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(This is a DRAFT of our talk, without the links to pictures being fixed
It will probably reappear in a revised form somewhat later.)
Talk by Edward and Eunice Ordman
Fourth Annual Gandhi-King Conference on Peacemaking, Memphis, TN
Visiting Nonviolent Peace Activists in Israel and the West Bank.
After World War II the US Marshall Plan converted
our former enemies into allies by building up their economies.
Israel, too, can build up the Palestinians economy and convert
Palestinians into allies.
Thus building up the Palestinian economy is terribly
important. Unfortunately present US and Israeli policy does the
opposite. Over the years the Palestinian economy has deteriorated
more and more rapidly.
The 1948 war ensued which altered the borders and
750,000 Palestinians fled and became Refugees in Jordan, Syria,
Lebanon, and Gaza which was then controlled by Egypt. Surrounded
as it is by Muslim Arab countries, it is not surprising that Israeli
policy has emphasized security as its primary concern. Israel
made service in the Army mandatory for all young people of 18.
They also provided themselves with lots of armaments, largely paid for
by the US government and Jews in the US. Israel’s fears that it
could be overrun by its enemies were justified. Over the years
Israel has proved over and over that it can survive.
However now Israel needs peace. Peace
requires, not just superior armaments, but negotiation are badly
For a few years I was a Citizens Dispute Mediator.
When 2 people, who were bitterly angry with each other, listened to
each other’s story, they became sweetly reasonable. If all
parties to the Arab Israeli conflict are heard, the chance of finding a
solution will improve markedly.
There is a wide variety of assumptions among both
Muslims and Jews. Both sides have fanatics who believe that God
will intervene on their side if they obey strict religious rules
closely enough. Both sides have liberals anxious to settle
differences amicably and non violently. And both sides have
various gradations in between.
Many people go to Israel from the US every year,
many from synagogues, many US politicians sponsored by the Israeli
lobby, and various diplomats. These people see a beautiful place
with beautiful houses, flowers and swimming pools, and wonderful super
highways with no check points and road blocks connecting them.
They do not see how the Palestinians live in the West Bank and
Gaza. Even Israelis can’t see through the Separation Wall.
It is difficult or impossible for them to go to the West Bank or
Gaza. Broadcast and print media tell about only what their
advertisers will pay for. Excitement sells. Violence is
exciting. Peacemaking is dull. TV and Newspapers in the US do not
report the suffering of the Palestinians nor the efforts on both sides
toward peace. Everyone in both Israel/Palestine and the US get so
taken up with their kid’s soccer team and making a living that they
don’t pay attention to the terribly dangerous tragedy in the Middle
East which could lead to World War II or 100 year’s war between Islam
and the West. I wanted a better world that for my grandchildren
so we went to Israel with Inter Faith Peace Builders and visited with
non-violent groups on both sides working for peace.
MAPS of West Bank
The West Bank is only 22% of Israel. These maps that
show how the Palestinian area or West Bank has been chopped up into
enclaves by Israeli settlements, Israeli only roads, check points and
PICTURE 10 of road block with cement blocks & dirt road
PICTURE 20 of temporary road block with police car
PICTURE 30 of check point with cars & trucks backed up
and car checkpoints, one with cars lined up
There are 93 manned check points and 467 permanent
road blocks. Between Israel and the West Bank there are only 35
manned check points. Thus most of these obstructions to travel in
the West Bank do not function to keep suicide bombers out of
Israel. They do make a successful Palestinian economy impossible.
Check points and road blocks make it necessary for Palestinians to take
two or three hours or more to go what had been a 20 minute drive.
The loss of time and gasoline badly restricts Palestinian income.
Students at Palestinian Universities have to start at 5:00 AM for an
8:00 AM class. Some women give birth by the roadside because they
can’t get to the hospital in time.
One man went to a check point early the day before
his brother’s wedding. By the time he got through the next day,
it was too late for the wedding. There are now 6,000 students
wanting to go abroad to college who are not being allowed to go.
Oranges are exported to Europe. Money from
exports is important to the economy in Gaza and the West Bank.
PICTURE 35 Christian orange trees.
These orange trees are owned by a Christian family
near Bethlehem which is a Palestinian area. Even in Denmark
oranges came from Israeli.
PICTURE 40 Christian olive trees.
The same family had several of these olive trees.
