Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Peace for Israel/Palestine

In the midst of taking sides, offensive actions, and defensive over-reactions in the last sixty years, it’s too easy to lose sight of the simple, sensible ideals which should drive every person who seeks peace. We support democratic processes and respect for all people. We decry all violence and war. We beg all people to unite around these shared values to find a plan we can all support.

There is only room for one government within the confines of Israel and the occupied territories. No amount of killing and relocation will resolve the differences that exist. It seems all the people with claims to this land are the descendants of David, and it is certain they are all human, thus deserving of the same basic rights. If we demand an eye for an eye, we’ll all be blind in the end.

We call for immediate elections supervised by the OSCE and/or the UN, without interference by the Israeli or Palestinian governments, to select a body to fairly represent the current residents of Israel and the occupied territories. Once the elections have been certified free and fair by international observers, this body will be empowered to draft a constitution for Israel, which has never had such a document.

At the same time, this group could clearly define Israel's borders, something which has never been done. If they decide as a group to split into two groups and define two governments, I suppose that could be possible, as long as they can agree how those governments will relate. That seems much harder than to come up with one state that works for everybody.

Obviously, we’d like to see that body embrace respect for universal human rights, regardless of religion or ethnicity. It would be great to have fair return and immigration policies and a process of truth and reconciliation. But this is not for us to decide. We respect the sovereignty of the people who actually live there. This proposal seems to us to be the most direct route to sustainable peace in the Middle East.

Do you think they'll call it Israelistine? Palreal?

Bringing about such change will not be easy. We'll have to demand by refusing to give any support to the existing system. Boycott, divestment & sanctions were required to end apartheid in South Africa and they are needed now to resist militarism in Israel.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

How to Drive Around Bicycles

First off, I wish you wouldn't. It's not just the threat your ton of steel and vinyl poses to me and to the planet. I want you to enjoy life free of the car, to know the healthy development of providing the energy to move yourself. But if you must drive, please take these precautions to avoid hurting bicyclists.
  • Check your mirrors and signal every turn. Right turns across the bike lane are the biggest killer of cyclists. The signal is for the one you don't see.
  • Look around before you open your door, and as you pull out of a parking space. Parked cars are a huge risk for cyclists.
  • Follow a safe distance behind a cyclist in the roadway until you have room to safely pass on the left. If you plan to turn soon, stay behind the bike until it passes your turn.
  • Please do not honk, gun your engine, or yell at cyclists. We know you're there, but you probably don't see the road surface obstacles with which we're dealing.
Thank you for respecting the cyclist's right to the road. Let me encourage you to spend some time riding your own bicycle. Besides helping you to see the cyclist's point of view, it will be great fun.