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Peace...What is it good for?

War...Huh...Yea...what is it good for?. Those words were written by Edwin Star and came into our vocabulary in the early 1970s. The answer of course was absolutely nothing. Perhaps that answer is incorrect, but today's issue is Peace...What is it good for?

This comes about because I just learned this week in an ah ha moment that Peace means different things to different people, and that there are two main kinds of Peace--- Negative Peace and Positive Peace.

Negative Peace is the absence of conflict. That is what the United States is currently trying to achieve in the war between Israel and Hamas. Our immedate goal is to stop the shooting, the killing of Palestinians and the destruction of the land called Gaza. Negative peace usually involves an intermediary (The US, Qatar or the United Nations) to establish the terms of stopping the immediate conflict and in some way enforcing the continuation of negative peace. In the short run negative peace can be enforced by a third-party until that third-party tires of the effort.

Positive Peace is that touchy-feely concept that John Lennon wrote about...All we are saying is give peace a chance. Positive Peace is defined as the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. Perhaps that should be followed with a rousing kumbaya. But seriously, isn't that what most people truly want for the Israelis and the Palestinians... for the world in general.... and But again... But is it a realistic goal?

Perhaps the concept of Positive Peace for Israel and the Palestinians is what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is really trying to achieve. What Golda Meir, Yassir Arafat, and Balfour were trying to achieve in times past... sustainable, peaceful societies where Israelis and Palestinians can live and prosper. Perhaps they can live together (I doubt it) or live separately. Whatever these societies look like will have to be determined by the parties involved.

A solution that creates Postive Peace cannot involve any outside parties.Negative Peace has never been turned into Positive Peace.

If sustainable, peaceful, and perhaps prosperous societies are to be created, the two sides have to accept the rights and territorial boundries of each other... they haven't to this point.

These goals are achievable, but to this point neither side appears ready for Positive Peace.

Until both sides are ready for Positive Peace either Negative Peace will be applied by outside parties (as it has in the past) or fighting, bloodshed and destruction will continue. This war may well continue until Israel runs out of destructive capability or all members of Hamas are killed or captured along with many thousands of additional Palestinians and Gaza is destroyed.

The irony is that Positive Peace was actually created in Europe and Japan in 1945 through total destruction and untold hundreds of thousands of deaths. That is not what anyone is looking for now but as Mick Jagger wrote You can't always get what you want.