What can I do to help make peace?
You can pray individually or as part of a vigil for peace. Try to get more balanced information and write to people in power about your insights. Some groups, such as the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, sponsored by the World Council of Churches, and the Christian Peacemaker Teams affiliated with the historic peace churches, are going to the West Bank and Gaza and standing in solidarity with Palestinians and Israelis. Others go as observers and report back in the United States and other countries. Non-profit agencies have requested money to develop small businesses and to provide work stipends for the unemployed and food for the hungry. You can also join an advocacy network sponsored by your local church, denomination, CMEP (Churches for Middle East Peace) or other organizations.
Where can I get balanced information if not from the media?
Some of the media give balanced information but much of it is couched in terms that bias the reader’s perceptions of Palestinians and the occupation. For example, Israelis who are killed are reported with names and data about their families. Historically, Palestinians were reported as statistics unless they were well-known persons. Incidents usually are reported out of context and almost always Palestinians are described as instigators when they respond to Israeli actions. Military actions and violent provocations by Israelis are almost always described as retaliations. Few reports show the great disparity in weaponry being used. More frequently now, the media remind people that the Palestinians have been occupied by Israel for over 35 years and are resisting that occupation. Many people are now turning to the Internet and emails from church representatives and agencies in the Middle East for their information.
References used directly in text:
“The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict” third edition, published by Jews for Justice in the Middle East, P.O. Box 14561, Berkeley, California 94712.
Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 by Benny Morris (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999).
“Land for Peace? An Analysis of what went wrong” by Jonathan Kuttab, The Witness, September 2001, Episcopal Church Publishing Co., Tenants Harbor, Maine 04861.
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, by Charles D. Smith, St. Martin’s Press, 1992 and Bedford Press, 1995. (Reprinted 2001)