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Channeling loss to stimulate change: 71 days of dialogue in Tel Aviv

The forum of bereaved families rests on the belief that the only way to end violence between Israelis and Palestinians is by recognizing the humanity of ‘the enemy’ through open and honest dialogue. That goal, however, appears to be as far away as ever.

By Henriette Chacar

Parents Circe Families Form dialogue tent in Tel Aviv (photo: Henriette Chacar)

Parents Circle Families Forum dialogue tent in Tel Aviv (photo: Henriette Chacar)

It’s hard to imagine how one might begin solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by leading by example. The hundreds of members of the Parents Circle forum of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families aren’t naïve, but they insist on trying.

The Parents Circle Families Forum, a grassroots organization of over 600 Israeli and Palestinian families bereaved as a result of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities, channel their loss to stimulate change. They pose an alternative to animosity and revenge by actively promoting reconciliation. So just before this summer’s Gaza war broke out, the Forum erected a “dialogue tent” outside one of the most  prominent symbols of Tel Aviv’s culture – yet inside its bubble. Sitting outside the Cinemateque, rotating shifts of bereaved Israelis – and a few Palestinians – have been inviting the public to listen to their stories – and hoping to help them replace the need for vengeance with a process of dialogue and understanding.

Many of the Forum’s members joined the organization after a journey, at the end of which they realized that violence only begets more violence. For Yuval Rot, joining the Forum wasn’t an obvious or intuitive decision. Yuval’s brother, Udi, was on reserve duty a month after the Oslo Accord was signed in 1993. While hitchhiking back home to Kibbutz Hatserim, Udi was killed by three Hamas activists who disguised themselves as settlers.

To Yuval, participation in the Forum was contingent upon finding answers to a few burning, and personal questions: “Is it legitimate to use my personal grief as a tool? Do I want to expose my pain and share it with the public?” But believing in the ability of the Forum’s activities to save lives outweighed his hesitations. While his experience in the Forum hasn’t changed his political views, it amplified the sense of urgency and responsibility. There was no time to spare; in order for the cycle of violence to end, something had to be done.

Yuval found the Parents Circle Families Forum to be the best framework through which he could influence reality and do something effective and efficient on the ground. It was his interaction with the Palestinian members of the Forum that inspired him to create his own life-saving initiative, Road to Recovery, which today activates over 500 volunteers in Israel.

Next to a banner reading, “It won’t stop until we talk,” Doubi Schwartz, the Israeli co-executive director of the Forum, sits next to the tent in central Tel Aviv for the 69th consecutive day, adding that if the group can stop the community of bereaved families from expanding, it will have achieved its goal.

“We don’t want any more families, neither Israeli nor Palestinian, to lose their loved ones to the conflict,” he states.

The Forum rests on the belief that the only way to achieve that goal is by recognizing the humanity of “the enemy”, through open and honest dialogue. “If we, as bereaved families, manage to accept this, then there is absolutely no reason for the rest of society not to,” Doubi says.

That goal, however, appears to be as far away as ever. The past year has witnessed the failure of (yet another) round of peace talks, ongoing settlement building, and the deadliest military operation since the first Lebanon War. Even the Tel Aviv “bubble” was temporarily popped by rocket sirens and the normally safe space for protests disappeared; leftists, Palestinians and non-nationalists were met with fear, physical intimidation and violence.

Amid this mountain of palpable volatility, the Parents Circle saw an opportunity to interpose a different kind of discourse. Acknowledging that peace agreements are void of meaning without public support, the Forum highly regards trust-building projects on the civilian level. So they came up with the idea of putting a tent dedicated to public dialogue in one of Tel Aviv’s central squares.

Although idea for the tent was born even before the news of the three kidnapped boys that started this bloody summer, its significance was amplified with each compounding escalation, Schwartz says.

“We noticed that there wasn’t a single public space in Israel dedicated to talking about the consequences of the conflict,” he reflects, “and the war made it especially relevant.”

