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Common lands, common ground: The indigenous agenda, Israel, Palestine and breaking the post-Oslo Peace Accords logjam

Common lands, common ground: The indigenous agenda, Israel, Palestine and breaking the post-Oslo Peace Accords logjam

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An out-of-the-box proposal for boxed-in negotiations: Accepting the origins, construction and definition of the national identity of the "Other" as a means to accept and recognize both as nation-states

"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -- Albert Einstein

by Martin Edwin Andersen

Two decades after their leaders signed the Oslo Peace Accords in Washington, new polls show that barely one-third of Palestinians and Israelis now see a badly-needed “two-state” solution as feasible. The seemingly intractable difficulties in coming up with a sustainable framework agreement means that key issues of land, faith, recognition and rights need to be reexamined. A paradigm shift towards a cogent analysis of issues of national identity, self-determination and nationalism is urgently required, accompanied by another, similarly imperative, fundamental change in approach and underlying assumptions in public opinion, the latter also required for the making of lasting peace. To date, a backbench yet debilitating use of the indigenous perspective by both sides in the Palestinian-Israeli debate appears meant to incite anger, rather than to understand the opposing sides’ common concerns, those that could ultimately bring the warring nationalities together. By turning the current acrimonious debate on its head using reality-based indigenous approaches, the prospect of badly needed and currently scarce confidence-building measures— on core issues such as borders, Jerusalem, security and refugees— unfolding in a timely fashion would be greatly advanced.

If presented as part of a more hopeful framework, the indigenous perspective offers a unique examination of concepts such as the “right of return” and the right to live on ancestral lands. It carries with it demands for honest recognition of how, as Brookings scholar Khaled Elgindy has correctly noted, a current lingering reliance on “constructive ambiguity,” has “prolonged—and ultimately doomed—the Oslo process for more than twenty years… producing confusion and eroding trust between the parties.” The common indigenous language necessary to jump-start post-Oslo negotiation is based on ancient perspectives and modern understandings. While seemingly still outside the toolkits of the Washington establishment, it could provide Secretary of State John F. Kerry with what he needs to turn the tide on peace agreement negotiations, eviscerating the feeling that both Israelis and Palestinians now share, that: “Americans could have done more.” …
_________________

This article is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Robert A. Pastor, a prophetic teacher and brave defender of democracy and the human rights of peoples around the world.

© Martin Edwin Andersen, 2014. All rights reserved.
An out-of-the-box proposal for boxed-in negotiations: Accepting the origins, construction and definition of the national identity of the "Other" as a means to accept and recognize both as nation-states

"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -- Albert Einstein

by Martin Edwin Andersen

Two decades after their leaders signed the Oslo Peace Accords in Washington, new polls show that barely one-third of Palestinians and Israelis now see a badly-needed “two-state” solution as feasible. The seemingly intractable difficulties in coming up with a sustainable framework agreement means that key issues of land, faith, recognition and rights need to be reexamined. A paradigm shift towards a cogent analysis of issues of national identity, self-determination and nationalism is urgently required, accompanied by another, similarly imperative, fundamental change in approach and underlying assumptions in public opinion, the latter also required for the making of lasting peace. To date, a backbench yet debilitating use of the indigenous perspective by both sides in the Palestinian-Israeli debate appears meant to incite anger, rather than to understand the opposing sides’ common concerns, those that could ultimately bring the warring nationalities together. By turning the current acrimonious debate on its head using reality-based indigenous approaches, the prospect of badly needed and currently scarce confidence-building measures— on core issues such as borders, Jerusalem, security and refugees— unfolding in a timely fashion would be greatly advanced.

If presented as part of a more hopeful framework, the indigenous perspective offers a unique examination of concepts such as the “right of return” and the right to live on ancestral lands. It carries with it demands for honest recognition of how, as Brookings scholar Khaled Elgindy has correctly noted, a current lingering reliance on “constructive ambiguity,” has “prolonged—and ultimately doomed—the Oslo process for more than twenty years… producing confusion and eroding trust between the parties.” The common indigenous language necessary to jump-start post-Oslo negotiation is based on ancient perspectives and modern understandings. While seemingly still outside the toolkits of the Washington establishment, it could provide Secretary of State John F. Kerry with what he needs to turn the tide on peace agreement negotiations, eviscerating the feeling that both Israelis and Palestinians now share, that: “Americans could have done more.” …
_________________

This article is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Robert A. Pastor, a prophetic teacher and brave defender of democracy and the human rights of peoples around the world.

