught from the earliest age to hate, kill and destroy are a tragedy for their own people and a potential danger for others.
The question that must be asked is what kind of future does the industry of incitement offer the next generation, which is growing up learning to hate. Will that young generation be capable of thinking in terms of peace, of good neighborliness, of tolerance and compromise? Can Palestinian society create the new state of mind that is needed for peace, which is much more than just signing a peace treaty?
The many attempts to bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict are known, not coincidentally, as the peace process. The transition from a state of war to a state of peace is not the result of just a one-time diplomatic act of signing an agreement. Rather it is a process that continues over time, a process that demands mutual efforts to change positions, values, and the perception of the former enemy. It requires a transition to a new paradigm, the creation of a new state of mind.
One cannot ignore the intensity of the emotions that exist on both sides of the conflict in the Middle East. Feelings of deep anger and frustration exist on Israel's side as well. But there is a huge difference between feeling anger and frustration, on the one hand, and promoting a culture of hatred, on the other.
Unlike a large part of Palestinian society, Israeli society sees peace as the noblest of goals, its highest of aspirations on both the individual and national level. The desire for peace, for calm and for the normalization of day-to-day life is at the very center of Israel's being and culture. The many thousands of songs, books, artistic works, and articles that have been written about peace in Israel, since the very establishment of the state, are too numerous to mention. Peace is an important core value, the greatest dream of every mother and father, the embodiment of the Zionist idea which envisages Israel living in peace and cooperation with all its neighbors.
There is no legitimate reason why Israeli children learn about peace and coexistence in their schools, while at the same time Palestinian children are learning to honor the suicide bombers and jihad. Those who desire peace should educate for peace, and not promote hatred and murder.
The Palestinians' vehement anti-Israel rhetoric has had a crippling impact throughout the region on efforts for peace. The intense coverage of the Palestinian perspective of events and incitement from Palestinian spokespersons have enflamed anti-Israeli sentiments in Arab countries, even influencing many pro-peace Arab states to downgrade their ties with Israel. Palestinian incitement causes violence in the short term, while in the long term it reduces the chances for peace and reconciliation between Israel and its neighbors.
These texts are taken from material published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. with additional comments and hyperlinked materials. They were apparently published in connection with the Annapolis peace conference of 2007, but they have extensive applicability beyond it. They explain fundamentals of Israeli policy as well as the meaning of Zionism and history of the conflict.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs text is at Israel, the Conflict and Peace. Original text is copyright by Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel Center.
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