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H.E. Faisal Bin Abdulla Al-Mohmoud, Minister of Endowment & Religious Affairs inaugurated the Conference works in Sheraton Doha       



Time & Temperature in Doha

Non-violent resistance best option for Palestinians’
5/14/2008 2:7:46
Source ::: The Peninsula/ By Mohamed Iqbal
Doha • Resorting to violent resistance will not help Palestinians win freedom from Israeli occupation, says Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, a US-based Jewish scholar.

Feller is in Doha to attend the sixth Doha Conference of Interfaith Dialogue, which opened here yesterday. He is director of the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the conference, Feller said, violent attacks by the Palestinians would only fuel the stubbornness of the Israeli government and trigger more violence and bloodshed.

"Even from a strategic point of view, non-violent resistance is the best option for the Palestinians. In the first Intifada the Palestinians used only stones as their weapon. This culminated in the Madrid conference and the peace process. But in the second Intifada, there were guns used and this invited more violence from the Israeli side," said Feller.

He said he has been often misunderstood by his own community for being critical of the policies of the Israeli government. "I love my people but it does not prevent me from loving others."

He said the continuing Israeli occupation is a blemish on the Jewish community the world over. "I am an advocate of the two-state solution from the very beginning. But Israel should not try to rule over the Palestinians. There is nothing like "benign occupation". Occupation is always wrong," he added.

There is a deep mistrust between the Palestinians and the Israelis and an overdose of ideology, Feller said, adding that the Palestinians should be more pragmatic in their approach since the Israeli state is an existing reality. He felt that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas were pragmatists but Hamas had adopted an ideology of violence and hatred. But the irony was that when the Palestinians become pragmatic the Israelis would turn ideological and vise versa, noted Feller.

"Palestinians need dignity while Israelis need security. Israelis are scared of suicide bombings while Palestinians are upset by the continuing siege and aggression. A solution would be possible only by addressing these two issues,"

he said.

Asked about the future of Jewish-Muslim relations on the international level, Feller said he saw a ray hope in the culture of dialogue emerging among leaders of both the communities.

"More and more leaders from both sides have now realised the need for dialogue. Even a prominent Jewish leader from Israel - Rabbi Melchior - has called for dialogue with the Palestinians," said Feller.

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