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” soltion as feasible! The see"ingly intractable
difficlties in co"ing p with a sstainable fra"ewor# agree"ent "eans that
#ey isses of land, faith, recognition and rights need to be ree$a"ined! A
paradig" shift towards a cogent analysis of isses of national identity, self-
deter"ination and nationalis" is rgently re%ired, acco"panied by another,
si"ilarly i"perati&e, fnda"ental change in approach and nderlying
ass"ptions in pblic opinion, the latter also re%ired for the "a#ing of lasting
peace! To date, a bac#bench yet debilitating se of the indigenos perspecti&e
by both sides in the Palestinian-Israeli debate appears "eant to incite anger,
rather than to nderstand the opposing sides' co""on concerns, those that
cold lti"ately bring the warring nationalities together!
)y trning the crrent
acri"onios debate on its head sing reality-based indigenos approaches, the
prospect of badly needed and crrently scarce confidence-bilding "easres*
on core isses sch as borders, +ersale", secrity and refgees* nfolding in
a ti"ely fashion wold be greatly ad&anced!
If presented as part of a "ore hopefl fra"ewor#, the indigenos perspecti&e
offers a ni%e e$a"ination of concepts sch as the “right of retrn” 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 crrent
lingering reliance on “constrcti&e a"bigity,” has “prolonged*and lti"ately
doo"ed*the Oslo process for "ore than twenty years. prodcing confsion
and eroding trst between the parties!” The co""on indigenos langage
necessary to /"p-start Oslo is based on ancient perspecti&es and "odern
nderstandings! While see"ingly still otside the tool#its of the Washington
establish"ent, it cold pro&ide 0ecretary of 0tate +ohn ,erry with what he
needs to trn the tide on peace agree"ent negotiations, e&iscerating the feeling
As so"e well-regarded e$perts point ot, three religios co""nities 12ebrew, Msli", and 3hristian4
li&ed together in &ery sccessfl co-e$istence in the late (5
and &ery early -6
centries in a land called
Palestine! I shold also begin this essay by than#ing "y wife, 7r! )arbara )! Andersen8 international
elections e$pert +! 9ay ,ennedy, and se&eral people who prefer to re"ain anony"os for their helpfl
co""ents and sggestions for "a#ing this paper both "ore readable and "ore interesting!
Elgindy, “When A"bigity is 7estrcti&e,” The airo !evie" of #lobal Affairs$ +anary --, -6(: ;
that both Israelis and Palestinians now share, that< “A"ericans cold ha&e done
Key points:
• The +ewish and de"ocratic state of Israel is also one of the
world's first "odern indigenos 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 cltral=historical distincti&eness fro"
other poplations, inclding the politically do"inant, is
• While %estions of indigeneity are increasingly sed as weapons
by both Israeli and Palestinian antagonists, the i"portant potential
contribtion of a real debate on both indigenos peoples in
effecti&ely re-acti&ating the stalled two-state option in the 2oly
@and is little nderstood and less appreciated!
• Thorny isses in&ol&ing peoples' right of retrn to traditional
lands and the right to li&e in indigenos nation states can be better
appreciated in the conte$t of crrent and historical e$a"ples of
other tribe-based identities and their strggles arond the world!
• Palestinian distrst of Western “betrayal” does not e$tend to
Aati&e peoples of B!0!, 3anada, Astralia, Aew Cealand, and
3hile, whose own lessons learned and e$pertise can be
e$traordinarily sefl in resscitating the two-state debate!
• The potential "ediating role of tribal e$perts fro" the world's
oldest de"ocracy offers "yriad “lessons learned!” Dor e$a"ple,
Israeli desires for retaining a “+ewish state”*and Palestinian
worries abot what that "eans for the"*can be better
nderstood by recogni?ing the e$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 discssions and debates is a clear
nderstanding of the "odern rights and needs of indigenos peoples, and how
that #nowledge can go a long way in eli"inating what critics rightly dee" the
“&acosness” of discssions abot the two-state soltion! To date, both Israeli
and Palestinian pblics ha&e been left withot real, practical bilding bloc#s
leading to a shared nderstanding what the “near-ni&ersally recogni?ed need
for a two-state soltion”
can offer! Eet done correctly, an indigenos
orientation cold allow for the escape*o&er ti"e*of the potential for a two-
+a"es Cogby, “-6 Eears After Oslo,” Cogby 9esearch 0er&ices, llc, +anary -6(:
Cogby, op! cit!
state soltion fro" the pessi"istic and 3hrchillian-sonding portrayal of being
“not the best option,” bt rather the “least worst option!”