PICTURE 45 Picking Olives
Sometimes Settlers pick olives on Palestinian olive
trees. ICAHD and Rabbis for Human Rights try to stop the Settlers
and help the Palestinians pick the olives. These are both Israeli
organizations. The Rabbis for Human Rights took the issue to
court and the Army was ordered to protect the olives from the
Settlers. Sometimes the Army did as they were told.
PICTURES 55 of Math teacher
PICTURE 62 of his olive grove & fence
PICTURE 64 of electrified razor wire on top of the Wall.
We met a Palestinian man who teaches math in a
Jerusalem high school. His olive grove was cut off from his house
by 2 high fences, one of them electrified with rolls of razor wire
beside each of them and a road between them for Army use only.
This was part of the separation barrier. He had to drive for an
hour to get to a place where he might or might not get to his olive
grove. Then it was another hour to drive home. The extra
time and gasoline driving to his olive grove cuts into any profits he
may have. Growing olives and making olive oil is a big industry in
Israel. He was luckier than Palestinians who had been unable to
get to their olive trees for years.
Sometimes the Israelis destroy or uproot olive trees
which are in the way of the building of the “separation barrier” or too
close to the Israeli only roads or near Settlements. Up
rooted trees are usually replanted in Israeli areas.
Rabbis for Human Rights plant olive trees.
They also help keep settlers from picking the olives from trees
belonging to Palestinians.
PICTURE 65 Moved olive tree Here is an olive tree moved to
an Israeli settlement.
PICTURE 66 Bulldozing olive trees.
Here’s the equipment they use on the olive treesl
PICTURE 70 Excavating an olive tree.
PICTURE 72 Excavator & BIG olive tree
PICTURE 75 A destroyed olive tree.
These machines are so large they make the olive
trees look small. Here is an olive tree which is obviously more
than twice as tall as this man.
Palestinians make lovely sculptures out of olive
wood: Jesus washing his disciple’s feet, Jesus at the Last Supper with
all the disciples. These sculptures are waiting for Christians to
buy them in Bethlehem and Hebron, both of which are Palestinian cities
with only one poor road to each. Neither is an area where
tourists go. Thus the Palestinians are losing money because there
are no tourists to buy their products. As Bethlehem was more and
more cut off with only one access road, the Christians left.
Palestinians can’t leave. No one will take them in.
PICTURE 82 Jesus washing his disciples feet
PICTURE 85 the Last Supper.
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions use
imaginative ways of delaying the building of the wall. Sometimes
they hold a wedding in the path of the Wall. Sometimes they
hastily build a house in the path of the Wall.
PICTURE 90 ICAHD tiny house
Rabbis for Human Rights sometimes bring suit in
court to change the future route of the Wall so that families are not
separated. Sometimes the wall separates brothers. Sometimes
it separates husband and wife.
PICTURE 94 Ghetto Wall of Tears
This is the Palestinian side of the wall. Note
"Ghetto" 3 times and "Wall of Tears", and 'No good comes from this evil
wall" on the Palestinian side. Much of the wall is built in the
West Bank Palestinian land.
PICTURE 98 Wall, Gandhi, Peace
Here is the image of Gandhi, "This wall must fall",
a peace symbol, a V for victory, "We'll bring love here", "Freedom", a
heart, "Peace". These images very well depict the feelings of the
PICTURE 102 Israeli Side of the Wall
This Palestinian side of the "separation barrier" is
very different than the lovely Israeli side with its brick work.
PICTURE 104 Tunnel under East Jerusalem This tunnel under
Palestinian East Jerusalem also keeps Israelis and visitors to Israel
from seeing how the Palestinians live.
PICTURE 106 Israeli trains & Traffic
This is an Israeli only super highway speeds
Israelis on their way, but makes travel difficult for Palestinians
because they can't use it, and can only cross it at widely spaced
points with permission. Usually they must cross on foot and get a
taxi on the other side. On the left is the Israeli side of the
wall which also divides the West bank into enclaves.
Both Israelis and Palestinians want Jerusalem for
their capitol. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as Israeli
territory. It is Israeli policy to increase the percentage of
Jews living in Jerusalem. This is being done by encouraging Jews
to move into East Jerusalem and by driving Palestinians out.
PICTURE 107 West Jerusalem Old City
The sky scrapers here are West Jerusalem.
