In the torrent of hate propaganda,
a tiny voice is speaking out for
decency and humanity and asking
others to join. - mideastweb.org
Never doubt that a small group of
thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world. Indeed, it is the only
thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
The Palestinian, Israeli and American people can take the first
steps to a better future together. Our goal is to mobilize mass
support for nonviolent engagement through simultaneous
marches in the U.S., Israel and Palestinian territory.
All sides will be saying that they share a responsibility to resolve
the conflict and wish to do so without more bloodshed. All will
be expressing a readiness to engage in dialogue and to take
constructive steps for peace if the message of non-violence is
heeded. All will be saying that they’re willing to do their part to
work together for peace.
The effort won’t advocate any specific agreement. It will carry
only a positive message that Palestinians, Israelis and
Americans are ready to take the first steps to a better future
together. People won’t be pointing blame at any group or
protesting any specific government policy or official. They’ll be
marching for a future of hope and progress, not hatred and
The simultaneous marches will act as a confidence-building
measure that will create a climate in which constructive
dialogue can advance. They will show that the Palestinian,
Israeli and American people all want to be partners in peace.
The marches will be, in essence, a show of hearts on all sides
that will help start the process of healing from the past years of
violence. They’ll give all sides reason to believe that progress
toward a better future is possible. This shift in attitudes will help
set in motion the kind of political changes necessary for
peaceful engagement to move forward.
Changing hearts and marshaling broad support isn’t likely to
happen overnight. That’s why all sides need to demonstrate a
commitment to peaceful engagement over a period of weeks,
and perhaps months. As marches continue in Israel and the
Palestinian territory a second weekend, two different U.S. cities
will hold marches. Three other U.S. cities will hold marches on
the third weekend, and so on, until perhaps dozens of U.S.
cities have taken part.
The effect of simultaneous marches will be self-reinforcing. As
the number of marchers on all sides grows, more people will
start to believe that progress is possible and join the effort. As
more people are convinced to choose hope over hatred, the
momentum toward peace will grow.
Americans have never before devoted such energy to the
Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Such a major effort would have
been highly unlikely in the past, but these are unusual times.
Americans are worried about terrorism, concerned about the
troops in Iraq and at odds with the way the U.S. is viewed in the
world. Americans will embrace an opportunity to feel good
about America, to stand up for her highest ideals and to make a
difference in making the world a safer place.
If America’s goal is to promote hope and progress as the
alternatives to hatred and violence, then there can be few more
patriotic acts for average Americans than to stand shoulder-to-
shoulder with those trying to build a mandate for non-violence in
the Middle East.
This effort will provide a shining example to the world that non-
violence can yield results in the most bitter of conflicts. Nothing
would do more to marginalize those who embrace terrorism as
a strategy for achieving political aims.
To actually get this effort off the ground we will need people who
see potential in this idea and have the brains and energy to try
and make it work. The first step is putting together an
organization. Eventually, this will become a decentralized effort
and we'll need people to help get the message out and organize
in their own communities. Please send an e-mail to
contact@FirstStepsToPeace.org if you want to help make this
happen, and please mention this effort to others.