Sunday, 6th of March 2011 – Be’er Sheva, Israel
On our trip through Israel the first stop was Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of Negev in Be’er Sheva. That’s where Martine Rothblatt, author of the book, presented the 2stars4peace idea in May 2010, when she received her honorary doctorate from BGU.
Anne Berkeley (responsible for coordinating external activities of the University) and the student council set up a meeting with students interested in discussing the 2stars4peace idea. They varied in age and field of studies such as geography, arts, political science.
To be very honest – the meeting was discouraging. The students admitted, they were tired of the countless unsuccessful peace initiatives. Many of their friends even reached the state of ignorance, “switching channels” whenever the conflict occurs. Nevertheless all of them know without finding a solution peace will remain out of reach. It seems to be such an easy thing to ignore.
There is no simple way to solve the conflict, as there are quite a couple of issues to be solved: from religion to the right for refugees to return back home – many of them are covered in Martine’s Book.
Despite peoples active engagement, it still seems impossible to merge all activities into one movement – finally strong enough to drive change. A couple of times it reminded me of the following scene from “The Life of Brian”:
Besides this tiredness, I also became aware of a political shift. The left-wing gets significantly smaller, while the right-wing oriented parties grow. Their view is based on the status of Israel being the super military power. That is why one of the students suggested that US should stop immediately any financial support for Israel Military, in order to increase the pressure on Israel’s government to work towards a real solution.
Another student mentioned, 2stars4peace is not going far enough. Instead of solving the problem the traditional way (with boarders and belonging to some state), she doubted the concept of nations at all. Why not reaching out for ONE world with ONE universal government. A very progressive approach – probably a bit beyond anyone’s thoughts.
Again another student added, that Israel and Palestine becoming each a US state would mean to erase Zionist’s history …
A “real” solution needs to start with love – that was mentioned by the students. People need to get to know and respect each other (see this related blog post). From later talks with Israelian and Palestinian people I learnt it was much easier in earlier years to keep up relationships and friendships since today it became much more difficult and time consuming to cross checkpoints. And still the language barrier – at least among the young people – exists!
Most of our students (and people we spoke to later on) think there is no real conflict between the people (excluding radicals on both sides). They blame their governments and hidden political and economical interests to prevent the conflict to be solved.
Hopefully these students together with activists will create one joint movement. Let’s also hope it doesn’t “need another 30 years”, as one student said. Waiting will not solve any problem at all.