Writing from Cairo today, Thomas Friedman offered up some suggestions to citizens in the West Bank in their quest to join the ranks of Egyptians and Tunisians in the Arab Spring. Detailing how the "ossified, unimaginative, oxygen-deprived governments" in Israel and Palestine aren't making any progress in the peace talks, Friedman wants the young activists to take up the torch and detailed exactly how they should do it. Here's his advice--we're quoting at length so you don't miss out on any details of the plan:
May I suggest a Tahrir Square alternative? Announce that every Friday from today forward will be “Peace Day,” and have thousands of West Bank Palestinians march nonviolently to Jerusalem, carrying two things--an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other. The sign should say: “Two states for two peoples. We, the Palestinian people, offer the Jewish people a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders--with mutually agreed adjustments--including Jerusalem, where the Arabs will control their neighborhoods and the Jews theirs.”
If Palestinians peacefully march to Jerusalem by the thousands every Friday with a clear peace message, it would become a global news event. Every network in the world would be there. Trust me, it would stimulate a real peace debate within Israel--especially if Palestinians invited youth delegations from around the Arab world to join the marches, carrying the Saudi peace initiative in Hebrew and Arabic. Israeli Jews and Arabs should be invited to march as well. Together, the marchers could draw up their own peace maps and upload them onto YouTube as a way of telling their leaders what Egyptian youth said to President Hosni Mubarak: “We’re not going to let you waste another day of our lives with your tired mantras and maneuvering.”
Although we're having a hard time with Friedman suggestions that protesters upload maps onto YouTube--surely he's heard of the many map applications on the internet--the slogan caught our attention. At 38 words long, it's not exactly catchy. And how would you even fit it on a poster?
Of course, Friedman suggested that the signs be written in both Hebrew and Arabic* so it would probably look a bit more like this:
Now, if that won't compel Netanyahu to compromise, what will? We can't wait to hear about Friedman's Facebook strategy for Palestinians.
One last note: peace marches on Jerusalem actually happen all the time. This image from a protest last October that Getty described thusly: "Palestinian, left-wing Israeli and foreign peace activists hold anti-settlement and occupation placards outside a Palestinian house occupied by Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood during the weekly protest against Israeli settlement in the holy city's Arab quarters on October 29, 2010."
*The Hebrew and Arabic translations of Friedman's quote come from Google Translate. Please excuse any mistakes in grammar.