This list began in the most inauspicious way possible. I sometimes post my Israel-Palestine blog entries at the Middle East Information Center’s discussion group. There are some group members who are right wing Jewish verbal thugs with nothing better to do than spew their vile insults at those who represent a more dovish view of the conflict. After posting my directory to Israeli and American-Jewish groups dedicated to Israeli-Palestinian peace (Mideast Peace Activism: Online Resources), one of these asked me rhetorically: “It’s all well and good for you Jewish peaceniks, but where are the Palestinian peaceniks??” The disingenuous point was that since there are no Palestinian interlocutors interested in peace, that my own views were discredited as well.
While I never give their comments any credence, I did feel it would be worthwhile to explore the world of Palestinian peace groups in order to prove that there IS an interlocutor with whom it is worthwhile to engage in serious debate about issues of war and peace.
Jonathan Edelstein of Head Heeb and Gato of the Middle East Information Center contributed many of these links which I’ve fleshed out somewhat during my own visits to the various websites.
If you know of other similar sites that would be worthy of appearing here, please contact me by leaving a comment.
Adalah–Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Adalah (“Justice” in Arabic) is an independent human rights organization, registered in Israel. It is a non-profit, non-governmental, and non-partisan legal center. Established in 1996, it serves Arab citizens of Israel. Adalah works to protect human rights in general, and the rights of the Arab minority in particular.
Alternative Palestinian Agenda
Its goals are:
to end the Israeli occupation
Reorganize the Palestinian political system and civil society
Implement the Palestinian right of return
End discrimination, dispossession, and land expropriation against Palestinians in Israel.
It proposes that both future states (Israel and Palestine) be in a federal union with a capitol in Jerusalem.
[RS note: This group favors a bi-nationalist solution to the conflict which would constitute a federalist system of governance and in which all citizens of both countries could live or work wherever they wished in either state. I do not subscribe to this viewpoint and do not endorse this group’s goals. But I think their ideas are intriguing and provocative and worthy of inclusion in the political debate.]
Arab Human Rights Association (Nazareth)
HRA sees itself as in the service of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel. It was founded in 1988 to promote and protect the political, civil, economic, and cultural rights of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel and to further the domestic implementation of international human rights principles. It is an independent non-governmental organisation registered in Israel. HRA holds a unique position locally and worldwide as an indigenous organization that works on the community, national and international levels for equality and non-discrimination, and for the domestic implementation of international minority rights protections.
Bir Zeit University also maintains a directory of Palestinian web sites devoted to the project of building a civil society. The portion of the site devoted to Palestinian NGOs is worth viewing.
Issam Sartawi Center for Peace Studies (Al Quds University)
In seeking to make a significant contribution to attaining lasting peace, Al-Quds University created the Issam Sartawi Center for the Advancement of Peace and Democracy (ISCAPD). It is a Palestinian research oriented university-body with specific interest in community outreach, as well as regional and worldwide initiatives. It was founded by a group of leading Palestinian academics in 1998, led by Professor Sari Nusseibeh.
Dr. Issam Sartawi was a leading Palestinian peace advocate and medical doctor who was tragically assassinated by Palestinian extremists in 1983. The Center was named in his honor.
Jewish-Muslim Peace Walk
The Albuqurque, NM-based Jewish-Muslim PeaceWalk was founded by a rabbi and Muslim cleric and nurtures Muslim-Jewish dialogue and promotes interfaith and intercultural communication. The Jewish-Muslim PeaceWalk cultivates a common ground for peace action based on faith principles of compassion and justice. The Jewish-Muslim PeaceWalk is committed to the transformation of oppressive structures through non-violent resolution of conflicts, openness to diversity, and affirmation of our shared existence on this earth. [while this group is neither Palestinian, nor even Arab per se, I still thought it worthy of inclusion]
The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH, is a non-governmental non-partisan Jerusalem-based institution dedicated to fostering democracy and good governance within the Palestinian Society in a manner that promotes Public Accountability and Transparency while maintaining the free flow of information and ideas. Established in December 1998, MIFTAH’s underlying premise is to serve as a Palestinian platform for international reconciliation and cooperation allowing for a global dialogue that is guided by the principles of democracy, human rights, gender equity, and participatory governance.
Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam(ne-vey sha-lom / ‘wah-at al sal-‘am: Hebrew and Arabic for ‘Oasis of Peace’ [Isaiah 32:18]): A village in Israel established jointly by Jews and Palestinian Arabs of Israeli citizenship and engaged in educational work for peace, equality and understanding between the two peoples.
The Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People
PCR is a non-religious organization registered under the auspices of Mennonite Central Committee in Jerusalem. Established in 1988, it promotes grassroots dialogue and joint work between Palestinians and people from different nationalities. Its main objective is to encourage peaceful solutions to the Palestinian cause through disabling existing stereotypes and prejudice.
PCR is a Palestinian community service center with a global vision. PCR’s areas of interest are:
Community service, serving the local Palestinian community in stead fasting the hardships of occupation policies, sharing in developing the community physical and human resources, and activating the youth, in community service and development, are the main elements of PCR’s community service program.
