Writing to Our Friends in Israel and Palestine

From: Odile and Alan, Hugonot Haber eliyahu
March 2002

this is a general letter we are sending speaking of our "plans"

Since we saw you last, things have gotten worse. Sometimes, we feel
like this is the worst of times and getting still worse. So much
killing and beavement! Since the Fall, the tragedy has deepened and
spread. September 11 shocked us, in America, into the new reality,
bringing with it the depression and fear that have long been everyday
life for so many people in the world.

Also, the spirit rises to the necessity, here as where you are.

It is increasingly obvious that the military occupation must end, it has
no moral authority, and is losing its political authority. war is not
the answer, justice is the question, and some principled compromise must
be latent in the wisdom borne of agony.

In general, here, the peace movement grew. Many young people became
active. An Ann Arbor
ad hoc committee for peace sprung up, quickly gathering 800 signatures
for a newspaper statement against the bombing proclaiming, "there is
a peaceful alternative," and continuing a campaign of public education
and civil liberties defense

Another group, diverse, older and many younger people: "Peace is Power"
expressed themselves with poetry, "Rising up poetics" and " Rock the boat"
with music and drumming and short clear speaking. The Megiddo project
was part also of organizing "a community gathering for peace and
diversity" that was a talent show for young people, art for peace for
children, a drum circle and tables from many different groups. This
event was held in a neighborhood school in mid December.

Hundreds of education programs have been held. People are gathering,
and more is planned.

Throughout the year Women in Black grew in Ann Arbor and other vigils
started in Michigan and elsewhere.

We participated in two national conferences addressing peace issues,
"Jewish Unity for a Just Peace/Not In My Name," in Chicago and the
recent Tikkun Community founding conference in New York

Now we are again planning on coming to Israel and Palestine this Spring,
arriving April 16th and staying through Israeli Earth Day activities on
the 26th and 27th. until the 30th

Our hope, as ever, is to help create "space for peace." This year we
expect to come as a small team of six or eight activists. We want to
participate in and support peace activities and other events that are
already planned or will be happening. We will of course be witnesses and
reporters back to America of what we see.

This year we are bringing with us the "Megiddo Peace Table," the
table which originally stimulated our project. We offer it into the
peace process hoping its physical presence and receptive shape could
become a magnet and focal point in gathering and restating the questions
that need to be on the table for peace and the core of an emerging
consensus expressing the vision of the peace camp. We hope there can be
some discussions around the table clarifying the principles and clear
guiding lines that seem essential for a wider justice and freer life for
all, which is the objective of peace.

How the peace table might best serve to stimulate the meetings needed
for peace? is a question we also bring, and for which we seek your
advice. Maybe the peace table should go to the Knesset, or to a
commons space where the peace movements and activists could gather, or
travel to various places, drawing from Europe and the United States
and other war zones as well as from Israel and Palestine.

Pragmatically, we seek advice on how our presence could best serve the
local situation. We will shape our schedule and itinerary to do the most
we can and follow the advice we get.

Part of our vision has been, for a long time, as you know, to have
musicians, poets and performers do a concert "to turn the heart," in the
amphitheater at Maya'an Harod Park, or anywhere in a field, and to
exhibit "art for peace" around the Megiddo area. Our effort and hope is
to create a space which could invite all of the peace groups and all of
the people, individuals that have made contributions for peace to bring
their offering together and to make them visible together, globally inclusive.

What is possible and appropriate in these times is a little hard to
judge from where we are, imagining six weeks from now.

We will bring some art we would like to exhibit.

April 22, Monday, is international Earth Day. Each year past we have
gathered for meditation, prayer and conversation at tel Megiddo, at
noon, at the peace post. We probably will again and would be glad if
you could join us.

The previous Friday or Saturday, April 19-20, is a possible time for a concert,
performance, reading, "turn the heart event," gathering, if such could
even be imagined. This would invite many other people to get involved.
We hope that peace seekers, workers of all kinds, visionaries, mothers,
anyone could participate, bring their peace offering and help turn the
heart of "our leaders" so they move to the peace table and sign the
agreements, treaties that will allow people to feel respected, safe,
compensated justly and to live together in peace.

The "Megiddo Peace Project" is part of the work we do in our home
town on how the war system globally affects our local situation. We are
familiar with the broad range of progressive movements in the United
States and could offer interested activists a briefing, or perspective on
recent political developments here and the prospects for change in United
States government policies. We have been actively involved in the
campaigns for the abolition of nuclear weapons and keeping space for

This last campaign, a global imperative in countering the militarization
of the world through space weapons, inspired the thought to attempt to
make "space 4 peace" in Israel and Palestine, to plant a seed that might
blossom and ripen into a image of what is peace, an image beautiful
enough to cleanse and open the eyes with overdue tears: To turn the
heart and still the violence and encourage the despairing and, yes, to
make a difference.

Ever hopeful, we hope to see you soon, and will stay in touch. Please
send us your thoughts and good advice on how we might best be of
service, and what use a peace table might have in Israel and Palestine
now. It seems needed.

paix, peace, shalom, salaam, justice and friendship,

odile and alan

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Alan and Odile Hugonot Haber - megiddo@umich.edu