As President Obama visits Israel and the West Bank, we here at The Center for Human Emergence Middle East are encouraged by his words that the Palestinians deserve to have an independent state of their own free from Israeli control. We are also reminded that past negotiations have not brought about the peaceful solutions we all wish to have. In our many years of working on both sides of the conflict we came to the understanding that in order for negotiations to succeed, both sides of the table, -people, politicians and cultures- have to have the internal capacitates to follow through on the negotiated agreements. This realization spoke to us loud and clear in 2005 when we started the Build Palestine Initiative aimed at building the capacities of the Palestinian people, their institutions and their resolve to build a nation through institutions and not through the barrel of a gun.
So, 2 ½ years after the initial posting of our call for President Obama to convene a design summit, we find ourselves urging the administration again to recognize that prudent negotiations will only result in lasting peace after the asymmetry in the capacities of both sides is leveled.
Today, the design conference we called for has taken on a whole new meaning in light of the Arab Spring, and should be used by our Administration as a template to identify the needs of every newly liberated Arab country. Below is the reposting of the initial call for a design conference.
DESIGN CONFERENCE for Palestine/Israel
To break the cycle of failed “Peace Negotiations”
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a collision of “tectonic plates” — deep values system codes — that have created a logjam. It is this underlying logjam that generates continual surface-level blockages that erupt in conflict.
We propose a problem-solving methodology with the power, precision, and complexity to span over human groupings to construct the unique economic and political structures that overarch the mountains and valleys of those unique human groupings.
We need to see the patterns as through a prism — where all the various colors of worldviews are made visible, each with a different “tint” on the world. The goal is to understand the needs of all the mind-sets, so as to begin to craft “full-spectrum” solutions which are fundamentally different from those that a single perspective would offer.
• Capacity to uncover the deeper dynamics within each society, as well as between societies.
• Craft decisions and measure priorities not against the past, nor based on who is responsible for what;
• Avoid the typical problem resolution systems such as majority rule, rule by the elite or by the wealthy, or rule by the so-called experts, or those that have military strength.
• Defuse the ideologies that produce “us vs. them”
• Avoid raising expectations which can be faulted.
• Focus on who the people are who live in the region and what their resources are
• Design a strategy to mesh people, geography, and resources together into a workable solution for all who live in that region.
• Draw upon all of the solutions which are currently available (as well as many that haven’t been thought of yet). We often call these “scaffoldings of solutions”,
• Solutions that involve the whole region: Israel, Syria, Jordan, Palestine
“The issue is less about democracy, rather the question is to design the best structures for meeting the needs of the people as they develop through the stages that are most natural to them; open, adaptive systems appropriate to their life conditions.”