© Martin Edwin Andersen, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Common lands, common ground: Indigenous rights, Israel, Palestine and breaking the Oslo Peace Accords logjam
 An out-of-the-box proposal for boxed-in negotiations
"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -- Albert Einstein
 by Martin Edwin Andersen
Two decades after their leaders signed the Oslo Peace Accords in Washington, new polls show that barely one-third of Palestinians and Israelis now see a  badly-needed “two-state” soltion as feasible! The see"ingly intractable difficlties in co"ing p with a sstainable fra"ewor# agree"ent "eans that #ey isses of land, faith, recognition and rights need to be ree$a"ined! A  paradig" shift towards a cogent analysis of isses of national identity, self-deter"ination and nationalis" is rgently re%ired, acco"panied by another, si"ilarly i"perati&e, fnda"ental change in approach and nderlying ass"ptions in pblic opinion, the latter also re%ired for the "a#ing of lasting  peace! To date, a bac#bench yet debilitating se of the indigenos perspecti&e  by both sides in the Palestinian-Israeli debate appears "eant to incite anger, rather than to nderstand the opposing sides' co""on concerns, those that cold lti"ately bring the warring nationalities together!
 )y trning the crrent acri"onios debate on its head sing reality-based indigenos approaches, the  prospect of badly needed and crrently scarce confidence-bilding "easres* on core isses sch as borders, +ersale", secrity and refgees* nfolding in a ti"ely fashion wold be greatly ad&anced!If presented as part of a "ore hopefl fra"ewor#, the indigenos perspecti&e offers a ni%e e$a"ination of concepts sch as the “right of retrn” and the right to li&e on ancestral lands! It carries with it de"ands for honest recognition of how, as )roo#ings scholar haled Elgindy has correctly noted,
 a crrent lingering reliance on “constrcti&e a"bigity,” has “prolonged*and lti"ately doo"ed*the Oslo process for "ore than twenty years. prodcing confsion and eroding trst between the parties!” The co""on indigenos langage necessary to /"p-start Oslo is based on ancient perspecti&es and "odern nderstandings! While see"ingly still otside the tool#its of the Washington establish"ent, it cold pro&ide 0ecretary of 0tate +ohn erry with what he needs to trn the tide on peace agree"ent negotiations, e&iscerating the feeling
(
 As so"e well-regarded e$perts point ot, three religios co""nities 12ebrew, Msli", and 3hristian4 li&ed together in &ery sccessfl co-e$istence in the late (5
th
 and &ery early 6
th
 centries in a land called Palestine! I shold also begin this essay by than#ing "y wife, 7r! )arbara )! Andersen8 international elections e$pert +! 9ay ennedy, and se&eral people who prefer to re"ain anony"os for their helpfl co""ents and sggestions for "a#ing this paper both "ore readable and "ore interesting!
 Elgindy, “When A"bigity is 7estrcti&e,”
The airo !evie of #lobal Affairs$
 +anary , 6(: ; http<==www!broo#ings!ed=research=opinions=6(:=6(=-when-a"bigity-is-destrcti&e
 
