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(This is a DRAFT of our talk, without the links to pictures being fixed up etc.
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 October 2007

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 needed.  
    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 road blocks.  
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 Palestinians.
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 again.
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
           133 Soldiers harm house Why?
           140 House to tent
    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 traumatized.
PICTURE 165      Crafts help rebuild a shattered life.
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 for.

    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 Hebron.     
 PICTURE 180 Abraham’s Tomb from the Muslim side
           Here is 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 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 out too.
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 29 Muslims.  
    Obviously the two sides are not listening to each other’s stories.        
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.  
    The Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron is incredible.  
  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 situation.
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 sentence.
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 unsanitary.    
 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 like.  
    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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