During the summer’s war in Gaza, the tent served as a meeting point for – at least a few – Israeli and Palestinian voices who contest the use of force as a solution to the conflict. Their insistence on reconciliation, however, did not leave them invulnerable to the effects of the war; Doubi recalls how the activists had to run for shelter whenever the sirens went off.

Their call for understanding proves to be too demanding for some people. “Traitors! You are all traitors!” shouts a couple walking by. The host of this evening’s program invites them into the tent to express their opinions but they don’t come. According to Doubi, these are precisely the people being targeted by the activities of the Forum. “The last thing we want is to preach to the choir,” Schwartz says. Peace cannot happen if trust isn’t built between the two peoples, he adds.

Parents Circle Families Forum dialogue tent in Tel Aviv (photo: Henriette Chacar)

Parents Circle Families Forum dialogue tent in Tel Aviv (photo: Henriette Chacar)

But not everybody is listening. Since the First Intifada, 2,811 Israelis and 8,890 Palestinians have been killed. Tens of thousands more have been injured or maimed. It is safe to say that most Israelis and Palestinians have in some way been directly touched by the decades of violence – and not all of those people joined the Forum. Some have formed extremely hawkish groups like Almagor, which only appears in public to challenge the government’s policy towards terrorism – mostly to oppose prisoner releases.

These families have made the ultimate sacrifice to their society, and so their actions are attributed a certain legitimacy that is unlikely to be granted otherwise. The same could be said about Palestinian society, although often in different ways – and with different sensitivities. The other half of the Forum’s operations, based out of the West Bank city of Beit Jala, faces different challenges.

“There are many peace projects and dialogue initiatives in Palestine, but at the end of the day,” Mazen Faraj, the Palestinian co-executive director of the Forum, says in a telephone interview, “the participants go back to the refugee camps and face soldiers, checkpoints, occupation and war once again.”

Living under occupation largely influences the approach taken by the Forum when addressing Palestinian audiences. The benefits of such dialogue sessions must be clear and tangible, Faraj explains. When it works with other Palestinian social movements and organizations, the Forum presents itself as a platform for non-violent resistance against the occupation.

If the tent project were to be launched in a Palestinian city it would have to induce hope for the future, he says, adding that Palestinians must feel the activity will somehow make their lives easier.

“People have lost a lot to the conflict, but they want their lives back. They’re hungry to live a normal life,” says Faraj. For him, working at the Forum is a way of achieving justice for the Palestinian people.

Addressing the group’s Palestinian critics, some in the anti-normalization movement which largely opposes symmetric dialogue groups, Faraj says he respects their right to oppose them but rejects the idea that speaking with bereaved Israeli families can somehow be conflated with acceding to the occupation or yielding to the Israeli narrative.

Speaking to the other and understanding their pain puts a focus on shared humanity, which allows for genuine dialogue, Faraj says. “There’s a difference between wishing for something and believing in it. When you wish for something – you sit at home and wait for it to happen, but when you believe in something – you choose to continue in that path each morning, until you find the solution. What we try to do is to make people believe, not wish.”

After 71 days, the Forum came to the conclusion that more audiences should participate in the discourse. Folding up the dialogue tent  outside the Tel Aviv Cinemateque, they will now bring it to various cities and towns throughout Israel, a spokesperson told +972, until the conflict is over.

Henriette Chacar is an aspiring journalist, born and raised in Jaffa. She is fascinated by Palestinian identity on the local, regional and global levels. Aside from writing, she is active in various regional cooperation and community development initiatives. @HenrietteChacar


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    1. Pedro X

      The meaning of futility. A few Israelis set up a tent and speak to a few other Israelis. The Palestinians are too afraid to put up a tent, but instead sell themselves as a resistance movement. Meanwhile 88% of Palestinians supported Hamas’ actions in the war. 72% want to see Hamas arms and tactics transferred to the West Bank. A majority of Palestinians approved of both the kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli teenagers.