that both Israelis and Palestinians now share, that< “A"ericans cold ha&e done "ore!”
>
 Key points:
The +ewish and de"ocratic state of Israel is also one of the world's first "odern indigenos states8 Palestinian de"ands center on their own tribal indigeneity! )oth peoples re%ire a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a specific territory, and that their cltral=historical distincti&eness fro" other poplations, inclding the politically do"inant, is recogni?ed!
While %estions of indigeneity are increasingly sed as weapons  by both Israeli and Palestinian antagonists, the i"portant potential contribtion of a real debate on both indigenos peoples in effecti&ely re-acti&ating the stalled two-state option in the 2oly @and is little nderstood and less appreciated!
Thorny isses in&ol&ing peoples' right of retrn to traditional lands and the right to li&e in indigenos nation states can be better appreciated in the conte$t of crrent and historical e$a"ples of other tribe-based identities and their strggles arond the world!
Palestinian distrst of Western “betrayal” does not e$tend to  ati&e peoples of B!0!, 3anada, Astralia, ew Cealand, and 3hile, whose own lessons learned and e$pertise can be e$traordinarily sefl in resscitating the two-state debate!
The potential "ediating role of tribal e$perts fro" the world's oldest de"ocracy offers "yriad “lessons learned!” Dor e$a"ple, Israeli desires for retaining a “+ewish state”*and Palestinian worries abot what that "eans for the"*can be better nderstood by recogni?ing the e$ercise of rights by non-nati&e and other-tribe residents of A"erican Indian reser&ations!
 Resuscitating a two-state option now on life support 
In short, what is lac#ing p to now in the discssions and debates is a clear nderstanding of the "odern rights and needs of indigenos peoples, and how that #nowledge can go a long way in eli"inating what critics rightly dee" the “&acosness” of discssions abot the two-state soltion! To date, both Israeli and Palestinian pblics ha&e been left withot real, practical bilding bloc#s leading to a shared nderstanding what the “near-ni&ersally recogni?ed need for a two-state soltion”
:
 can offer! et done correctly, an indigenos orientation cold allow for the escape*o&er ti"e*of the potential for a two-
>
 +a"es Cogby, “6 ears After Oslo,” Cogby 9esearch 0er&ices, llc, +anary 6(:
:
 
Cogby, op! cit!
 
state soltion fro" the pessi"istic and 3hrchillian-sonding portrayal of being “not the best option,” bt rather the “least worst option!”
F
 Israel as a modern indigenous state; Palestinian dreams of one of their own
It is i"portant to re"e"ber that the +ewish state of Israel is argably the world's first "odern indigenos state
G
 1althogh acade"icians and states"en in contries in 3entral and Eastern Erope "ight reasonably "a#e a si"ilar clai"  based on their own ethno-nationalist e$perience4! As a reslt, not only can the history of Israel's own e"ergence help shape and infor" the fight of other  peoples arond the world for their own recognition and rights!
H
 More to the  point in relation to Israel's lti"ate sr&i&al is the fact that little of the indigenos arg"ent has been consciosly and conspicosly incorporated in a way as to "a#e the two-state soltion not only plasible, bt also wor#able! The facts on the grond clearly delineate Israel's relationship &is-a-&is tribal  peoples elsewhere today! As I noted in "y boo#
 %eoples of the Earth&  Ethnonationalism$ Democracy and the Indigenous hallenge in '(atin)  America
, “The protection of ancestral lands, di"ly nderstood if at all by "odern rban dwellers in the global orth, is nonetheless a powerfl and ec"enical sy"bol for indigenos and traditional peoples arond the world!” As the )ritish historian 2gh 0eton-Watson pointed ot< “Theodor 2er?l and other Cionist leaders ca"e to clearly nderstand that a nation cold not be created fro" langage and religion alone8 a state cold only e"erge when there was an nsha#able bond with a specific territory fro" which it cold be created! .
F
 
