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The Great Debate
Open letter to President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
The Hague, 16 January 2017
President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин
President of the Russian Federation
23, Ilyinka street
Moscow, Russia, 103132
103132, Россия, Москва,ул. Ильинка, д. 23, Администрация Президента РФ
Taking Off At Full Throttle …
“The world cannot impose peace upon the Israelis and Palestinians”, says French President Mr Francois Hollande but warned, “the Middle East cannot be stabilised without an accord”.
Dear Mr President,
Should we worry about another East Aleppo but this time in West Jerusalem or in Tel Aviv? Isn't there a better way to liberate all the people – the Jews, the Palestinians (32% Christian), the Arabs and the Evangelical Christian Right – from the claws of the Neo-Zionists? Because they have been outcast for millennia as socio-economic underdogs, Neo-Zionists, a sub-culture of Jewry, surpass their oppressors by perpetrating an ideology of ethnic cleansing and external expansion, abandoning democratic norms in pursuit of redemptive violence against anyone who stands in their way without ethical or legal restraints equipped with lethal modern warfare. Is the defeat of Neo-Zionism worth another world war? They have already lost the war in the Court of World Public Opinion. Will it not die a natural death like previous forms of Fascism?
Though Jews, many Neo-Zionists are not Jewish. Their godless faith is in canons of deception, destruction and decadence. They sing the praises of greed and self-indulgence. Their own cult-like clergy of high priests and priestesses lead them into worship, no matter how morally corrupt, like the late Prime Minister Golda Meir. She has galvanised her flock and has terrorised the Palestinians with: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” Abominable! Repulsive! Perverted! The worst kind of terrorist is one who perpetrates state terror.
The Russian Federation in Concert with the European Union and NATO …
Mr Putin, would The Russian Federation consider joining the European Union and NATO in a Consortium together with the Arab League – they have been in each other’s back yards for millennia – to bolster the dialogue between the people of Israel-Palestine in orchestrating reconciliation? If you say “yes”, I will do everything, within the parameters of all I can do, to make it happen. In deference to the long-standing resolutions declared by the United Nations, Russia in concert with the European Union and the United States could support the Arab League and the people of Israel - Palestine in crystallising what Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as the ‘Beloved Community’.
Neo-Zionist leaders from Mr Ben Gurion to Mr Binyamen Netanyahu have, according to world public opinion, taken many wrong turns in their territorial obsessions – their rage and blind ambitions – to expand their lebensraum. Instead of triumphing in peaceful harmony, they have capitulated to tribal warfare on a collision course against their Judaic conscience. They have bastardised a beautiful God-given word ‘Zionism’, which the Sacred Texts define as “creating a heaven on earth for the people to become a light among nations”. Neo-Zionism is not Zionism.
Revealed as a dark side of Judaism, Neo-Zionism rules and dominates the Israeli zeitgeist beguiling and chaining many Jews into believing in something they are not meant to be. This aberration ruptures civility in Israel-Palestine. Neo-Zionism has split many Jewish families apart. Worse, Neo-Zionists, while waving the banner of Holy Goodness in the glare of world television, torment and inter the indigenous Palestinian Arabs into concentrated encampments to live a hell on earth. Without the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict, there would be an internal Israeli conflict that inevitably could unglue their social fabric now fragilely held intact by the fear mongering against a common enemy. Peace could bust the socio-cultural seams between the secular, the national-religious and the Orthodox; between the old Ashkenazi community, the Oriental Jews and the Sephardic Community; between the immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia; between the Neo-Zionists (hell on earth) and the true ‘Zionists’ (heaven on earth); and could further alienate the Arab citizens, whose separation from the rest is increasing. Socially, Israel is unstable. It is even worse economically. In Israel, the disparity between rich and poor, so underreported, is reprehensible.
Neo-Zionism defiles the good in the Abrahamic Faiths and defies the preponderant directive in the Sacred Texts, Revere the Stranger. Neo-Zionists are obsessed with creating an exclusionary community (kampf), a lebensraum for a ‘Chosen Few’, by deploying brute force without considering the consequences of the other; by unconscionably dispossessing them from their properties, displacing them from the land and imprisoning them in servitude behind iron walls with no hope to ever return; with neither compromise, concession or conciliation; them or us; the end justifies the means! It’s either ‘my way or the highway’. This perversion and aberration, this depraved, distorted and deviant ideology – this false religion – can never have a happy ending. Ask Nazi Germany!