      This year Israelis and Palestinians arranged for friendly football games to be played between Israeli and Palestinian children. Jbril Rajoub, a likely successor to Abbas and head of the Palestinian Football Association, and other high ranking Fatah members have called the playing of games with Israelis crimes against humanity. Fatah members are calling for the Palestinian organizers to be arrested as traitors.

      A number of years ago a Palestinian choir sung to a group of Israeli seniors who were Holocaust survivors. The choir was disbanded for this act.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Kolumn8

      There are several interest aspects of the “Parents Circle”.

      1) It sells itself in Israel as a group for dialogue. It sells itself among the Palestinians as a platform for non-violent resistance against the “occupation”, which most Palestinians do not accept as consisting solely of the West Bank. This seems rather disingenuous, but whatever. In any case it is fundamentally a political movement trying to almost exclusively influence Israeli society and politics.

      2) It is funded almost exclusively by European sources, which makes it, along with the rest of the alphabet soup of pro-Palestinian advocacy groups in Israel, a proxy for foreign interests in Israel. Foreign governments are sponsoring a political group in Israel with the intention of interfering in Israeli politics and society.

      3) It is a foreign-funded group advocating on behalf of foreign interests. The charge of treason is entirely legitimate, even potentially by definition, obviously true.

      4) Like the rest of the alphabet soup of foreign-funded pro-Palestinian advocacy groups it is treated with contempt by most Israelis and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it finds it difficult to have an influence. The truth is that this groups and dozens like it are mostly engaged in a conversation amongst themselves and are almost entirely ignored by the overwhelming majority of Israelis.

      5) When their activities get attention, like this group and Zochrot, the effect it has is of pushing away people that would otherwise potentially be friendly to the idea of peace and reconciliation. For example, a book that Zochrot published about how various contributors envisioned their desired future of the region largely presented a future where Israel is not just eliminated but all aspects that make up Israeli identity are eliminated and Jews live as a hated but grudgingly tolerated minority that forever has to apologize for some mythical sin. Outside of the masochists this vision invariably pushes Israelis away from any ideas these groups might suggest and into the welcoming arms of the ideologies of the Israeli Right.

      6) Given that these groups are so obviously ineffective and potentially even counterproductive one wonders what idiot in Brussels thinks this is a good way to spend European taxpayer money.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Richard Lightbown

      I couldn’t think of a more negative comment if I tried. What was your solution to the conflict Ped? It seems to have been left out of your post somehow.

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        The solution is that the Palestinians need to choose peace. Palestinians need to end the incitement to hatred and violence, disarm, accept what Netanyahu is offering and make the best of billions and billions of economic aid and development which will flow from the establishment of a Palestinian state. They then need to begin building their state for their people like Israel did between 1949 and 1967. This means they need to build more Rawabis, create jobs and industrial centers.

        Reply to Comment
        • Richard Lightbown

          I wasn’t aware that Netanyahu was offering anything other than excuses not to negotiate. He is certainly not offering to stop settlement construction let alone pull the settlers back into Israel proper. So where is this state going to be? Tell me just how the Palestinians can choose peace when their lands keep being stolen from them? When they can’t fish beyond 3 miles offshore (and sometimes not even as far as that) and this despite the fact that Yitzhak Rabin signed an agreement that they can fish their territorial waters up to 20 miles offshore. (Is Netanyahu offering to honour that agreement?) I haven’t heard that Netanyahu is offering to grant them their water rights. Or that he is going to allow them to benefit from their gas reserves. Or that he intends to give full equal rights to Palestinian Israelis. Or stop persecuting Bedouin for trying to live with dignity on their ancestral lands. Or stop playing catch-22: I can’t negotiate with Abbas when he doesn’t represent all the Palestinians and when they do join in reconciliation he won’t negotiate with a government that includes Hamas. Your scheme for peace is a non-starter Ped because funnily enough it takes two to tango and Mr Netanyahu’s intransigence makes it absolutely impossible to have serious negotiations. Yet somehow you blame it all on the Palestinians. It won’t wash Pedro, you’re selling a lie.

