Q & R: where do I start on Israel/Palestine?

Here’s the Q:

I’m on for a little advice.
I caught your sessions at Greenbelt a few months back. The struggle over Palestine will probably be the defining confict of our times. Your introdcution to elements of the confilict and the enabling role of Christianity was arresting. In fact almost wish i hadnt heard it. It reminded me of a radio broadcast by Campolo where he mentioned that the train tracks to Auchwitz run by Luthern churches. When the trains ran, the worshipers would sing the louder. I’m not made to sing the louder.
I’m researching the field with a view to getting involved. So far Jimmy Carters book and one from a group called Muhasala have been the most illuminating. I plan to visit the wrong side of the wall around this time next year. A while back I studied sustainable development with the Open University in the UK. It had a component of conflict resolution within it that I was particularly drawn too. The OU now offers a course on development and conflict resolution at a Masters level – so that could be an option.
So, heres my question. You appear to be up to your neck the struggle already. I could jump in at one of a thousand points. Could you give me a few pointers?
I have two lovely wee girls and full time responsibilities, if I didnt I probably would be a Jesuit by now, so I have limitations. However for a peacefull man I have a habit of picking fights, so where do we start?

Here’s the R:

First, I’m glad you care, and I know what you mean about wishing you didn’t know what you now know. Life was simpler when there were good guys and bad guys, us and them, truth and lies, news and propaganda. When we realize that the good guys are sometimes bad and the bad guys better, when truth can be spun into lies and so-called lies have more than a grain of truth, and when what we once thought was objective “fair and balanced” news turns out to be high in propaganda content … well, life is harder, but we’re a little more mature.
I have four suggestions.
1. Keep learning. There’s a saying in the MIddle East – if you’re there for a week, you know exactly how to resolve the crisis. If you’re there for a month, you know it’s complicated and difficult. And if you’re there for a year, you are reduced to tears and prayer. I keep listening to differing opinions on the conflict and try to understand where people are coming from. There’s always more to learn.
2. Keep speaking up. When people say things you know are false or misleading or partial, gently but firmly share what you’re learning. Do so humbly and don’t expect anything you say to be accepted immediately: people have a lot invested in their perspectives and contrary information isn’t accepted without a struggle.
3. Choose civility. Always stand for solutions that are pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace, and pro-justice. Don’t let people pull you into demonization of Israelis, Palestinians, or Americans or Iranians for that matter. Remember that there’s a difference between the people and the government, between groups and policies, and between the worst and the best representatives of any group. Don’t pick fights – but don’t let falsehoods good unaddressed.
4. Find kindred spirits. In the UK, the leaders of Greenbelt are a good place to begin:
I think we Christians with a more balanced social justice perspective have a special responsibility to try to reason with sincere American Christian Zionists. So many of them simply want to do what is right, and they follow Christian Zionism because they believe that’s the right thing to do. They haven’t seen or heard the stories that show the downsides of their movement; they haven’t heard responsible Christian theological responses to Christian Zionist readings of the Bible; they haven’t met Palestinians who have another side of the story to tell.
If you want to see what the dialogue looks like, check out this open letter to Christian Zionists …
… and this response
It’s sad, I know, to see how hard it is for those making the response to accurately restate the actual concerns raised in the open letter. But conversations have to begin somewhere.
This brings to mind the beautiful TED talk I referenced a while back …