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 argably the
world's first "odern indigenos state
1althogh acade"icians and states"en in
contries in 3entral and Eastern Erope "ight reasonably "a#e a si"ilar clai"
based on their own ethno-nationalist e$perience4! As a reslt, not only can the
history of Israel's own e"ergence help shape and infor" the fight of other
peoples arond the world for their own recognition and rights!
More to the
point in relation to Israel's lti"ate sr&i&al is the fact that little of the
indigenos arg"ent has been consciosly and conspicosly incorporated in a
way as to "a#e the two-state soltion not only plasible, bt also wor#able!
The facts on the grond clearly delineate Israel's relationship &is-a-&is tribal
peoples elsewhere today! As I noted in "y boo# %eoples of the Earth&
Ethnonationalism$ 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 Aorth, is nonetheless a powerfl and
ec"enical sy"bol for indigenos and traditional peoples arond the world!”
As the )ritish historian 2gh 0eton-Watson pointed ot< “Theodor 2er?l and
other Cionist leaders ca"e to clearly nderstand that a nation cold not be
created fro" langage and religion alone8 a state cold only e"erge when there
was an nsha#able bond with a specific territory fro" which it cold be created!
)ritish Pri"e Minister Winston 3hrchill is re"e"bered, a"ong other things, for his dict" that
“7e"ocracy is the worst for" of go&ern"ent, e$cept for all those other for"s that ha&e been tried fro"
ti"e to ti"e” 1fro" a 2ose of 3o""ons speech on Ao&e"ber ((, (5:H4!
Israeli belonging to the world co""nity of indigenos peoples is flly warranted gi&en their
deter"ination to preser&e, de&elop and trans"it to ftre generations their ancestral territories, and their
ethnic identity, ths ensring their contined e$istence as peoples, in accordance with their own cltral
"ores, social instittions and legal syste"! Ad"ittance of Israel in the indigenos co""nity is in #eeping
with the criteria set down by anthropologist +osJ 9! MartKne?-3obo, the for"er special rapporter of the
0b-co""ission on Pre&ention of 7iscri"ination and Protection of Minorities for the Bnited Aations! In
fa&or of the +ewish stateLs "e"bership are the following facts< Its lands were occpied first by the
9o"ans, then by the Arabs8 it shares co""on ancestry with pre&ios occpants8 its M+ewish cltreM can
be traced directly to the @e&ant, while e&en thogh &arios co""nities ha&e slightly different traditions,
they all share the sa"e ni%e root cltre8 its traditional langage, 2ebrew, has been resrrected as its
pri"ary langage8 it has spirital 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< NOPQR ORSTU VWXSXU, ,ele& ,naLani, Arabic< YZ[\] ^_], ,aleb
,anaLan4, recogni?ed today as Israel's national breed, is referenced in ancient car&ings and drawings!
Bnfortnately, althogh one of the /stly-hailed intellectal capitals arond 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
for decades ago! That said, a closer e$a"ination of the wor# of diaspora +ews in the ci&il right "o&e"ent
in the Bnited 0tates, in leadership roles against Argentina's infa"os “dirty war,” and with Aelson
Mandela in 0oth Africa, for e$a"ple, can help create a "ore /st en&iron"ent for engage"ent!
Page I-8 %eoples of the Earth contined< “Perhaps ot 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 indigenos peoples! There she told a /ornalist that
she had nsccessflly &olnteered to fight for the Israelis dring the (5GH 0i$-7ay War, pointedly
Another e$a"ple of this search for self identity*whose ni%eness helps
ratify de *os)s dictum that "hat is believed$ not "hat ob+ectively "as$ becomes
the operative principle in the reconstruction of identity*is the case of the H66
Indians fro" Per and )ra?il! The grop's ancestors inclded a handfl of
Moroccan +ewish trades"an i"ported "ore than a centry and a half ago to
wor# in the A"a?on rbber indstry!