          Reply to Comment
    4. Pedro X

      You set up a number of straw men, Richard. Israel is not obligated by the Oslo Agreements to stop building or developing Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. the land is not Palestinians. Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, Har Homa, Givat Hamatos, E1, and Etzion were never Palestinian lands. Israelis will continue to build their communities in Judea and Samaria until Palestinians are prepared to accept peace and delineate borders between Israeli communities and Palestinian communities. No Jew or Arab will be forced to leave his or her home.

      Palestinian forfeited their 20 mile fishing rights by using fishing vessels to smuggle weapons. Remember the Santorini or the Karin A? However, if Palestinians made peace and gave up violence there would be no need to limit the Palestinians to 3 or 6 kms.

      Palestinians have no water rights which Israel is transgressing. Under the Interim Oslo Accords Palestinians are receiving more water then they are entitled to in order to meet their water needs. Because they mismanaged, bungled and abused their water resources is no reason to give them more water. Israel has offered to give them the technical ability to produce all the water they need to meet their needs. The Palestinians refuse to build a sufficiently sized desalination plant, refuse to recycle grey water for agricultural purposes and refuse to treat their sewage thereby harming the water resource. They even refuse to repair leaky water lines which account for a 33% loss of their domestic water. Their agricultural community wastes water on a massive scale using flooding as a means of water crops. They allow residents in their largest communities to use unlimited amounts of water while denying the basic water allotment to the poorest in their society who live in smaller villages.

      BTW Palestinians have no historical right to the water they claim (700 MCM). In 1948 the supply of water to the West Bank was only 25 MCM. The water in the Mountain aquifer was used and belonged to the area controlled by Israelis.

      If Palestinians want equal rights, they will need to look to their governments to enact equality laws for themselves. Israel is not the government of the Palestinians.

      With respect to Gas development off of Gaza, Israel offered to help the Palestinians explore and develop the field. The Palestinians refused. Meanwhile Israel has successfully developed its much larger gas fields. The Palestinians have done nothing and have no ability to develop the gas fields by themselves. The fact that Gaza’s government is run by corrupt, unstable Muslim extremists scares off any potential developer.

      With regard to the Bedouin, they are subject to the same property laws as other Israelis. Even under Ottoman and British rule the Bedouin had no title or claim to the lands they claim. The majority of their claims have no basis in law or in fact.

      Abbas is free to choose his side, Hamas the terrorists, or Israel. Avi Ditcher said if the PA forms an unity government with terrorists, the government is terroristic. This will not be a problem if Palestinians accept peace, renounce the use of violence and disarm.

      If Abbas wants peace he will take up Netanyahu’s offer to meet with him anywhere anytime.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Well, Pedro, what a lot of smoke blowing. In all this blah blah blah no one really has any rights except Jews. And you entirely dance around the fact that Netanyahu is offering exactly nothing. You yourself use too many words to say nothing and provide no answer to whatsoever to Richard. Where are the borders, Pedro? Borders, borders, borders. When any Israeli does not want to talk about borders and get out a detailed map and start drawing lines, I know he’s blowing smoke. What a waste of time. Just like the endless “negotiations.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          No map? Olmert presented a large map to Abbas. Abbas was to come back with a cartographer the next day and did not. Olmert detailed not only the borders back the land swaps.

          Reply to Comment
    5. Richard Lightbown

      Plenty of claims here without a single reference Pedro. (I’m still waiting for references to your astounding claims after Sam Bahour’s piece BTW.)

      I will make the following quick observations. I am not going to waste a lot of time on wild claims that come without any basis.

      Some of your claims here are pretty staggering, such as the one about huge settlement areas were never Palestinian lands (!) so who exactly did they belong to before the 1967 invasion? Your implication that settlements are being expanded to pressure Palestinians to accept peace is absurd. The whole programme is a massive land grab that makes peace based on the two state solution more remote with almost every passing week.

