A Zionist among Palestinians

A Zionist among Palestinians

A Zionist among Palestinians

A Zionist among Palestinians

Synopsis

A Zionist among Palestinians offers the perspective of an ordinary Israeli citizen who became concerned about the Israeli military's treatment of Palestinians and was moved to work for peace. Hillel Bardin, a confirmed Zionist, was a reservist in the Israeli army during the first intifada when he met Palestinians arrested by his unit. He learned that they supported peace with Israel and the then-taboo proposal for a two-state solution, and that they understood the intifada as a struggle to achieve these goals. Bardin began to organize dialogues between Arabs and Israelis in West Bank villages, towns, and refugee camps. In 1988, he was jailed for meeting with Palestinians while on active duty in Ramallah. Over the next two decades, he participated in a variety of peace organizations and actions, from arranging for Israelis to visit Palestinian communities and homes, to the joint jogging group "Runners for Peace," to marches, political organizing, and demonstrations supporting peace, security, and freedom. In this very personal account, Bardin tries to come to grips with the conflict in a way that takes account of both Israeli-Zionist and Palestinian aims.

Excerpt

The timing of this publication is particularly important. the wave of nonviolent struggle in the Middle East and northern Africa for democracy, human rights, and dignity has already resulted in regime change in a few countries. While authoring these lines, we have been deeply interested in the possibility that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza might join in the struggle. If that happens, what will be the reaction of Israeli Jews? Will they work across the divide with Arabs who share such values? the personal story of Hillel, whom we know from the days of the First Intifada, is not only a testimony, but also a source of inspiration for both our societies. At the same time, the human dimension of the experiences he describes should move not only those in the Arab and Jewish diasporas, but all others keen to understand the obstacles and potential impact of nonviolent struggle in one of the world’s most protracted and aggressive conflicts.

For the sake of transparency, we should mention that this foreword has been written by a Palestinian and an Israeli, both of whom have been involved in furthering the nonviolent struggle to end Israeli occupation and search for a just peace. Since the First Intifada, we have spent a considerable part of our lives in advancing this strategy: Mubarak worldwide, as chair of Nonviolence International and as a teacher; and Edy in academic scholarship, applying the results of his research through activism in human rights organizations and by facilitating conflict transformation workshops. We both befriended Hillel and were participants in some of the stories covered in this book.

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