The +ewish "erchants had no wi&es, and ended p "arrying local Indian
wo"en! In -66F, hndreds of these Indian descendants i""igrated to Israel
after reconnecting with +dais" and their +ewish heritage, which “p ntil
twenty years ago . was nothing "ore than a distant "e"ory . li&ing throgh
a handfl of religios csto"s practiced by a few of the fa"ilies li&ing in the
A"a?on!” As one athor noted, the ,e"ish immigrants of Indian descent
-prove nothing trumps the need to connect "ith one)s heritage.. The Indians
who identified the"sel&es as +ewish %alified to e"igrate to Israel nder the
state's @aw of 9etrn `FH(6-(5F6a, which gi&es +ews, those of +ewish ancestry,
and their sposes the right to "igrate to and settle in Israel and to gain
citi?enship! 1Italics added4
The nsha#able bond allded to by 0eton-Watson it shold be noted is shared
by others who had a si"ilarly indisptable tie with the sa"e specific territory!
As far as the Palestinian e$perience goes, Tho"as @! Dried"an, in his /rom
0eirut to ,erusalem$ !evised Edition$ pro&ided the perhaps the best synopsis of
the tribal i"perati&e for the still-stateless people when he wrote of the
contining legacy of Easser Arafat<
@ong before Arafat ca"e on the scene, there was a clearly defined Palestinian
nation, bt it was a nation to who" history had said no! . As Arafat himself
li1ed to say$ the %alestinians "ere being treated li1e -the American !ed
Indians$. confined on their reservations*shafted by the Arabs, defeated by
the +ews and forgotten by the world! Arafat broght this people bac# fro" the
dead . and transfor"ed the" in the eyes of the world fro" refgees in need
of tents to a nation in need of so&ereignty! 1Italics added4
Dar fro" di&iding Palestinians and Israelis, addressing their co""on concerns
as indigenos peoples pro&ides one of the few bridges to greater "tal
nderstanding and e&entally reconciliation! 3learly both Israelis and
Palestinians share a history in which both are &icti"s and both ha&e held fast for
a less dangeros place in the world for their people! This co""on perspecti&e is
based on an e"erging e$periential alphabet shared by B!0! Indians and other
nati&e peoples, fll-bore attention to which cold help brea# the Oslo log/a" by
pro&iding #ey topics for confidence bilding<
7ispossession, colonization, tribal identity, land and belonging, retrn of an
irreco&erable past, collective trauma, passion for land, ethno-nationalism,
declaring< bI care abot Cionis", becase those people want a ho"eland, too!'”
Page H6!
displace"ent and e$ile, diaspora, the relationship between self-
conceptali?ation and co""nity, reclamation of spiritual holeness,
national identity, spiritual co-e!istence
The indigenos perspecti&e can foster, nite and sanctify the dispirited apostles
for peace in both Israel and in Palestine, inclding those of respecti&e diasporas
cla"oring for nderstanding and participation! It offers the possibility of
shedding the "ista#en idea that only &age and prposely politici?ed concepts
*the conte"porary &ersion of the ,issingerian “constrcti&e a"bigity”*can
#eep both sides fro" see#ing to grab the other's throat! It pts on the table
essential isses of land, faith and langages and what these "ean in practice on
the grond, in order to nrtre policy trees with real oli&e branches!
Common lands, common ground
The pacity of other approaches that are offered for consideration by A"erican
and other foreign policy "a&ens reflects either entrenched interests or a
"isrepresentation of the history of “The Other” in the Israeli-Palestinian
strggle! An e$a"ple of this is the call by so"e for the creation of a “trth and
reconciliation co""ission” as a way of pro"oting essential confidence bilding
a"ong the necessary constitencies of a two-state soltion*an idea recently
floated by a panelist at an otherwise enlightening Aew A"erica Dondation
e&ent in Washington, 7!3!< “Peace for Israel and Palestinec”

In fact, setting p sch a co""ission wold in the foreseeable ftre "ost
li#ely seriosly bac#fire*adding da"aging heat to a crcially necessary
dialoge that polling by the Cogby 9esearch 0er&ices shows both Israeli and
Palestinian pblics belie&e offers few signs of light on the hori?on! 3ontined
ad&ocacy in so"e corners in Washington of “constrcti&e a"bigity” in the
Israeli-Palestinian dialoge nderscores the yawning pitfalls in the “trth
co""ission” arg"ent!