      Who is the adjudicator who decided that the Gazan fishing rights should be forfeited? Why the state of Israel – are you seriously suggesting that constitutes international law? (Gangster, prosecutor, judge, jury, executioner, enforcer and thief all in one.) The Israeli Navy’s policy of shooting (and killing) unarmed fishermen going about their lawful business is state terrorism that hopefully will eventually result in those responsible facing charges in the ICC.

      I will consider your water rights claims when you provide your references. I suspect they originate from a hole in your head.
      The Israeli government is the government of Palestinian Israelis, strange as that may seem to you.
      Since fishermen are forcibly restrained from venturing beyond 3 miles (and less than that when the mood takes the Navy terrorists) it is unrealistic to expect the Palestinians to seek ways of developing their gas field located almost 20 miles offshore.
      Regarding the Bedouin, Human Rights Watch reported:
      ‘Michael Sfard, recently produced evidence in court, however, that appeared to show that the Jewish National Fund had bought land in this area from Bedouin owners during British rule, as did Ottoman authorities before then. This, he said, indicated that the area had customarily been recognized as belonging to the Bedouin.’
      Who else could it have belonged to? Why of course the Zionist militias who forcibly expelled 85% of the Negev Bedouin in 1948/9.

      And finally, since when has Bibi offered to meet anyone anywhere without a whole of load of unreasonable preconditions?

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        I have given a lengthy answer but 972mag has not posted it yet.

        The short answer to whose land it was is:

        The lands were subject to a sacred trust of civilization for the reconstitution of the Jewish Home in Palestine, which trust was prevented from achieving its full objects by illegal Jordanian occupation for 19 years and the British abandonment of its trust in 1948 in favor of Jordanian occupation.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Pedro X

      “were never Palestinian lands (!) so who exactly did they belong to before the 1967 invasion?”

      The lands were subject to a sacred trust of civilization for the reconstitution of the Jewish Home in Palestine, which trust was prevented from achieving its full objects by illegal Jordanian occupation for 19 years and the British abandonment of its trust in 1948 in favor of Jordanian occupation.

      The British defeated the Ottomans and by virtue of the right of conqueror had the right to do with the Ottoman Lands as they saw fit. The British subordinated their rights to sovereignty in favor of recognizing the mandatory system for Ottoman territories pursuant to the League of Nations Covenant. Each mandatory was a sacred trust of civilization until peoples formerly part of Ottoman territories and could stand on their own and rule themselves. Section 22 of the Covenant reads:

      “To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilisation and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.”

      The Mandate for Palestine was established in 1922 for the purpose of reconstituting the Jewish Home for the Jewish people as envisaged in the Balfour Declaration. Other mandates provided for future Arab countries and provided Arabs in those countries with political rights which were withheld from Arabs living in the mandated territory for Palestine.

      The Mandate for Palestine states:

      “Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917 by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and

      Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;”

      At the time the defeat of the Ottoman Empire the Empire did not recognize a Palestinian people, but did recognize a Jewish people as seen by their censuses. The mandate was meant to allow the possible development of a self governing Jewish state provided that sufficient Jews settled in Palestine to reach a threshold to form a state.

      Leopold Amery, former British War Secretary, testified at the Anglo Commission in 1946

      “The phrase ‘the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people’ was intended and understood by all concerned to mean at the time of the Balfour Declaration that Palestine would ultimately become a ‘Jewish Commonwealth’ or a ‘Jewish State’, if only Jews came and settled there in sufficient numbers.”

      Under Article 4 of the Mandate for Palestine, special political rights were granted to the Jews, the right of a Jewish Agency to help direct the close settlement and development of the country in order to secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions.

      As it was the Jewish Agency became a shadow government in Palestine running government like institutions looking after the interests of the Jews of Palestine. The Jewish Agency spoke for the Jews.

      Arab leaders, namely Amin al-Husseini’s party, intended that the territories under the Mandate be joined to Syria as part of a widely based Arab Caliphate. The Arab population saw themselves as part of an Arab Nation not a separate people.

