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Palestinians and Israelis call for Peace.

A leading Palestinian intellectual spoke of the start of a people's movement for peace in Israel and Palestine. Professor Sari Nusseibeh, the President of the Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, said that many of his people dreamed of going back in both space and time to the pre-1948, pre-disaster world, before the creation of the State of Israel.

'We cannot control the past,' he continued, 'but we can control the future, and we must focus our efforts there.' The leaders on both sides had proved incapable of leading their peoples towards peace, and of tearing down the idols that stood in the way. 'Neither of our peoples walk this earth alone. Another group claims the same space, the same rocks and trees, the same history.'

The outlines of a two-state solution had long been clear, addressing the questions of settlements on the one hand, and the refugees' right to return on the other; a shared capital in Jerusalem; and a special status for the holy sites. But the peoples-on both sides-were never really consulted on what they felt or wanted. So with an Israeli colleague (former navy general and security chief Ami Ayalon), he had started a movement to collect signatures. In only a little over a month they had collected 60,000 and the number was going up all the time.

'We've had a lot of support, but we've had a lot of opposition too,' Nusseibeh said. They dreamed of being able to return to their respective leaders with a million signatures and the plea, 'deliver us from 50 years of suffering, to a new dimension of sanity'.

Nusseibeh likened the many unimplemented UN resolutions to a tranquillizer given to his people to console them for their political and geographical losses. In his view, the Palestinians could and should forego the right for the refugees to return, in favour of exercising another right--freedom in their own state. 'In an ideal world,' he said, 'these rights would not conflict, but in the real world, we have to forego one in order to obtain the other.'
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Title Annotation:Newsdesk
Publication:For A Change
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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