Add to that the fact that neither side has sffered a
#noc#-ot "ilitary and=or pblic relations defeat and that otside constitencies,
inclding in the diaspora bt also beyond, still hold a loc# on what can nder
present circ"stances actally be addressed!
The e&ent was held +anary >(, -6(:!
The Cogby report was offered at the Aew A"erica Dondation e&ent! The "other of all trth and
reconciliation efforts was the Argentine “Aational 3o""ission on 7isappeared Persons” 13OAA7EP4!
Also #nown as the 0abato 3o""ission in honor of its chair"an, the leading @atin A"erican no&elist
Ernesto 0abato, it e"erged nder radically different conditions than those shared by Israelis and
Palestinians, and whose "any benefits at that ti"e are therefore nli#ely to be reprodced in the Middle
East of today! 3OAA7EP wold only co"e after the sha"efl "ilitary defeat 1in the Dal#land=Mal&inas
war4 of the osted ar"ed forces dictatorship whose "e"bers it was in&estigating! 3OAA7EP therefore
en/oyed broad "a/ority bac#ing of the type hard to discern in crrent polling of Israeli and Palestinian
attitdes toward the peace process! 3OAA7EP's chief ally was an Argentine h"an rights "o&e"ent of
great international and national prestige and credibility for its bra&e history of peaceflly co"batting that
dictatorship*responsible for the disappearance, tortre and clandestine death of at least -6,666 people!
7espite the fact 3OAA7EP spporters were the clear &ictors against a "ilitary defeated on a real
battlefield against a foreign foe, as well as in the cort of pblic opinion, it lac#ed sbpoena powers and
the ability to co"pel testi"ony! Any and all e&idence of nlawfl beha&ior it disco&ered cold only be
pro&ided to rele&ant ci&ilian corts 1to be sre itself re&oltionary in the @atin A"erican conte$t4, as it had
In contrast, the se of the indigenos perspecti&e as a way of "o&ing forward
offers a &ene of co""on nderstanding for opposing sides that share*albeit
fro" antagonistic perspecti&es*legiti"ate clai"s to the earth, and who are
flan#ed by belligerent and aggressi&e co"rades-in-ar"s willing to go to the "at
to pre&ail! A conte"porary nderstanding of the nearly centry-old Wilsonian
perspecti&e regarding ethno-nationalis" is essential to beat bac# clai"s of
ethnic speriority and its e&il twin*fanaticis"*by offering real and protected
inclsion into the fa"ily of nations, one tribe at a ti"e!
Critical support for the Kerry Initiative
To be &ictorios in the Middle Eastern arena, the ,erry 0tate 7epart"ent needs
to pro"ote a far better nderstanding abot the rights of, and the fight for,
indigenos peoples arond the world and the protection of their land and
resorces! In this regard, “The Other” narrati&es e"anating fro" the lessons
learned of B!0! Indians and "any non-Aorth A"erican indigenos peoples can
help fashion a fnctional road"ap leading to the two-state soltion being
&iewed again as not only desirable, bt also feasible! The lac# of B0 leadership
in this regard has left a no$ios &ac" shared by those whose &iews can only
i"peril the peace processes*and global secrity!
7espite his ndeniable thogh contro&ersial role in that process, it is clear that
Arafat's wholly negati&e and often cited co"parison of the Palestinians with
“the A"erican 9ed Indians” was based on an ot-dated nderstanding arri&ed at
before a still "ch-o&erloo#ed fact 1inclding in the Bnited 0tates4< That it was
disgraced President 9ichard M! Ai$on who actally ser&ed as “the "odern day
bAbraha" @incoln' of Indian people,”
inagrating an enlightened self-
deter"ination policy for Aati&e A"erican tribes! 1“Dro" the ti"e of their first
contact with Eropean settlers, the A"erican Indians ha&e been oppressed and
brtali?ed, depri&ed of their ancestral lands and denied the opportnity to
control their own destiny,” President Ai$on wrote to 3ongress on +ly I, (5H6!
