Growing Gardens for Palestine
The 2013 Citizens Medal will recognize “citizens of the United States of America who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” Executive Order 11494 (Nov. 13, 1969). It is generally recognized as the second highest civilian award of our Government.
Dr. Asali first and foremost sets a good example. He came to this country as a Palestinian refugee and has spent his life becoming a successful and loyal American citizen.
Dr. Ziad J Asali's primary job and career was as a physician. A very successful physician. When he retired he could have chosen to live a private life of leisure, enjoying the pleasures of a loving family and respect from many friends and peers. But instead he stepped up to do something much harder than it might appear- diplomacy for Palestine and peace. Dr. Asali founded the NGO The American Task Force on Palestine in 2003 http://www.americantaskforce.org/ in hopes of generating mainstream American interest in supporting a two state solution to once and for all end the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Describe the impact that your nominee’s service has had on individuals and/or communities:
The challenges of advocating mainstream support for Palestine here in America are huge. Many who know and care about Palestine have been lead astray by cynicism and negativity and bad arguments. Far too many wrongly believe that Israel should be or will be destroyed. Some foolishly become puppets and pawns for Islamists and anti-America radicals pretending to care about Palestine. Few have the strength of character and the courage and the wisdom to be both pro-Palestine as well as pro-America. Dr Asali is very much both pro-Palestine as well as pro-America.
Dr Asali's leadership and his organization offer a safe harbor and good advice and direction for Americans like me who are sincerely concerned about the very real plight of the Palestinians and American investments abroad. His focus is on empowering public support for state building efforts for Palestine and negotiations so that Israel and Palestine will be able to live side by side in peace and security.
I'd also nominate ATFP's Senior Research Fellow Hussein Ibish for the citizen's medal- but Ibish's brilliant work and outreach are his career, a career made possible in part because of Dr. Ziad Asali's valiant efforts and organization.
"The only way to honor our tragic histories is to create a future for our children free of man-made tragedy. This means making peace fully, completely and without reservation, between Israel and Palestine." ATFP's Ziad Asali: To honor a tragic history, we must work for peace
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