      In 1924 Britain created Jordan as a separate territory which was subject to the Mandate. In 1946 the Palestine Mandate ended in the territory of Jordan and Jordan became an independent nation state. In 1947 the UN proposed to split the remainder of Mandate Palestine into two states, a Jewish state and an Arab state. A War ensued, the Jews established an independent Jewish state in the Mandate territories without specific borders, and the Mandate for Palestine came to an end with the British abandonment of their sacred trust of civilization. The only functioning government of the people of Mandate Palestine was the Jewish Agency which became the government of Israel.

      The war continued resulting in Jordan occupying the West Bank with no sovereign claim to same. No Palestinian state arose nor the creation of a Palestinian people. The West Bank was incorporated into Jordan.

      The Armistice Agreement of 1949 set armistice lines which specifically were not borders and the parties specifically retained all claims which they had prior to the war. Israel claimed to have sovereign rights to Judea and Samaria.

      In 1967 Jordan was ejected from Palestine by Israel and Israel was left with the only sovereign claim to the territory. In 1988 Jordan gave up all claims against the territories.

      The 1967 cease fire agreements did not recognize a Palestinian people and no representative of the Palestinian people signed any such agreement.

      In 1968 the PLO published the second version of the National Covenant and for the first time stated an objective of the establishment of an independent country for the Palestinian people to be gained by the obliteration of the Jewish state and its people.

      After the 1967 war Jews returned to Judea and Samaria and the portion of Jerusalem annexed by Jordan in the 1948 war. They exercised their rights of close settlement and development which were never terminated. In fact their rights under the mandate systems were preserved in Chapter XII of the United Nations Charter of 1945.

      Israel instead of trying to exercise its full sovereign rights in the territories, attempted to reach a compromise which would result in Israel holding on to all of Jerusalem and parts of Judea and Samaria while returning Gaza to Egypt and most of the West Bank to Jordan. Subsequently in the 1990s Israel tried to enter into a compromise with the PA to establish self rule pursuant to an agreement ending the conflict.

      The parties have been unable to settle upon a compromise and the lands in Judea and Samaria and the West bank remain contested or unsettled.

      Reply to Comment
      • Richard Lightbown

        Nice try Ped, but you are bending the facts to suit your narrative.
        You wrote: ‘At the time the defeat of the Ottoman Empire the Empire did not recognize a Palestinian people, but did recognize a Jewish people as seen by their censuses. The mandate was meant to allow the possible development of a self-governing Jewish state provided that sufficient Jews settled in Palestine to reach a threshold to form a state.’
        • The Ottoman Empire might have recognised Jews but to say that they recognised a Jewish people is stretching the point.
        • There is nothing in the Palestine Mandate to allow the ‘possible development of a self-governing Jewish state’. Article 2 states quite clearly ‘The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home…’ As I’m sure you know, if the victors as Versailles had intended the mandate to ‘allow [for] the possible development of a self-governing Jewish state’ under any circumstances they would have specifically written that. The Mandate says no such thing and you are telling me porkies.
        • To make things crystal clear, Article 4 of the Mandate refers to an appropriate Jewish agency to advise and cooperate with the Administration (i.e. the British) and states specifically that the agency will be ‘subject always to the control of the Administration’.
        • There is nothing anywhere in the confirmed text of the Mandate (24 July 1922) about a ‘sacred trust’: another pipe dream/hallucination/pork pie. Article 6 however does start by saying ‘The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced…’ This I take to include their property rights which brings us back to my point about Palestinian lands being stolen from them. I can assure you there is nothing in the text of the Mandate about sequestration of Arab property or its transfer to Jewish ownership.
        • Leopold Amery was under-secretary to the War Cabinet at the time the Balfour Declaration was drafted (The Balfour Declaration, Jonathan Schneer p336) – a minion who did what the war cabinet minister (Sir Alfred Milner) told him to do. He may indeed have testified later that black was white and night was day, but the text of the Mandate overrides anything an imaginative minion may care to invent later on down the line. Incidentally Amery never held the post of British War Secretary. If he did make this comment he was lying anyway as Doreen Ingrams Palestine Paper pp56/7 clearly shows. Curzon was totally opposed to a Jewish Commonwealth and angry that Weizmann was proposing such a thing in private. Balfour wrote of the Jewish Government of Palestine ‘Such a claim is in my opinion certainly inadmissible…’ Just how clear does this have to be before you can comprehend it Ped?
        • Regarding fishing rights for Gaza, this was not mentioned in Palmer as far as I am aware. They certainly did not say that the Israeli Navy has a right to commit terrorist attacks against Gazan fishermen under any circumstances. Yes Palmer and Ulribe opined that the blockade was legal have failed to understand that it came into force in 1967 (or 1968 according to the Turkel Commission Report Part 1 p32). That’s what happens when people express opinions on subjects about which they are unqualified (neither of Paler nor Ulribe had any expertise in international maritime law). The fact that they had not read the Turkel report carefully makes them look like the amateurs they really were.
        I am not going to go on Ped. You are lying through your teeth to create a false history. I haven’t seen Burkart of Gvirtzman, but if you can’t read the Palestine Mandate properly (which is only just over four pages long) I am not going to trust anything else you care to write because that too will almost certainly contain inventions. ‘Bye.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          Rich, you say