We Europeans disdain Fascism and so does most of humanity as demonstrable to the vote (and veto) of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, adopted on 23 December 2016. Neo-Zionism disgraces the Jewish way of life and is, in fact, anti-Semitic. Neo-Zionism is Fascism. They know it. We know it. One, who is ‘human’, in Yiddish ‘mensch’, can see through the mumbo-jumbo of Neo-Zionist propaganda. The Neo-Zionists can fool some of the people some of the time. They cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Yet, the Neo-Zionists parade themselves as kings wearing no clothes. They deny the reality that time is on the side of the Arabs with nearly 400 million souls surrounding six million Jews.
I want Israel to survive. I want Palestine to be Palestine and the Palestinians honoured with respect and dignity. Neither can exist without the other. Both must reconcile with each other. Neither can get away with murder nor can either get something for nothing. “Today’s status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 per cent, cannot be maintained. It’s not sustainable,” says Secretary of State John Kerry. I cannot be more long-winded and as persuasive. Many Jews, especially the misinformed in the Diaspora, are blindly following the Neo-Zionists slippery slope toward self-destruction. Their only choice: build the bridge and come together. Any peace accord, without full reconciliation, will inevitably collapse. The wounds will only be temporarily soothed, letting the disease to stealthily spread and eventually erupt and explode again. All the people in Israel – Palestine should reset their minds from “We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon - no alternative” to “We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel – [Palestine]”, both pontificated by the same, the late Prime Minister Golda Meir.
There is an alternative. Many work their hammer to forge steel, to shape something that lasts. Others pick up their hammer to shatter glass, to harm, injure and destroy. We are all challenged to choose either of these two options, day in and day out. Israelis and Palestinians must reclaim their guiding principles and fundamental beliefs derived from the Sacred Texts: “love your neighbor,” “love the stranger,” or “justice, justice shalt thou pursue”. Israel - Palestine is after all the Holy Land. The essence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam insists upon its adherents to trust their moral compass, synchronized with moral courage and moral imagination to envisage full acceptance of Israelis and Palestinians; Jews, Christians and Muslims (and not just in Israel - Palestine).
The Land of Israel is the Land of Palestine. After crushing the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba in 132 CE, the Romans, changed the name of Israel to ‘Palaestina’.
- The Palestinians are indigenous to the region not for decennia, not for centuries … for millennia.
- The Israelites are indigenous to the region not for decennia, not for centuries … for millennia.
- And through the ages they have lived and worked together and enriched each other, not just materially but especially spiritually. Islam and Christianity could never have evolved without Judaism. All observant Jews, Christians and Muslims are esteemed as People of the Book.
Will the people in Israel – Palestine ever say to each other: “Welcome home”?
What if a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians respond to the higher calling of becoming a ‘light among nations’, ‘seeking the better angels of our nature’ and act accordingly as responsible citizens in the community of men and women, especially among those they have hurt so much? Can and will the Israelis and the Palestinians destroy their enemy by becoming friends with all the give and take to make and keep the friendship? They will want nothing more than a full reconciliation with their neighbours. “We can’t get away getting something for nothing … we can’t get away with murder … let’s tear down the walls between us, share the land, and break bread together … and here is cash, earnest money, a compensatory resolve to seal the deal.” “We cannot give up on the search for an end to this conflict,” says President Barack Obama in his response dated 16 August 2016 to my letter.
Both the Israel Democracy Institute and Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research suggest strongly that many Palestinians (44%) and a majority of Israeli Arabs (54%) prefer a multilateral forum in which major powers sponsor the negotiations.
- Among Israeli Jews, 27 per cent prefer a multilateral approach.
- Only 22 per cent (a significant minority) of the Palestinians prefer bilateral negotiations while
- Forty-one per cent (still a minority) of the Israeli Jews prefer the bilateral approach.
- What’s more, findings show that a significant majority of Palestinians are almost equally open to either an Arab led forum or one led by the United Nations or the European Union, with support ranging between 20-22 per cent each, while only 8 per cent prefers a US-led effort.
