HANANIA: Don’t let violence derail push for peace, For Immediate Release, March 15, 2008

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Don’t let violence prevent push for peace
Ray Hanania —
If there is one certainty in the Middle East, it is violence. When the Arabs and Israelis have been at war, and when they have been at the peace table, violence takes place. The goal of the violence is to prevent a peaceful compromise because the extremists believe that if they can prevent compromise, they have protected their extremist belief that they can have it all to themselves.

Violence is a weapon of extremism, a strategy that has been used by extremists on both sides, Palestinian and Israeli.

Extremist Palestinians like Hamas, and extremist Israelis like the settlers and other groups in between, all want the entire land of Israel and Palestine for themselves. Palestinian extremists do not want to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist because they believe in the so-called “one-state solution” which would revert the land to its pre-1948 days when Christians, Muslims and Jews presumably lived together in peace. Of course, they are delusional because Christians, Muslims and Jews have never lived together in peace.

Israeli extremists also want to prevent peace so they can annex more land in the West Bank to create new Jewish-only settlements.

Around these extremists are the normal people like you and me. We may favor or blame one side in the conflict, but in the end, despite our frustrations and anger, moderates recognize that compromise based on non-violence and mutual respect is the only way out of this conflict.

Palestinians and Israelis all know what the final peace accord will be: two states with a sharing of East Jerusalem; some Israeli land swapped for West Bank land to preserve some settlements; a demilitarized Palestinian State; and the return of the Palestinian refugees not to Israel, but to the Palestinian State.

When emotions subside and peace is achieved, I know Israelis will be the first people to stand up and help raise funds to compensate those Palestinians who lost their lands and homes in the 1947-48 fighting. I also know Arabs will help raise funds to compensate the Jews who left homes and lands from Arab countries to immigrate to Israel.

The danger for those who support peace is to respond to the violence by stopping the peace process, as Israeli leaders did after Yitzhak Rabin’s murder, and as Palestinians sought to do after Hamas took over the Palestinian government. When violence occurs, as it does continuously, the right response is not to suspend peace talks but to step up the peace process. The answer to the violence is to achieve a genuine and workable peace. That means that as we move toward a peace accord, we must be dedicated to peace even when the most outrageous acts of violence take place.

Some people can see today’s headlines and say the response to violence is more violence. But deep down, I know good people recognize that the only response to violence is compromise and peace.

And once a final peace is achieved, the two sides will work together to eliminate violence all together.

Neither side can win at war. But both sides can win with peace.

 (Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and radio talk show host. Reach him at www.RadioChicagoland.com. Originally pubished in the Arlington Heights Daily Herald Newspaper.)

This post has already been read 36 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com