Beliefnet
The stance from which I approach issues of peace in the Middle East--just like the stance from which I address all the issues that are so important to-- is the stance of a renewed and renewing Judaism.That includes learning from--but not standing only within--modern politicalradicalism, self-determinationism, ecology, and the like.From that stance, I affirm these statements:

1. Both families that identify themselves with ethnic and spiritual descentfrom Abraham have a special relationship with the Land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and both are entitled and obligated to work out a sacred and decent relationship with each other and the Land, each governing itself internally as each seeks in its own way to carry out that task.

2. Each of these peoples is obligated to affirm the right and the obligationof the other as well as of itself to do this; each must see itself as part ofa conjoined twinship, in which the health of our twin is our own health, andthe hurt of our twin is our own hurt.

3. For Jews and Jewish organizations wherever they live, this means supportfor Israel as a state that expresses Jewish values, including the ancientvalue of justice and love for the foreigner who lives within the Land and ina Jewish jurisdiction.

It also means support for the creation of a free, peaceful Palestine thatobserves basic human rights--not as a reluctant concession to realities ofpower but in joyful embrace of a sacred obligation and a recognition of ourconjoined twinship.

4. Such a state of Israel does not need to reenact the individualism of modernity but can legitimately root itself in communities and encourage communities, so long as there is equality in access to economic goods, civil and human rights, education, etc.

It is legitimate for Israel to see itself as a Jewish state so long as itaccords full equality to its communal and ethnic minorities in those ways and in the ability to flower as a community and culture. That is not the way thestate is now behaving, and Jews who are trying to renew Judaism have boththe right and obligation to criticize and protest those failures.

5. Israel has the right and obligation to defend a territory that issufficient to support a flourishing state, and the obligation to not claimpossession of any territory beyond that necessity (on the ground of thespiritual importance of self-limitation) as well as on the grounds of justice andpracticality.

6. Control of land within the Green Line, plus only the Western Wall and theJewish Quarter of the Old City, is essential to the nationhood of Israel.Control of land beyond that is not essential to the nationhood of Israel.Control by Palestinians of all the land beyond the Green Line (with thosetiny exceptions) is essential to the viability and peacefulness of aPalestinian state. Israel should therefore be insisting on both.

7. Both the creation of Palestinian refugees from Israel and the creation ofJewish refugees from a number of Arab states and territories were theexpression of the fears and rages of the early years of Israel'sindependence. Many ethical failures on all sides, committed under greatpressure, are visible in retrospect.

It is important for both sides to acknowledge these ethical failures and do tshuvah--repentance--for. For Israel, this should include a formal recognition thatthere were ethical failures; substantial investment in resettlingPalestinians abroad in a new State of Palestine; admitting carefully limited numbers ofthe original inhabitants into Israel; and negotiating compensation forJewish refugees as well.

8. The occupation of the only possible peaceful Palestine--East Jerusalem,the West Bank, and Gaza--by Israel makes peace impossible, damages Israelisecurity, and brings about the deaths of Israelis and Palestinians.

Ending the settlements and the occupation is not a win-lose but a win-win event."Ending the settlements" might mean bringing the settlers home and/or theiragreeing to live as Palestinian citizens under Palestinian law, withoutspecial protections from Israel.

9. For Jews who see peace and nonviolence as a higher good than violence(even if they are not absolute pacifists), and especially for those Jews whoare ready to take the risks of nonviolence upon themselves, it is appropriateand important to support those voices in the Palestinian community who areurging a turn to nonviolent rather than violent resistance to the occupation. For everyone, it is an obligation to criticize especially strongly the use by some Palestinians and some Israelis of violence against unarmed civilians.

10. One of the most powerful forms of action for social change is to create inthe present the forms that one envisions for the future. Thus Jewish wisdomteaches that if the whole Jewish people were to observe two Shabbats-Sabbaths-in arow, Messiah would come--because Shabbat is itself a mini-Messianic moment.

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