Pushing for peace: Retired Nevada County teacher continues advocacy for violence-free Middle East
It’s been more than 60 years since Del Reynolds returned to the United States from a five-year stint teaching in Palestine, but his memories of living in the area inspire him to keep pushing for peace in the Middle East.
The 96-year-old Nevada County man has “kept a continual correspondence with every senator and representative in our government” over the years, he said, and he’s constantly revising and sending off copies of his peace plan, titled, “A new/old approach for a lasting peace in Israel/Palestine.”
Reynolds taught a variety of subjects — “whatever needed to be taught,” he said — at Quaker schools in Ramallah, Palestine. He began teaching in 1951, just a few years after the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was adopted.
Reynolds made personal connections with many students during his years teaching in Palestine, and he still keeps in touch with some of those students today.
Since returning from Palestine, Reynolds has maintained a small farm on his property in south Nevada County, where he lives with his family. He served as the first principal at John Woolman school, a Quaker boarding high school that operated in Nevada County from 1963 until 2001. But throughout his career as an educator and farmer, Reynolds kept up with politics in the Middle East.
The area of land controlled by Palestine has shrunk greatly since Reynolds left Ramallah in 1956, he said. Reynolds said many Palestinians today are struggling for basic needs, such as water, food, land and education.
Over the years, Reynolds has submitted his plan for peace to government leaders in Palestine, Israel and the U.S. on numerous occasions. He continually revises the plan and sends out new versions to those in power.
This year, Reynolds plans to submit a new version of his plan for the last time.
“After this, I’m done,” he said.
But he’s not hopeful his proposal will make much difference.
“My confidence is zero now that there will ever be peace there,” he said.
His plan for peace involves Israelis and Palestinians participating in a “semitic peace ceremony.”
“There would be documentation and acknowledgment of injustices, plus ‘blood money’ offered as amends — not compensation/reparations,” the plan says, describing the peace ceremony. “The Palestinians would end all violence against the Israelis and forgive the Israelis for their injustices and oppression … An essential violence-free period of 5-10 years would be established immediately.”
Despite his lack of confidence that things will change, Reynolds feels it’s his duty to continue sharing his plan. His personal experiences with Palestinians have made him an advocate for peace in the region.
“My work with the Friends schools in Ramallah, Palestine, helped establish my firm belief that the Palestinians can be a vital positive force in the accomplishment of a lasting peace in the Palestine-Israel conflict.” he said. “Despite the fact that my country, the USA, had continually backed Israel’s seizures of Palestinian land and unjust controls over Palestinians in the occupied territories, I was accepted and treated as a friend.”
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4231.
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