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All I Learned About Peace Deals I Learned at Jewish Summer Camp

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed a way to halt the fighting and killing in Israel and Gaza. It is a two-stage plan that would begin with a week-long cease fire to begin Sunday, right before the end of Ramadan, so that it coincides with Eid al-Fitr. The second stage would be the negotiations between the direct parties and other attendees – most likely Qatar, Turkey, Egypt and Norway.

This is just like the lessons I learned on how to negotiate among warring parties (campers) at Camp Pinemere and the Scranton JCC Day Camp.

1. First, Establish clear expectations right away.
Kerry has told the parties what the U.S. expects

2. Reinforce and encourage desirable behaviors.
Kerry has offered monetary aid or support in exchange for the proper behavior

3. Give camper(s) one warning. Make it clear that they have done wrong.
Kerry has told both the leaders of Gaza and Israel which behaviors are not acceptable

4. Give your camper a chance to explain; they may have a good reason
Kerry has shuttled around the region this week and listened to all important parties, and out of earshot of the entire camp and campers

5. Be consistent and impartial
No comment

6. Stay cool and calm. Keep strong emotions in check.
Kerry is very dry and has a Boston Brahman affectation

7. Avoid lecturing or embarrassing the camper. Discipline in private if possible.
Kerry did not yet leak his harangues to the warring parties
Kerry – as counselor – needs to avoid open microphones on television

8. Stress that the behavior is the problem, not the camper’s personality. Help the camper to identify acceptable alternatives to the problem behavior.

9. Give each camper a time out.
In this case, a week long truce

10. Once the disciplinary time is over, accept the camper as a part of the group again.
Hmmm… this will be problematic

Also, according to the American Camping Association, a counselor should…Be the kind of person you want your campers to become–obey the rules yourself!
Well.. the U.S. strive to be a good world citizen

Know as many campers as possible by name. Know something about them. Build relationships
Kerry knows many names of world leaders and can pronounce them without much effort.

Be friendly. Always show interest in what individual campers are doing and their progress.
Kerry smiles

“One pat on the back is worth two slaps in the face.”
Kerry give and withholds praise

Don’t take misbehavior personally. It is a choice the camper is making.
Kerry seems to know that countries are not people, and he doesn’t take it personally

Every child has needs; his/her behavior will give you clues as to what those needs are.
Yes, Hamas has needs, even if they are ‘effing’ insanely murderous. But their needs are the root of their behavior, no matter how ignorant and destructive.

Keep in mind that misbehavior is seldom willful. Try to find the cause.
Sadly, in this case, it is willful

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