Dear colleagues in Jewish-Palestinian dialogue,
The "public peace process" is about changing human relationships and, finally, seeing one another beyond stereotypes as human and equal. So we can begin to want the best for each other.
The government peace process is equally important.
The two, parallel tracks to our common future are interdependent and one, as are we Palestinians and Jews.
Participants in these two tracks -- government officials and citizens -- need good knowledge about each other. Often that kind of information is not well-communicated back and forth. Commonly it lacks accuracy, depth, and balance.
Recent Middle East peace talks are a good example. Traditional "news" was mostly about unilateral blame that fanned the flames of violence.
Then Thursday, July 26, 2001, on the front page of the New York Times was Deborah Sontag's remarkable report: "Quest for Mideast Peace: How and Why It Failed." You can easily register free of charge then read the article at the Times' Web site:
This is a return to excellence and depth in Middle East investigative reporting. It demystifies the widely-embraced, misleading story that Barak offered everything to Arafat, who turned it down and pushed a button that ordered violence, and who therefore bares sole blame. And it reminds us that Barak indeed hoped for something good and broke old Israeli taboos in its pursuit.
Sontag illustrates how, by deeply listening to all sides, we discover shared responsibility by Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans to build our common future. At the same time she has uncovered hope in the previously-unpublicized, authentic progress that the hard-working diplomats had made together.
The more whole view that Sontag discovered reminds us that a red flag should go up whenever we see unilateral blame or news from limited sources, without seeking to hear all narratives.
These hard times call us Jews and Palestinians to listen to more than "our" experts on "them," and with open minds to vigorously pursue information from many people and places.
We hope this information helps. -- L&L