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The Road to a Palestinian State
Last uploaded : Sunday 30th Oct 2005 at 12:25
Contributed by : Rami Assali



History repeats itself and people should learn from it. A nation that thinks it is smarter than preceding nations is simply wrong. Why should it be necessary for us to learn from our own mistakes when it is possible to learn from the mistakes that have already been made by others; must we suffer and lose loved ones before we realize that we are wrong? A wise nation is a nation that learns from other nations? mistakes.

Today the Palestinians are at an intersection and have to choose the kind of future they want. But before I get into that, I would like to tell a story of a man with a dream, a dream that united a nation with all its tribes and sects: Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews?.He chose a peaceful and nonviolent path that not only led his people to freedom, but also built the foundation for the world?s largest democracy. What made his struggle unique is that most of his people took part in it, whether they were men, women, youth, elders?.Everyone shared the responsibility for getting rid of the occupation and building the country.

On the other hand, a nation that had all the components of unity took the other path and decided that an armed struggle was the only way to achieve freedom. Yes, they got their freedom at the end, but only a few people took part in that struggle. Those same people who chose the armed struggle used the same techniques against their own people. Instead of building their country they turned against each other and fought for power. They even imposed their ideologies by force, with the destruction of their people and the country as the outcome. It was to be expected, because they believed that violence was the solution to everything. But violence only leads to destruction, even if it starts for a good cause; in the end, the magic will turn on the wizard.

Times have changed, or to be more accurate, the rules of the game have changed, and the time of the armed struggle has gone; now it is time for negotiations. The Palestinians must realize this before it is too late.

Nonviolent resistance is not only about getting rid of the occupation, but building a state on ethics and morals, setting a strong foundation for a prosperous democracy. Non-violent resistance not only leads us to freedom, but also prepares us for the day after the liberation.

The Israelis have realized that it?s time to leave Gaza, and by doing so they have put the Palestinians to the real challenge. The Palestinians know how to deal with the occupation, but do they really know how to deal with each other?

Now it is time for unity, time for the silent majority that supports peace and prosperity to make a move to take a real stand, otherwise the dream of freedom will be destroyed by the active radical minority. As the Israeli people have decided that the radicals won?t dictate the future of Israel, the Palestinian people shouldn?t let the radicals destroy the future for a Palestinian state, either.

The moment the Palestinian people elected a president that supports peace was the same moment for everybody to put their arms down and sit at the negotiating table.

The moment of truth has come and the Palestinian silent majority must take a stand before it is too late. We find various reasons on which to blame our failures and one of them is the occupation. Now the case is different because we have nobody to blame but ourselves. This time the loss is not only in international support or support from Arab countries, but the just cause we have always lived for. We must not simply become warlords fighting for power. It only takes one man to start a war and a whole nation to build peace. The Palestinians as a nation must choose the right path and decide what kind of future they want. It?s about time the radicals stop controlling our lives and future. We are a nation that loves life and this is what we will choose.

Rami Assali, a Palestinian Jerusalemite, works for Search for Common Ground in the Middle East and the Academy for Educational Development.

Visit the Common Ground News Service Online: http://www.commongroundnews.org

Distributed by the Common Ground News Service.

Copyright permission is granted for publication.


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