- A majority of Israeli Jews prefers almost equally an Arab forum (28%) and a US-led effort (26%).
- Among Israeli Arabs, support is greater for an UN-led approach (36%) and a EU-led one (27%).
So what is it that the people of Israel - Palestine really want?
- “Among Israeli Jews, 1) a Jewish majority (identity) is seen as the most important value (35%), followed by 2) peace (32%), 3) democracy (20%) and 4) a Greater Israel (10%).
- Among the Palestinians, 1) Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and 2) the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with 3) East Jerusalem as its capital is seen as the most important value (45%), followed by 4) obtaining the right of return for refugees to their 1948 towns and villages (32%), and 5) building a pious or moral individual and a religious society (13%)”.
BOTTOM LINE, most Israelis and Palestinians want to be safe from ‘terrorist’ attacks, including state terror. Most Palestinians worry more about jobs than about territory or borders. Most people on all sides want little more than for the other side to leave them alone. Before they are willing to break bread with the other, they would first want to put bread on their own tables to take care of their families and to raise their children. Everyone deserves to be happy. Everybody wants to wake up to a more fulfilled life. On all sides of the Divide, people do their best to provide food, shelter and education. Jews, Christians, and Muslims everywhere whisper the same daily prayer: ‘take care of our children’.
Sooner than later the people of Israel - Palestine can and will be Living Together, inside ONE Home Land within TWO borderless states, their ONLY option. Will the people of Israel - Palestine take up the challenge and converge toward a series of catalytic possibilities? The alternative will inevitably result in more cataclysmic calamities.
Could Russia help endorse my proposed EU Complement to the Arab Peace Initiative?
The Consortium can propose, not impose. “The world cannot impose peace upon the Israelis and Palestinians”, says French President Mr Francois Hollande but warned, “the Middle East cannot be stabilised without an accord”. Let us remain steadfast in walking the warring parties – holding them by the hands if we must – through the path of darkness into the light. The Russian Federation together with the United States and the European Union can buttress the Arab League led forum to help the Israelis and Palestinians cross the bridge toward peace. The Israelis and Arabs are, after all, neighbours. All sides must reconcile with the other and learn to live, work and enrich each other.
The Proposed EU Complement to the Arab Peace Initiative …
- To start, I want Europe to apologize to the people of Israel and to the people of Palestine. The European Union can help move mountains. Fortified with an invincible NATO, the EU is also the most powerful economy on earth, almost bigger than the combined economies of the United States and China.
- Being ‘more’ European than most, a dual national of the United Kingdom and of The Netherlands, born on the outskirts of Israel - Palestine (on the SS Atlantis, British Ship, Red Sea), let me be among the first to say: “I am sorry. I am sorry what we’ve done to the Jews. I am sorry what we’ve done to the Palestinians.” I speak volumes, in silence.
- Second, I propose that Europe measures the State of Palestine and the State of Israel according to one standard with fairness and equitability.
- Third, I propose that Europe recognises Israel and Palestine and treats both equally as de-facto NATO ‘affiliates’ so that neither may ever attack, invade, and occupy the other. Frankly, Israel already embraces de-facto NATO status. Iran will never officially attack Israel, despite the rhetoric and spin and fears perpetrated by and from all sides. Iran fears NATO, not Israel.
- Fourth, I propose borderless boundaries or virtual borders, to facilitate freedom of movement and the right of passage for EVERYONE. Yes, with a BENELUX-type structure one may freely cross the many divides in the region. Citizens of one country may freely work, travel and live in the other – i.e., Jewish settlements sited in Palestine –, but remain citizens in their own states. So, Israel remains Israel. Palestine remains Palestine. Jerusalem remains Jerusalem but everyone in the region may live and work where they please but vote only in his or her own country. This is nothing new. Is Europe a single federation or a union of individual nations? Both! Am I proposing a one-state solution or a two-state solution? Depending on the eye of the beholder, it could be either or both (see Petition ‘Living Apart Together’).
- Fifth, I propose that the warring parties compensate the other for losses incurred because no one should get something for nothing. How? Invoke Europe to construct a EU-type Marshall Plan and lend the money to Israel and to Palestine to enable them to compensate the other, proportionate to the degrees of harm done. Because of Europe’s negligence, we should not sweep our culpability under the rug. We caused the conflicts. We are the culprits. Europe owes it to the Israelis and the Palestinians to sweeten the Arab Peace Initiative with many hundreds of billions of euros in grants and loan guaranties.