Please remember them until I show you East Jerusalem. In front of
West Jerusalem is the Dome of the Rock and the dome of the Al Aksa
Mosque. I want you to see some of the beauty of Jerusalem.
Here is the Dome of the Rock, a very beautiful Muslim mosque.
Around the top is Arabic writing. The Muslims take the
Commandment forbidding the depiction of any person or animal
seriously. Women worship here.
PICTURE 110 Dome of the Rock
PICTURE 110 El Aksa Mosque
This is the front of the Al Aksa Mosque. On
holidays only men worship here.
As worshipers leave the mosques, they come into the
Old City right here.
PICTURE 112 Sharon House at El Aksa Mosque in the Old City
Muslims must walk under this house build by Ariel Sharon. Note
the large menorah on top. There is an elongated Israeli flags the
entire height of the building. You remember Sharon was the one
who went to the Dome of the Rock with a hundreds and hundreds of armed
troops. This brought about the second intifada with its suicide
bombings in frustration.
PICTURE 113 Soldiers in the Old City
PICTURE 114 Wailing Wall men
This is the most sacred spot for Jews, the Wailing
Wall which is the foundation wall of the old Temple where animal
sacrifices were performed. There is a stone in the Dome of the
rock said to be where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac. The area
near the Dome of the Rock is called the Temple Mount. It is
sacred to both Jews and Muslims who trace their ancestry to Abraham
through Ishmael, his oldest son.
PICTURE 121 East Jerusalem.
In East Jerusalem most buildings are two stories
unlike the sky scrapers in West Jerusalem.
Another drain on the Palestinian economy is the
demolition of houses.
PICTURE 125 Home Destruction
The government demolishes some houses because they
are located where the Israelis want to build their Wall or separation
barrier. Some houses have been demolished because they are “too
near” to a settlement or an Israeli only super highway. Some
houses are demolished in Palestinian East Jerusalem which Israel claims
as Israeli territory. 12,000 Palestinian houses have been
demolished since 1967. The Israeli Committee Against House
Demolitions have collected enough money to rebuild all the houses
destroyed in a year. But often the house is simply demolished
PICTURE 125 Home destruction
The East Jerusalem population is largely
Palestinian. To get Palestinians out of East Jerusalem the
government charges $20,000 to apply for a permit to enlarge a
house. The permits are uniformly denied. There is no land
in East Jerusalem on which to build a house. The sons marry and
have children. They want to live in East Jerusalem so they move
in with their parents. That allows them access to the best
hospitals in Jerusalem. But the house becomes more and more
overcrowded. Eventually they add onto the house without a
permit. Then the house is listed for demolition which usually
takes place sometime in the next 2 years.
Often residents of the house are given 30 min. at 3
or 4 AM to get out of the house before it is demolished. If they
are lucky their furniture is piled helter skelter on the ground.
Often household goods too are destroyed. Those whose houses are
demolished are required to clean up the mess afterwards.
Sometimes the Red Cross provides them with a tent which the soldiers
sometimes accuse them of stealing. Obviously house demolitions
are a real drain on the Palestinian economy.
PICTURE 126 Demolition Police
PICTURE 130 Furniture & Destruction
harm house Why?
140 House to
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions are
working non-violently to stop house demolitions. They rebuild
houses. Rabbis for Human Rights are working with
them. They go to court. Sometimes they succeed in
changing the route of the wall so that houses are not demolished.
PICTURE 160 Sister Rose
This is Sister Rose who started the Holy Child
Program in answer to the great need of traumatized children. What
traumatizes the children? Sometimes their father was killed in
front of them or their brothers are in prison where they can’t be
visited by adult family members. Children related to the prisoner
can visit them in prison, but must go alone. How frightening it
must be for the children to ride for an hour with strangers to a grim
prison where they see their father unhappy!
Children have been in some Jewish hospitals which
don’t speak Arabic. They don’t understand Hebrew. They have
surgery they don’t understand. When their parents cannot visit
them, this is terribly frightening for a child.
Another girl’s father was deaf. He didn’t hear
the loud speakers announcing a curfew. His kids saw Israelis
shoot him. His daughter became violent. At the school they
give her lots of hugs which she loves. She gets to pat a
rabbit. After 3 years she is no longer violent, but she is still
PICTURE 165 Crafts help rebuild a
PICTURE 170 of child by a swimming pool.