“E&en the Dederal progra"s which are intended to "eet their needs ha&e pro&en
to be ineffecti&e and de"eaning”*a charge echoed by Palestinians against
Israel today!4
A trial promise
0ince that ti"e, the e$perience of B!0! Indian tribes*recogni?ed as “do"estic
dependent nations” since the contry's beginning*offers dyna"ic e$a"ples of
no prosectorial powers either! 0ee, for e$a"ple, Dabian )osoer and Dederico Dinchelstein, “Argentina's
trth co""ission at >6,” Al+a2eera America$ +anary (5, -6(:, and 3hapter (, “The 0ad Pri&ilege of being
Argentine,” in Dossier 3ecreto: Argentina)s Desaparecidos and the 4yth of the -Dirty 5ar. ;
7ina dilio-Whita#er, “9ichard Ai$on's inflence on A"erican Indian Affairs,” 6ative
American 7istory ; http<==nati&ea"ericanhistory!abot!co"=od=Policies=a=9ichard-Ai$on-0-Inflence-On-
how A"erican Indians*with centries of differences, csto"s and langage to
o&erco"e*are "ore nited and sccessfl than any ti"e after the brtal
3on%est! Ths, B!0! tribes are the"sel&es a wellspring of #nowledge ranging
fro" de"ocracy and secrity isses, to en&iron"ental protection, the protection
of cltral patri"ony, and the e$tension of free-"ar#et ideas within the conte$t
of collecti&e land ownership! 0pecifically, the A"erican Indian e$perience
offers critical e$a"ples of how resilient Aati&e peoples<
• 9etrned as fll citi?ens fro" a ti"e of near ethnic genocide
• 0ccessflly de"anded recognition of long-standing treaty rights both
nationally and internationally
• Pressed for the repatriation of cltral artifacts and sacred land retrn as a
way of fighting against their own spirital e$ile that reslted fro" a
profond disconnection with their peoples' past
• Blti"ately sed the tools "eant to repress the" by a &ictorios non-
indigenos "ilitary for their own benefit
• E"ploy free-"ar#et capitalis" and edcation on their own ter"s, retaining
their respect for the land and traditional life
• Offer stnning sccessfl e$a"ples of the i"portance of traditional &enes
in the fra"ewor# of the rle of law
• @abored with B!0! Aobel peace pri?e winner and President +i""y 3arter
to ensre passage of the Indian 9eligios Dreedo" Act
• 5or1ed to reconcile long-standing land disputes existing bet"een tribes
The possibility that e$periences and lessons learned sch as these are li#ely to
ha&e special &ale for efforts to re-start the two-state negotiations throgh
confidence bilding is self-e&ident! )y reaching ot to #ey non-ideological
acade"ics and practitioners in Indian 3ontry, and finding their peers in other
nations, the ,erry 0tate 7epart"ent cold pt what AndrJ Malra$ called “a
scar on the "ap,” as Israelis and Palestinians ali#e desperately see# ways to
breathe life into the Oslo process! It cold also begin to refocs pblic
discssion to what those contending peoples share, the necessary antidote to a
tattered “constrcti&e a"bigity” that leads to nowhere!
In societies where !ustice through pulic institutions is denied, groups see"ing
resolution of their grievances are more li"ely to resort to violence#
In an age when policy"a#ers focs on the need to drain “swa"ps” of neglect
and despair arond the globe considered potential breeding gronds for
0ee, for e$a"ple, 7onald Di$ico, Indian !esilience and !ebuilding: Indigenous 6ations in the 4odern
American 5est$ Bni&ersity of Ari?ona Press, -6(>8 Martin Edwin Andersen, MAati&e A"erican Policing<
The E$perience of B!0! TribesM A report prepared for the International 3ri"inal In&estigati&e Training
Assistance Progra" 1I3ITAP4 of the B!0! 7epart"ent of +stice, March H, (55F ; http<==goo!gl=")wccM
terrorists, that disaffection and radicali?ation can be contained, at least in part,
in the words of an Indian rights lawyer “by offering the poorest and "ost
neglected people access to legal syste"s that recogni?e their h"an rights nder
the rle of law!”