          “There is nothing anywhere in the confirmed text of the Mandate (24 July 1922) about a ‘sacred trust”.

          Every mandate was a sacred trust of civilization. The Mandate for Palestine was no different. No specific mention is required.

          Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations dealing with mandates states in part:

          “there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilisation and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.”

          Also note, that the preamble to the Mandate for Palestine refers specifically to section 22 of the Covenant:

          “Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine,…”

          So the Mandate for Palestine specifically refers to the provision of the Covenant which contains the principle of the establishment of mandates as scared trusts of civilization. To give effect to Article 22 of the Covenant is to treat the Mandate of Palestine as a sacred trust of civilization.

          The concept of sacred trusts were well known in law and the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Mandate for Palestine applied the principle of a sacred trust of civilization to the reconstitution of the Jewish home in Mandate Palestine by close settlement, development, a Jewish Agency and the development of self governing institutions.

          As with all other mandates the British were to administer the territories for the purpose of attaining the objects of the trust, reconstitution of the Jewish home, close settlement, development, and self governing institutions. However, all mandates were considered to be temporary until those for whom the scared trust was created were ready to stand on their own and govern themselves. Indeed this is what occurred. Mandated territories attained state status.

          To suggest, as you do, because there was no provision of a self governing Jewish state, no such state was intended, flies in the face of the intention of the whole mandate system developed by the international community of the day.

          Re Fishing rights and the maritime blockade, a maritime blockade includes all maritime traffic. Prohibiting trafficking weapons by fishing boat is part of a maritime blockade. Israel under its blockade has the right to restrict boats going out fishing because they were a source of importation of weapons as much as larger ships were.

          Reply to Comment
    7. Pedro X

      Re fishing rights, the Palmer Commission determined that Israel has a legal blockade to prevent armed material from entering Gaza which Gaza fisherman have engaged in territorial waters.

      Water issues read



      Haim Gvirtzman “The Israeli-Palestinian Water Conflict, an Israeli Perspective”

      Bibi has several times offered to meet with Abbas unconditionally. Abbas has refused.

      JTA reported July 12, 2009 that

      “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Mahmoud Abbas to meet with him immediately to discuss peace.”

      Netanyahu said according to cbn:

      “There is no reason why we can’t meet anywhere in Israel to get the diplomatic process going, even right here in Beersheva,”

      “I call on Palestinian leaders and Arab countries,”

      “Let’s meet. Let’s cooperate. We have the ability to bring many players on board,”

      Abbas said no.

      On September 23, 2011 from the podium of the UN, Netanyahu again called upon Abbas to negotiate with him. Again Abbas would not.

      Abbas was dragged into the current negotiations by the Americans and never did meet Netanyahu. In the end Abbas chose to negotiate with Hamas instead of Israel.

      Reply to Comment