Peace and reconsolidation, PCR has a genuine commitment and a long history of working for peace. Dialogues aimed at developing mutual understanding, activating participants to work for peace and justice, educating and training for peace and reconciliation, and the work to increase the public role in building a just and lasting peace in the region, are high on the agenda of priorities of PCR.
The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG)
It was founded in 1996 in response to the deteriorating state of democracy and human rights under the newly established Palestinian Authority. The group was founded by a diverse group of well-established Palestinians, including Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members, newspaper editors, journalists, a union leader, veteran human rights activists and religious leaders. The political composition of its founders is diverse – including members of many Palestinian organizations and institutions – thereby ensuring the non-partisan character of the organization.
The PHRMG documents human rights violations committed against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, regardless of who is responsible. In effect, the PHRMG has dedicated much of its work to the monitoring of human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian National Initiative:
Launched by Haidar Abdul Shafi, Mustafa Barghouthi and Ibrahim Dakkak. The main objective of the Initiative is the realization of Palestinian national rights and of a durable, just peace. Both of these objectives can be best achieved at this juncture through the establishment of a national emergency leadership, the immediate implementation of democratic elections at all levels of the political system, and reform of political, administrative, and other institutional structures in order to meet the needs of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian Rights Programme:
The Palestinian Rights Programme is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British government and managed by the British Council, East Jerusalem, in partnership with local Palestinian organizations. Among other things, it aims to assist the development of a democratic Palestinian society based on the rule of law, and strengthen relations between Palestinians and Israelis through cross-community initiatives. [RS: This website does not appear to have been updated since around 2001, so it is not entirely up to date. But it does contain useful information.]
Sabeel, established in 1989, is an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement which strives to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, non-violence, liberation, and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities. Sabeel strives to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence, and witness of Palestinian Christians as well as their contemporary concerns. It encourages individuals and groups from around the world to work for a just, comprehensive, and enduring peace informed by truth and empowered by prayer and action.
Sulha is an indigenous Middle Eastern way of reconciliation. The Sulha Peace Project’s Holy Land Program heals and builds trust by organizing community-oriented gatherings between Arabs and Jews in their own towns and villages. Set in familiar cultural environments rich in food, dance, music, dialogue circles and sacred ritual from Arab and Jewish traditions. Our goal is to rebuild trust among neighbours, Arabs and Jews, people to people, as a grassroots contribution to Peace in Israel.
Great Job, Mr. Silverstein!
David Drews says
I appreciate this directory; people
at my shul are very often
complaining that there are no
moderate Palestinians. But I’m
very confused; you say that you
never “give their comments any
you are trying to work for middle-
East peace. What am I missing?
Babu G. Ranganathan says
The best way for Israel to stop terrorist attacks in its territory is by first ceasing its occupation of Arab land in the West Bank and Gaza.
However, Israel will not pull back to its pre-1967 borders so long as many Israelis and most evangelical Christians in America continue to believe that present day Jews have a biblical right to all of Arab territory in Palestine. For this reason a biblical examination of the issue is necessary.
As an evangelical Christian, of Indian origin, I wish to set the biblical issue in proper perspective.
Although the modern state of Israel now has every right to exist as any other nation this does not mean that Zionism ( the belief that Jews have a biblical right to all of Palestine ) is correct. And it is Zionism that is primarily fueling the building and expansion of Jewish settlements on Arab land.
From a purely biblical perspective Zionism has enormous problems.
The fact is that almost none of the Jews in modern Israel today are descendants of the original Jews of Palestine thousands of years ago. Most of the Jews in Israel today are descendants of Europeans who had converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages (known as Khazar Jews).
The last time that God had promised in Scripture to bring the Jews back to their ancestral homeland was already fulfilled centuries ago when He brought them back from their Babylonian captivity. Thus, the Jews in present day modern Israel are not a fulfillment of that ancient promise.
Furthermore, God’s promises concerning the land to the Jews in the Old Testament were conditional – only so long as they obeyed Him were those promises concerning the land binding.
Most evangelical Christians today are looking forward to the seven year tribulation period of Israel which would require for the Jews to be in the land. But this period had already occurred in history during 63 A.D. to 70 A.D. ( seven years ) when the Roman army besieged and destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple. It was this destruction that Jesus said would mark the end of the age ( the Jewish Age, that is ).
Evangelical Christians who are dispensationalists are still seeking for an Israel that the New Testament says is the spiritual body of Christ made up of both Jew and Gentile believers in Jesus Christ and who together inherit the same promises.
The modern state of Israel, now that it has been established, has every right to exist and almost all Palestinians now will agree to Israel’s right to exist. What they do not agree with is Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and Israel’s continued building of settlements there. Most Palestinans will stop supporting terrorism if Israel simply gets out of their “lawn” (the West Bank and Gaza) and that is the best way for Israel to stop the terrorism and preserve its security and peace – not to mention the security and peace of others.
Babu G. Ranganathan