)ritish Pri"e Minister Winston 3hrchill is re"e"bered, a"ong other things, for his dict" that “7e"ocracy is the worst for" of go&ern"ent, e$cept for all those other for"s that ha&e been tried fro" ti"e to ti"e” 1fro" a 2ose of 3o""ons speech on o&e"ber ((, (5:H4!
G
 Israeli belonging to the world co""nity of indigenos peoples is flly warranted gi&en their deter"ination to preser&e, de&elop and trans"it to ftre generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, ths ensring their contined e$istence as peoples, in accordance with their own cltral "ores, social instittions and legal syste"! Ad"ittance of Israel in the indigenos co""nity is in #eeping with the criteria set down by anthropologist +osJ 9! MartKne?-3obo, the for"er special rapporter of the 0b-co""ission on Pre&ention of 7iscri"ination and Protection of Minorities for the Bnited ations! In fa&or of the +ewish stateLs "e"bership are the following facts< Its lands were occpied first by the 9o"ans, then by the Arabs8 it shares co""on ancestry with pre&ios occpants8 its +ewish cltre can  be traced directly to the @e&ant, while e&en thogh &arios co""nities ha&e slightly different traditions, they all share the sa"e ni%e root cltre8 its traditional langage, 2ebrew, has been resrrected as its  pri"ary langage8 it has spirital ties to the land, which play an n%estionably i"portant role in their traditions as a people, and archaeological e&idence of the Tabernacle e$ists in the "odern +ewish city of 0hilo! And, finally, e&en the 3anaan dog 12ebrew< NQRRSU VXSXU, ele& naLani, Arabic< YZ[\] ^_], aleb anaLan4, recogni?ed today as Israel's national breed, is referenced in ancient car&ings and drawings!
H
 Bnfortnately, althogh one of the /stly-hailed intellectal capitals arond the globe, Israel has for so"e ti"e failed to "aintain the #ind of pro"inence and recognition in the de&eloping world it en/oyed three or for decades ago! That said, a closer e$a"ination of the wor# of diaspora +ews in the ci&il right "o&e"ent in the Bnited 0tates, in leadership roles against Argentina's infa"os “dirty war,” and with elson Mandela in 0oth Africa, for e$a"ple, can help create a "ore /st en&iron"ent for engage"ent!
 Page 8
 %eoples of the Earth
 contined< “Perhaps ot of si"ilar reasoning, a wo"an who was a "e"ber of the Winnebago tribe too# part in the (5G5 ta#eo&er of Alcatra? Island by B!0! Indians and their sy"pathi?ers that sy"bolically clai"ed the island for indigenos peoples! There she told a /ornalist that she had nsccessflly &olnteered to fight for the Israelis dring
 
the (5GH 0i$-7ay War, pointedly

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kkhazz reviewed this
Rated 5/5
A very thought-provoking perspective on a very complicated topic by Martin Edwin Andersen. The novel approach of comparing the Native American circumstance to the Palestinian question should be considered by the diplomats involved in making policy. Peace is always possible when one side takes the high ground. Finding common ground is where peace begins. This article is a MUST READ for anyone interested in foreign policy, whether this is the topic or not. The same basic premise should apply to any conflict. Congratulations, Martin Edwin Andersen, on creating a place where finding common ground can begin. ~ Kandy Zabka, Cyber Security SME
mmorgan81 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Excellent piece on one of the most complicated issues being worked on by the international community. It seems the idea of peace can be materialized in this region by isolating and amplifying the importance of dual recognition through commincation and dual understanding. Excellent publication with excellent points. Excellent work Mr. Andersen.
Martin Edwin Andersen added this note
"We win justice quickest by rendering justice to the other party." -- Mahatma Gandhi
Martin Edwin Andersen added this note
Wilson Center: "Murder of teenagers has taken Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a new, dark place": http://j.mp/1mStgF9 Alternative? http://goo.gl/XZIKoa
Martin Edwin Andersen added this note
The "Common Lands, Common Ground" team is very pleased to note that another first-rate U.S. intelligence analyst, Steve Yarbrough, has reviewed the essay and finds that it offers "clear, concise, and objective views that allow the readers to have greater depth and understanding on the subject matter."
Martin Edwin Andersen added this note
Reuters: "Israel tells U.S. Kurdish independence is 'foregone conclusion'" ... A wise move by the world's first modern indigenous state, from which official Washington should re-learn ... religion, language and specific territory does a nation state make, helping to contain and defeat extremism.
Martin Edwin Andersen added this note
Referring to "Common Lands, Common Ground," a senior diplomat from the Holy Land stationed in Washington, D.C. noted: "I think that the necessity of speaking about ancestral rights of indigenous peoples and mutual recognition of those rights is important ... Dealing with mutual recognition is important in (and of) itself."
Martin Edwin Andersen added this note
Just in from a former senior U.S. diplomat intimately involved in Holy Land peace talks, a message underscoring the "interesting insight," "novel approach," and "potential help" contained in "Common Lands, Common Ground."
Martin Edwin Andersen added this note
“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” ― Robert F.Kennedy
Martin Edwin Andersen added this note
@McCollMagazine (https://twitter.com/McCollMagazine/st...) ". . holy land perhaps best describes where the Indian people perceive they were created" Common lands, common ground: The indigenous agenda, Israel, Palestine and breaking the post-Oslo Peace Accords logjam

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