In the Holy Child Program, children traumatized by
the fighting are loved and cared for in an environment to help them
learn to enjoy life.
PICTURE 175 A mural of the lion lying down with
the lamb, a symbol of peace.
The children also have regular school work, as much as they are ready
The Jews who live in settlements in and around
Hebron are so fanatic and violent that even the Israeli government
calls them terrorists.
Hebron was a Palestinian city until Dr. Goldstein,
from Brooklyn, NY, shot and killed 29 Muslims and wounded 150 or so
more at prayer in the Ibrahami Mosque at the Cave of the Patriarchs in
PICTURES IBRAHIMI MOSQUE
PICTURE 180 Abraham’s Tomb from the Muslim side
the tomb of Abraham as viewed from the Ibrahami Mosque at the Cave of
Machpelach or Cave of the Patriarchs. The glass door beyond the
tomb allows Israelis to see Abraham's tomb from the Synagogue on the
other side of a wall which separates the synagogue from the
Mosque. Even here a Wall separates Israelis from Palestinians.
PICTURE 185 Muslims pulpit in the Ibrahami
Mosque. Note the prayer rugs in the carpet pointing to Mecca.
PICTURE 188 The Mosque in the Cave of the Patriarchs
PICTURE 190 Muslim worshiping.
After his shooting spree, Dr.
Goldstein was killed on the spot. He became the hero of extreme,
fanatic Jews. Fanatic Israeli settlers moved into the part of
Hebron nearest to the Cave of the Patriarchs The Israeli
government closed the Palestinian’s main shopping street in Hebron so
that Jews going to the Synagogue at the Tomb of the Patriarchs would
not meet any Palestinians. Shops and residents had to move out.
PICTURE OF CLOSED MAIN SHOPPING
PICTURE 195 Here is one of the roadblocks which close off
the former main shopping street of Hebron. Note the blue plaque
hanging beside the soldiers.
PICTURE 200 Here are the closed stores on Shahada
Street, the former main street of Hebron. All the recently
refurbished stores had to move out . Most of the residents moved
PICTURE 205 This is the plaque at the roadblock with
a history of Hebron from the viewpoint of radical Jewish zealots in
Hebron. The plaque completely omits Dr. Goldstein’s murder of 29
Muslims at prayer in 1994, but tells that one infant was killed by an
Arab sniper in 2001 after Dr. Goldstein’s killing spree. Thus the
killing of one Jewish infant was considered more important than killing
Obviously the two sides are not listening to each
PICTURES SYNAGOGUE AT THE TOMB OF THE PATRIARCHS
PICTURE 210 The ark where the Torah scrolls are kept in the
synagogue at the Tomb of the Patriarchs
PICTURE 215 This young man is wearing
tefillin. He has a small box with a text from
Deuteronomy on a tiny scroll inside. This is held on his head
with long leather bands. Another small box with its tiny scroll
is held onto his hand with the long leather thongs we see around his
arm. These tefillin and a prayer shawl are worn during prayers.
PICTURE 220 This learned man is
explaining that the undulating bow Jews use during some prayers is a
reminder of the flickering of a flame of a candle. Candles are a
part of many Jewish ceremonies, for example at a Shabbat dinner, a
Chanukah menorah and other occasions.
Until Dr. Goldstein’s rampage, the synagogue and
mosque, there was no wall between the Mosque and Synagogue.
People could move freely from one to the other. Now there are
security check points at the entrance of the mosque and at the
synagogue. There is a wall between the mosque and the
synagogue just as there is a wall between the Palestinians and the
Israelis all over the West Bank.
PICTURES OF CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKERS
The Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron is
PICTURE 225 Here
is a Christian Peacemaker on the roof of their building which is very
near the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Ibrahami Mosque. They put
themselves in conflict situations and talk with the combatants.
In extreme cases they come physically between those in combat.
PICTURE 227 Here is the minaret and dome of a mosque in Hebron very
near the Tomb of the Patriarchs as seen from the roof of the Christian
Peacemakers building. Under the netting on the left are
Police. This camouflage shows that these are occupation Police
and not respected locals.