Dor that reason, contribtions by tribal leaders sch as
9ay"ond 7! Astin are essential! Astin ser&ed for (G years as a /stice on the
Aa&a/o Aation 0pre"e 3ort, the world's largest tribal /stice syste"! In his
-665 boo#, 6ava+o ourts and 6ava+o ommon (a"$ A Tradition of Tribal
3elf-#overnance$ Astin noted the leading role played by his tribe in a global
legal re&oltion in fa&or of indigenos peoples! The Aa&a/o are in ths in a
ni%e position to help the indigenos peoples of the +ewish state of Israel and
the Msli"s of Palestine as they see# to protect their access to land, cltres
and spirital traditions!
Part of the process of potentially har&esting the frits of effecti&e so&ereignty
for Israelis and Palestinians is a greater nderstanding of the role played by the
B!0! 7epart"ent of 7efense in the protection of cltral properties both at
ho"e and abroad 1the latter in cooperation with the 0tate 7epart"ent4! Dor "ore
than a decade, proacti&e cltral resorce stewardship has been an increasing
part of the "ission of B!0! ar"ed forces! This “period of openness and
consltation”*lessons learned*with A"erican Indians, Aati&e Alas#ans and
Aati&e 2awaiians is the reslt of "any years of being engaged in tal#s o&er the
identification and protection of those places where nati&e peoples ha&e li&ed
crrently held by the ar"ed forces!
7o7's own potential contribtions in resscitating the Oslo Accords can be
seen in the wor# of the late Aati&e A"erican athor eine 7eloria, +r!, and
anthropologist 9ichard 0toffle! They noted< “Aati&e A"ericans, both as citi?ens
and "e"bers of dependent nations within the Bnited 0tates and as original
occpants of lands that are crrently held by the 7o7, ha&e a special cltral
relationship with these "ilitary lands! Traditional, aboriginal, and historical
cltral ties to places, ob/ects, and acti&ities are the fondation of this special
relationship!” In an e$planation of the &iews of B!0! tribes that is also of
significance for indigenos peoples in other areas of the world, 7eloria and
0toffle added<
Aati&e A"ericans are attached to the land in so"e ways that others can easily
nderstand, bt also in other ways that are al"ost i"possible to e$plain! The
3hristian-Isla"ic-2ebrew concept called holy land perhaps best describes
where the Indian people percei&e they were created! 2ere in their holy lands
Astin, 6ava+o ourts and 6ava+o ommon (a"$ A Tradition of Tribal 3elf-#overnance, Bni&ersity of
Minnesota, -6658 Martin Edwin Andersen, “Than#fl for renewed rights8 Aati&e Aicaragans needed
protection,” The 5ashington Times, Ao&e"ber --, -66(8 +st one e$a"ple of #ey possible lessons learned
co"ing fro" B!0! tribes is that fond in ultural 3urvival, M2opi Dight for 0r&i&al and Peace in the ne$t
Millenni"M 10pring -6664, ;http<==goo!gl=&2AOT# !!! M7ring the early 56Ls, President Cah of the
Aa&a/o Aation ca"e before the 2opi Tribal 3oncil specifically to as# the 2opi to find so"e way for the
Aa&a/o elderly to re"ain on 2opi Partitioned @ands! In an effort to sstain peace between the two tribes
and to bring an end to this longstanding conflict, the 2opi responded to the Aa&a/o re%est! After "onths
of deliberation, the 2opi Tribe entered into settle"ent discssions with the 2P@ Aa&a/o fa"ilies to arri&e
at a soltion where Aa&a/o fa"ilies who wished to re"ain on 2opi land cold do so!M
are origin "ontains where the spernatral created the" and ga&e the"
responsibilities for sing and protecting the land! 2ere also are places of great
religios significance to all Aati&e ethnic grop "e"bers8 places best
described by the 3hristian-Isla"ic-2ebrew ter" sacred site!
The proble" of getting so"e of the right people in place to ta#e part in a
"eaningfl post-Oslo dialoge is already in part ta#en care of, as the B!0!
