Craig Newmark on the Palestinian Question
Newmark: Somehow, I’ve gotten myself involved in the efforts towards Palestinian and Israeli peace. I don't know how this happened exactly, but it just somehow feels right, and I’m trying to do this on a common sense basis, working with a moderates peace group called One Voice, and what they’ve done is they’ve gone to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis, gotten them to sign up, talk to them a lot, because what they hear consistently is that everyone, you know, the vast majority of people, they are close to a deal. There’s some disagreement, but they all want to cut a deal, and they’re all moderates. There are a few number of extremists who liked to pick a fight, and I figured one thing that makes sense is if people are doing serious business in places like the West Bank, well, jobs make for peace, and I’ve seen this excess of micro finance across the world, so I figured I’ll try some of that. So I’ve helped get Kiva.org, together with CHF International, and they are starting out a finance business people on the West Bank and I’m pretty optimistic about peace. I don't know what to make of the Gaza situation. There, I have to defer to people who are a lot smarter than me and just to find out what they think. But meanwhile I can stay, put some focus on real stuff that people like me can do on the West Bank. For that matter, I even funded the construction of [a latrine] at a high school in the West Bank, in Jericho, but I’m paying attention to different efforts, trying to do stuff which is real and reflecting one of the best expressions of American values overseas. That was the martial plan in the late ‘40s, which created a lot of opportunity and jobs and rebuilding in Europe. It made a lot of friends. It created a lot of markets and prevented a lot of extremism. Again, you follow through with your best values and, you know, you got good results.
Craig Newmark describes his involvement in brokering peace.
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