- Europe could monetise the EU-type Marshall Plan with a computer entry, the modus operandi used by the United States when it didn’t have a dime to spare after World War II. Newly ‘printed money’ flooded Europe with ‘hard currency’ without causing a Weimar-type hyperinflation. Economies coming out of the ashes cannot be overheated because ash does not burn. Today, Europe can flush cash into Israel - Palestine for micro and macro development to generate jobs, jobs, jobs.
- As the supplier of all materials, the exclusive purveyor of all goods, products and services, Europe will especially benefit precisely how the United States benefited from the Marshall Plan. Since the late 1940’s through the 1950’s we Europeans bought just about everything from the Americans, rebooting their manufacturing base and the humming of their plants. And today, we’re still the largest investors in the United States.
- Sixth, I want justice because no one should get away with murder. Should we hang Netanyahu like Sadam? No! Let’s move forward and go beyond a justice based on tit for tat, despite what Netanyahu did to the Palestinians as Sadam did to the Kurds. As a response to ‘a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye’ one could choose to give a tooth or to give an eye if needed and warranted. Why not reach the pinnacle of becoming the light of the world, each committing to become an instrument of blessing, and Give the Gifts that God has Given.
- Seventh, I would prefer an Act of Reconciliation similar to the one in South Africa under the tenets ‘live, let live’ rather than ‘kill, get killed’; and, ‘forgive in order to forget’, a fundamental economic principle, and a precious lesson in life.
- Eighth, I propose that the people in the Region vote to temporarily (perhaps for five years) demilitarize the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and the ‘Palestinian Defence Forces (PDF)’ as a condition to enable NATO to guarantee security for all Israelis and all Palestinians with NATO troops wearing white helmets, costs to be proportionately defrayed among the Israelis and Palestinians derived from new-found revenues as a result of the new capital infused by Europe. From the beginning, the IDF and the ‘PDF’ have also been destabilizing factors. Their aims, portrayed as Divinely inspired, depicted with the best of intentions, have often been counterproductive for the greater good of the Region and the world.
- Ninth, invoke the Arab League together with the European Union and The Holy See to consider investing an estimated EU 100+ million to finance the work of thousands of Peace Corps Professionals to help the people of Israel/Palestine to believe in their own self-esteem as well as the worthiness and goodness of the other.
- And, tenth, LEAVE THE HOLY SITES IN THE HOLY CITY ALONE! Until things REALLY cool down entrust them tentatively to something like a UNESCO Trust. The Holy sites in the Holy City belong to everyone because those who have faith in the God of Abraham also believe that God is the God of Adam and Eve, the God of all mankind. West Jerusalem becomes the capital of Israel. East Jerusalem becomes the capital of Palestine with no borders to separate either. Why? God views Israel and Palestine as one and the same.
The sweet aroma of peace is in the air, all around us. A clear majority on all sides of the Divide wants peace (Israeli Jews, 73.8%*; Israeli Arabs, 97%*; and the Palestinian Arabs, 85.7%*). The Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research affirm this (executive summary here, full survey here).
- A small majority of Palestinians (51%) and Israelis (58.5%) supports the two-state solution.
- Only a minority among Palestinians (34%) and among Israeli Jews (20%) supports a one-state solution.
- Support for the one-state solution is highest among Israeli Arabs (52%). The Israeli Arabs seem ambivalent. The majority (87.1%) of those polled also support the two-state solution. Obviously some support either one or both. They just want peace.
Can they, will they rid themselves of the hurdles, real or imagined? “Only 39 per cent of Palestinians and 46 per cent of Israelis support a peace agreement package [riddled with obstacles, to be revised and adjusted] that comprises:
- A de-militarized Palestinian state [rejected by 80% Palestinians but supported by 61% Israelis]
- An Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line with equal territorial exchange [rejected by 56% Israelis; supported by 61% Palestinians]
- A family unification in Israel of [ONLY] 100,000 Palestinian refugees [overwhelmingly rejected by both; not enough for the Palestinians, too many for the Israelis]
- West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; and,
- East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine; and,
- The Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty; and,
- The Muslim and Christian quarters and the al Haram al Sharif / Temple Mount under Palestinian sovereignty [all seemingly prayers without an end in sight], and
- The end of the conflict [ironically supported by all, but impeded by all the stumbling blocks]; and,
- Cease and desist all future claims against the other [supported by most Israelis, rejected by most Palestinians because they’re not going to let the Israelis get something for nothing and neither side will permit the other to get away with murder]”.