3entral 3o""and 1already in the lead a"ong A"erican "ilitary theater
co""ands4 has gi&en special responsibility to its 2istorical=3ltral Ad&isory
drop for de&ising actions to "itigate cltral property da"age, inclding
archaeological and cltral resorce "apping! In -665, the B!0! ratified the FF-
year-old 2age 3on&ention for the Protection of 3ltral Property in the E&ent
of Ar"ed 3onflict! The Ar"y Dield Manal on 0tability Operations incldes
a"ong “essential stability tas#s” the re%ire"ent to “protect and secre places
of religios worship and cltral sites,” and to “protect and secre strategically
i"portant instittions 1sch as go&ern"ent bildings8 "edical and pblic health
infrastrctre8 . "se"s8 and religios sites!4” 0ection :6- of the Aational
2istoric Preser&ation Act indicates that the Bnited 0tates is responsible for
cltral resorces stewardship, by go&ern"ent representati&es as well as
contractors, e&erywhere the B!0! is in a position of co""and responsibility!
Drther"ore, B0-trained foreign stdents fro" contries facing contentios
isses of indigenos rights are sing concepts learned fro" laws sch as the
B!0! Aati&e A"erican dra&es Protection and 9epatriation Act 1AAdP9A4 to
confront sitations of potential conflict at ho"e!

$nhealthy politici%ation of a common indigenous agenda: A &-way dead end
Increasingly, the still-yawning international &ac" on the rights of indigenos
peoples has redonded negati&ely on Middle East de&elop"ent and secrity
policies, with the fight between Israelis and Palestinians %ic#ly growing into a
&erbal trench warfare re"iniscent in style to the tragedy of World War I!
Dollowing the A"erican 0tdies Association's decision last year to boycott
Israeli ni&ersities in protest against what one spporter called “Israel's regi"e
of occpation, settler colonialis", and apartheid against the Palestinian people,”
the Aati&e A"erican and Indigenos 0tdies Association 1AAI0A4
nani"osly declared< “We strongly protest the illegal occpation of Palestinian
lands and the legal strctres of the Israeli state that syste"atically discri"inate
against Palestinians and other Indigenos peoples!”
There was no "ention by AAI0A of Israel as being itself a "odern indigenos
state, or the rights of its people 1whose tribal identification is essential to its
7eloria and 0toffle, “Aati&e A"erican 0acred 0ites and the 7epart"ent of 7efense,” A 9eport
0ponsored by the @egacy 9esorce Manage"ent Progra", Bnited 0tates Aational Par# 0er&ice and
sb"itted to the B!0! 7epart"ent of 7efense, +ne (55I, 3hapter One< “Introdction!”
Inter&iew with 3ol! Michael D! Welch, B0AD, eice 7irector, 0b-secretariat for Ad"inistration and
3onference 0pport=Military and 7efense Ad&isor, Inter-A"erican 7efense )oard, Organi?ation of
A"erican 0tates!
being4 to retain ancestral lands and protect its own nation state!
As +onathan 0!
Tobin correctly noted in ommentary 4aga2ine<
+ews are not foreigners in Israel as Eropeans were in Africa! They happen to
be the indigenos people of their ancient ho"eland and efforts to deny this
isn't scholarship! Cionis" is the national liberation "o&e"ent of the +ewish
people and those who wold deny the" the sa"e rights accorded other peoples
are practicing bias, not scholarship!
And on the pro-Israel side, the indigenos peoples' %estion and the rights of
Palestinians are si"ilarly largely sed as pblic relations=propaganda tools,
rather than a bec#oning to co""on grond! Dor e$a"ple, last year The ,e"ish
%ress ran a blog story, “7ebn#ing the bPalestinians as Aati&e A"ericans'
Myth*In one anti-Israel protest otside of Aabls, Palestinians e&en dressed p
li#e Aati&e A"ericans in order to "a#e a political point!” While the story
correctly conclded that “Muslims were never the sole inhabitants of the land
like the Native Americans were in the United States,” it also charged that “the
trth of the "atter is that the +ewish people are the closest thing to an
indigenos people within the 2oly @and, while the Palestinian Arabs' ancestors
sprng ot fro" centers of e"pire!”
A pro"ising article in Israel 6ational
6e"s$ that began with the headline, “Israel< The World's Dirst Modern
Indigenos 0tate,” was written by 9yan )ellerose, a MJtis fro" the Paddle
Prairie Metis settle"ent in Aorthern Alberta, 3anada, and a declared Cionist.
Bnfortnately )ellerose, too, willingly waded into the swa"p of anti-two state
rhetoric, declaring, “Those who are arging for Palestinian bindigenos rights'
are sally those who ha&e little grasp of the history, and no nderstanding of
the trth behind indigenos rights!”

