Posted by Sue on:
Introduced by Steve Cohen at Congregation B'nai B'rith, Santa Barbara, and moderated by the Chair of the Israel Committee of Santa Barbara, Peter Melnick, a panel of 4 discussed the Israel-Gaza conflict and explored ways to promote peace on Sunday, January 11, 2009.
Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League in Santa Barbara, Cynthia Silverman shared her observations as former USAID logistic coordinator stationed in Gaza and the West Bank, June, 2005 - December 2007. According to Ms. Silverman:
Both Israeli and Gaza citizens want peace.
Israel is at war with Hamas, the terrorist organization that has a stranglehold on Gaza and is not fighting against innocent victims.
Peace cannot ensue until Hamas agrees to negotiate.
Nabil Alshurafa, a PhD candidate at UCLA and volunteer at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, added:
Every time militant forcer (by Israel) is implemented, resistance groups emerge. "We can bomb the world world to pieces by cannot bomb to peace."
Peace cannot take place until political, social and economic ills are addressed and resolved.
Former Executive Vice President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis as well as founding Executive Direcotr of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, Rabbi Ira Youdovin assumed the post of chair of the Santa Barbara Jewish Community Relations Council. He elaborated on the following concepts:
Israel and Gaz share a common enemy and that enemy is the terrorist organization, Hamas.
In order to promote peace, Hamas needs to amend its resolution to destroy the state of Israel. Furthermore, Iran needs to back off confronting Israel.
Neither Israel nor its adversaries should come to the bargaining table as a "defeated people."
Finally, there must be some kind of international intervention.
The current Director of Global Jewish Education at the New Community Jewish High School in West Hills, Yoav Ben-Horin, werved multiple positions, among them as Lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces and as a Harvard University professor on the political development of the modern Middle East and the Arab-Israel conflict. He believes that:
Israel targets militants, not innocent Palestinians. Loss of life is inevitable when Hamas uses hospitals and schoolyards to install Hamas headquarters and launch rockets.
Violence has its value if it brings both sides to the peace table.
A 2-state solution is the best solution.
Jews need to take a look at the intricacies of Hamas and what strengthens or weakens it.
The audience expressed concerns about:
The lack of an outspoken moderate Moslem voice opposing terrorism.
Educating young Palestinians for peace.
And I'd like to know how we, as Americans, can interrupt funds earmarked for all terrorist organizations.