Thursday, May 9, 2013

“Were you really shot in a fight over water?” He winces out his answer: “It wasn’t about politics. It wasn’t about the Muslim Brotherhood. It was about water.”

"The great American environmentalist Dana Meadows, when asked if it was too late to do anything about climate change, used to say, “We have exactly enough time — starting now.” The Arab world has exactly enough time — starting now. If people do not stop fighting with each other over dead ideologies and sectarian differences and focus instead on overcoming their deficits of knowledge, freedom and women’s empowerment — as the U.N. Arab Human Development Report urged — there is no hope. As Qaid suggested, in Yemen those old ideologies are luxuries now. It is just about water." Postcard From Yemen By Thomas L. Friedman May 7, 2013

Former Palestinian fighter now battles for a middle path: Palestinian Mohammed Dajani, from a prominent Jerusalem family, has become a vocal advocate for pragmatism and peace.

Palestinian Mohammed Dajani's staircase in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina is a literal paper trail of his family and career, from an Ottoman sultan's decree that gave his relatives custodianship of David's tomb to the photos just behind him of then-Senator Barack Obama visiting his Al Quds University classroom.
 Christa Case Bryant/TCSM
  Wasatia: Quranic term for “moderation” or “balance,” aims to give a voice to what Dajani considers a majority of Palestinians who want to work for statehood through nonviolent means but get drowned out by increasing radicalization on both sides.


By Staff writer / May 8, 2013 East Jerusalem

By his own admission, Mohammed Dajani was “extremely radical” as a young man working for the Palestinian militant group Fatah in Lebanon.

His family was forced to leave their stately Jerusalem home during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Following the example set by his grandfather, who ripped up the refugee card given to his wife, Mr. Dajani has refused to label himself a refugee: “We are citizens and human beings and we have to earn our way,” he says.

But as a young man he saw no other solution than taking back all of historic Palestine from the Israelis.

“I believed that it was us or them and that the only solution was to liberate our land,” he says. “And if we did not have the power to do that, we should do what Samson did and bring down the temple on everyone’s head,” he says, referring to the biblical story of a Hebrew prisoner who killed 3,000 people, including himself, when he removed the central pillars of a Philistine temple.

After that, however, he went to the US to get a PhD; getting some distance from the conflict changed his outlook dramatically and he began working for peace.

Those efforts crystallized into a new initiative after he witnessed a standoff at an Israeli checkpoint near his home. Palestinians who wanted to pray in Jerusalem amassed at the checkpoint, but Israeli guards initially refused to let them pass.  Eventually they worked out a deal – the Palestinians were allowed to pass...READ MORE

Sunday, May 5, 2013