A co"prehensi&e and realistic alternati&e to contining an e&er-"ore dangeros
"ilitaristic soltion is needed! The Israeli botto" line is the protection of its
ho"eland8 that of the Palestinians, the right to a nation state that pro&ides for
freedo" and /stice on ancestral soil! In order for both to feel that a two-state
soltion is feasible each needs to enconter a co""on platfor" of thoght and
belief that replaces “constrcti&e a"bigity” and accsatory political flatlence!
Matthew ,al"an, “Palestinians 7i&ided O&er )oycott of Israeli Bni&ersities,” The 6e" 8or1 Times$
+anary (5, -6(:8 “Aati&e A"erican 0tdies drop +oins Israel )oycott,” Inside 7igher Ed$ 7ece"ber (I,
-6(>8 7eclaration of 0pport for the )oycott of Israeli Acade"ic Instittions, 7ecenber (F, -6(>, ;
Tobin, “Indigenosc Aati&e A"erican 0tdies and )ig @ies Abot Israel,” ommentary 4aga2ine$
7ece"ber (I, -6(>!
9achel A&raha", The ,e"ish %ress$ April -5, -6(>! Perhaps "ore da"aging to its own credibility, The
,e"ish %ress story went on to ncritically %ote alleged Aati&e A"erican scholar Ward 3hrchill, who the
In&estigati&e 3o""ittee of the 0tanding 3o""ittee on 9esearch Miscondct at the Bni&ersity of
3olorado conclded co""itted "ltiple conts of acade"ic "iscondct*plagiaris", fabrication and
falsification! 1In a 0epte"ber -66( essay entitled “On the +stice of 9oosting 3hic#ens,” 3hrchill arged
that the 0epte"ber (( attac#s were cased by B!0! foreign policy, co"paring World Trade 3enter financial
e"ployees in&ol&ed in “ongoing genocidal A"erican i"perialis"” to the role played by Adolf Eich"ann
in the 2olocast!4
)ellerose, “Op-Ed< Israel< The World's Dirst Modern Indigenos 0tate,” Israel 6ational 6e"s$ +anary
(:, -6(:!
That progra" is one in which narrati&es of “The Other” are nderstood for what
they are, and how they are essential to any possible ci&ili?ed soltion!
Too "any political and religios leaders fro" both sides engage in radical
rhetorical postring that "a#es that discorse nli#ely if left to fend for
the"sel&es! The need for a co""on langage that does not deny the narrati&e
of “The Other” "eans a botto"-p grassroots strategy for both peoples is
re%ired to better, and "ore realistically, define their goals and aspirations, and
as sch bring into the "i$ well-organi?ed social, econo"ic and legal pressre!
The Bnited 0tates and other de"ocracies "st help, with the spport of
indigenos peoples fro" arond the world, to facilitate an organi?ation*
perhaps a sb-tea" within the BA 7epart"ent of Political Affairs 0tandby
Mediation Bnit*established at the sa"e ti"e to wor# with “constitencies of
the willing” to sstain strategies leading to those desired effects! In particlar,
the e$periences of indigenos peoples in the Bnited 0tates, 3anada, Astralia,
3hile, Taiwan and Aew Cealand, cold be particlarly sefl!
Althogh the start-p cost in ter"s of necessary co""it"ents to trth, and ti"e
and resorces for sch an approach "ay see" danting, the cost of the present
bo$ed-in alternati&e goes far beyond what any people can pay for fore&er! Open
to debate in deter"ining a winning two-state for"la shold be what short-ter"
goals will lead to a co""on grond of enfranchising and protecting two nati&e
peoples*+ewish and Palestinian Msli"*crrently at ris# of engaging in
another fratricidal war!
4artin Ed"in Andersen$ a former assistant professor of national security affairs at
the 6ational Defense 9niversity$ is also the staff author of the ranston Amendment$
"hich since :;;< has re=uired the 9.3. 3tate Department)s annual human rights
country reports to include sections on indigenous peoples.
'his article is dedicated to the memory of (r# Roert A# Pastor, a prophetic
teacher of democracy and the human rights of peoples around the world#
> 4artin Ed"in Andersen$ ?@:A. All rights reserved.

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