Synopsis of Paper

Edward Said repeatedly commented that there can be no lasting peace in the Middle East if Israelis and Palestinians do not recognize each others' history and the pain and suffering that are so much a part of it. Said's observations articulate a daunting challenge in the form of a project we believe is within the reach of international school teachers. International education can contribute to peace in the Middle East through the international scope of its curriculum in the humanities, a broad range of subjects, and the efforts of teachers educated in the traditions of humanism and multiculturalism. We were among the last westerners to teach at the American International School in Gaza and were forced to halt our efforts in June 2005 as a result of the unending siege compounded by unchecked internecine violence.

The intensification of the suffering of the people in Gaza in the past years has been striking, at times unimaginable. The mainstream media persist in refusing to make the point that Gaza's losses are nobody's gain. Who wins if an entire population is being deprived of food, medication, and electrical power? Who benefits if a student receives a scholarship to study abroad, but is not permitted to leave? A country that is occupied cannot properly educate its children, but education in a country that is under siege will only produce hatred.

With a growing number of people we demand that Israel lift the siege of Gaza and end the occupation of the Palestine.  Innocent children should not be made to suffer from lack of food, medical help, and economic opportunity; they should not have to give up on their aspirations for the future because they happen to live in or near the target zone of Israeli missiles.

We ask colleagues all over the world to join us in petitioning the governments of Israel and the United States to lift the siege and end the occupation. We ask that by this measure Israel give ordinary Palestinians a chance to live a decent life and create a future for themselves and their children. This is the moral and humane thing to do. If Israel takes this step, we believe there's a good chance that its people will live in peace because responsible Palestinian leaders can, and will, effectively make the case against extremists that violence does not work. A peaceful future lies in our capacity to recognize and identify with the human being in one another.