PICTURE 230 Here is a check point in
Hebron. Note the 20" guns at the ready. Imagine children having
to go past this check point on their way to school. Parents are
not allowed to accompany them. A lot of children refused to go to
school until the Christian Peacemakers accompanied them. In
one case 2 women team members were accompanying school children past a
check point. Extreme Jewish settlers attacked the women with
clubs and chains and broke their bones. The women offered no
resistance as they promise they won’t before joining the Christian
Peacemaker’s team. They ended up in the hospital. The
newspaper published a story about it. The result was that the
Knesset, the Israeli parliament, decided that soldiers should accompany
the children. In that soldiers were what was frightening the
children, that seemed like a less than totally satisfactory
solution. Christian Peacemakers are carefully watching the
PICTURE 235 Here are some Palestinian
women and their kids.
PICTURE 240 Muslim women shopping in an old
Palestinians shopping street in Hebron.
PICTURE 245 Friendly Palestinian kids.
PICTURE 250 This very friendly boy who
walked around with us in Hebron near the Ibrahami Mosque and synagogue
at the Tomb of the Patriachs. The stone barrier says
FREE PALESTINE AND ZIONISM IS RACISM. Evidently
he was delighted to be able to walk with our group where he is normally
prohibited from going.
PICTURE 255 Muslims are commanded to pray
5 times a day at specified times. When they do Israeli soldiers,
US security guards at airports and even many American citizens suspect
all Muslims of being terrorists. Why don't the moderate
Muslims speak up? The majority of Muslims in the US or their
parents come from countries where speaking up could mean a death
PICTURE 260 Fanatic Israeli Settlers in
the tall buildings on each side of this street throw their garbage down
on the Palestinians. The Palestinians put up the netting
for protection. The garbage is unsightly, insulting, and
PICTURE 265 New Profile
This is the lovely home of a former Kibbutz member just North of Tel
Aviv. Her socialistic kibbutz turned to free market economy and
deeded their land to their members. Her daughter served loyally
in the military. Her son felt morally compelled to refuse to join
the military. She supported him and found a legal way for him to
do so and also avoid going to jail as young refusniks usually
do. She says that because everyone, male and female is
required to serve in the military, militarism is in the minds of all
the people. She and others formed a group called New
Profile. They counsel young people who want to opt out of
military service. They have summer camps for young people to
teach them what a civil society without so much militarism would be
New Profile sends out excellent e-mails about
conditions in Israel. For example the Army usually act to protect
Israeli’s interests, but frequently does not protect Palestinians even
when the court or even the parliament orders them to. New
Profile also sends out pro peace news in Israel. If you go to New
Profile’s web site, you can sign up to receive their e-mails. Our
handout gives the web addresses of peace groups in Israel where you can
learn much more about peace movements in Israel.
The night just before I was mugged we were very
impressed by the Israeli man and the Palestinian one who had developed
a love relationship in their grief.
PICTURE 270 Bereaved Families
The man on the left is a Palestinian. His
father was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier. The man on the
right is an Israeli. His daughter was killed by a Palestinian
suicide bomber. Instead of hating and condemning the other side,
these two men turned to each other in brotherly love and mutual
support. They formed an organization of the Bereaved
Families. It is difficult for the Israelis and Palestinians to
meet. They must break rules and risk getting caught in order to
see each other, but their mutual support and understanding are
important to them and their families. Oh, if only more people
would decide not to hate, but to love each other instead!
The Palestinian economy badly needs building up
whether there is a 1 state or a 2 or even a 3 state solution. The
vast sums of money now spent on arms would be so much better spent on
building desalinization plants for example. After World War II
the US Marshall Plan converted our former enemies into allies by
building up their economies. Israel, too, can build up the
Palestinians economy and convert Palestinians into allies. It
will take money, but Israel can get that from the many Jews in the
world and the US Government. It will take time, but it can be
done, if the US and Israel resolve to do it.
What we can do:
Look at some of the web sites on our handout.
Read the Christian Science Monitor and/or the Hebrew Watchman published
here in Memphis. Both give both sides of many issues.
Urge US legislators and officials to listen to all sides and work for
peace in Israel and elsewhere. Reduce money for armaments for the US
and Israel as well as other places.
Make friends with Muslims in Memphis. The Muslims at Masjid As
Salam arefriendly and like to get to know others here. The mosque
is at 1065 Stratford Rd. Near Macon. Phone 685-8906
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