What matters most to the Israelis and the Palestinians? Just about all prefer to trust, not fear, the other. The people of the region must start getting to know each other. As long as each community clings to its own story, unable to acknowledge what is plausible in the story of the other side, peace will remain a distant hope.
The statistical indicators of The Palestinian-Israeli Pulse make that clear. “The level of threat on both sides regarding the aspirations of the other side in the long run is very high:
- Fifty-four per cent of Palestinians think that Israel’s goal is to extend its borders to cover all area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and expel its Arab citizens.
- Some 27 per cent [Palestinians] think Israel’s goal is to annex the West Bank while denying political rights to the Palestinians.
- Some 35 per cent Israelis (40% Israeli Jews and 8% Israeli Arabs) think Palestinians’ main aspirations is to conquer the State of Israel and destroy much of its Jewish population; 19 per cent [Israelis] think the goal of the Palestinians is to take over the entire state of Israel.
Only 17 per cent of the Palestinians think Israel’s long term intention is to withdraw from all (7%) or some (10%) of the territories occupied in 1967 after guaranteeing its security.
Some 37 per cent of Israelis (33% of Israeli Jews and 61% of Israeli Arabs) think the aspirations of the Palestinians are limited to regaining some (21%) or all (16%) of the territories conquered in 1967”.
BREAKING NEWS! “When we asked Palestinians and Israelis to tell us what they think the long-term aspirations of their side are, the picture shows that the two sides perceive much more moderate aspirations on their side than anticipated by the other side.
- Only 12 per cent of Israelis say the aspirations of Israel is to annex the West Bank and expel the Palestinians living there;
- Eighteen per cent of Israelis say that Israel intends to annex the West Bank without granting political rights to the Palestinians living there.
- Among the Palestinians, only 10 per cent of the Palestinians say that the Palestinians aspiration is to conquer the State of Israel and destroy much of its Jewish population; 15% say Palestinians aspirations are to conquer the State of Israel and regain control over pre-1948 Palestine”.
Taking Off At Full Throttle …
What I’ve just outlined above, Mr Putin, is a take off at full throttle, with no room for superfluities. At the end of the runway, there is no turning back. Is there any other way to take off but at full throttle? To eventually soar through the clouds, you will need all the torque you can get, maximum thrust to overcome resistance. That’s what it’s going to take to secure real and sustainable peace. In the past, those in command of the peace talks dare not take off at full throttle. The results: one deadlock after the other. Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Madrid, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna have succeeded in producing stalemates often ending in standoffs with one foot in the stirrup, the other in the sand.
I realise anticipating the Europeans and the Russians to cross the bridge toward constructive co-existence is like pulling teeth. But I ascribe to: “it’s better to try achieving something great and fail than to succeed in doing nothing at all (Rev. Robert H. Schuller)”. Frankly, I’d also like to see Iran play an active role in the Consortium. We all do have a lot of blood on our hands. Not one is exempt. The 500,000 Syrians who have martyred their lives, a debauchery of the International Community, are a scratch on the tip of the iceberg. I resent what has happened there. I don’t want a repeat, albeit inevitable, unless the Neo-Zionists surrender, preferably democratically, to the greater wants, needs and interests of the majority of all the people in the region and the world. If it isn’t obvious to the Neo-Zionists, it should be perfectly clear to all other Israelis. The world is making them an offer. They cannot refuse.
The task is no longer a question of ‘who is right’ but to focus on building a path that will be best served for all.Let’s start fresh and anew. The timing is opportune. We need stability in the Region. If peace is possible there, it is possible everywhere.
With every good wish to you, Mr Putin, I am,
BUILDING THE BRIDGE FOUNDATION, THE NETHERLANDS
Abraham A. van Kempen
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