Depressed that most Jews and Palestinians still want to "take sides" and blame the "other" -- a prescription for failure?
Hopeless about the poverty of creativity, the poverty of spirit, the poverty of courage?
Angry that political "leaders," wanting votes and personal position above all, move no further than the condition of the people -- distanced, ignorant of one another, fearful, distrusting, catering for popular approval?
In fact, new research in neurocardiology teaches us that the heart -- with many cell's like the brain's -- acts in brain-like ways to direct the rest of our thinking and acting.
So touch hearts in positive ways, to help people's brains become more useful, imaginative, and wise in ways that "facts" and "information" cannot.
Learn about "Emotions: The Inside Story," at http://www.heartmath.org/estk_t/emo_intro.html .
the beauty and safety of camps in nature, Jews and Palestinians -- Muslims,
Christians, Jews, Israelis, Arabs -- are touching one another's hearts.
Some of the camps we know about are described at http://traubman.igc.org/camps.htm .
SOME RESULTS: a wealth of new relationships, creativity, hope, and courage -- life for all the peoples back home.
Read the stories not seen in most traditional broadcast and print media.
Pass on the stories; they can transform people.
Become creative where you live.
IN THE HOLY LAND:
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Heart to heart, THE SULHA PROJECT recently brought together about 4,000 Palestinian and Jewish Israelis, including a large delegation from the West Bank, for two days of understanding and closing chasms.
Sulha is an indigenous, Middle Eastern way of reconciliation. They rebuild trust among neighbors, Arabs and Jews, as a grassroots contribution to the public peace process. In a safe place, even in these excruciating and critical times, they hear and appreciate each others' stories, hopes, fears, traditions and cultures beyond a specific political agenda.
See them on the Web in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, at:
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For two weeks this summer, GIVAT HAVIVA , a beacon of responsible research, information, and was turned into a "pulsating day camp" by 165 Jewish and Arab children from the Wadi Ara-Menashe region. In the shadow of the Givat Haviva Peace Tree hewn by Arab and Jewish youth last summer. The were guided Jewish and Arab teenage councilors, some of whom participated in the Peace Tree project the same time last year.
The camp results from close, sustained working relationships promoting co-existence built over time between local Arabs and Jews, and involving many hundreds of local youth and educators from both communities. Read about them in Hebrew, Arabic, and English:
IN NORTH AMERICA:
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This was the third year in Seattle, Washington for The Middle East Peace Camp for Children -- Arabs and Jews. "The camp was a tremendous success this year, we're all so excited and can't wait for next year," e-mailed a woman organizer. It is on the Web at:
Look at headlines from the local newspaper and TV media:
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In its first year, Peace Camp Canada, with 20 Jewish and Palestinian campers, has two co-directors:
If you read French, an article about them both is at:
Read their side-by-side statements are at:
Published in the The Globe and Mail -- Ottawa, Canada --
Friday, August 6, 2004
Israeli, Palestinian teens talk peace in Ottawa
Participants take part in 10-day debate
By GLORIA GALLOWAY
OTTAWA -- Ten Israeli and 10 Palestinian teenagers spent yesterday morning getting to know a bit about each other before launching into a 10-day debate on the difficult and often deadly issues that serve as their divide.
But first, the participants in Peace Camp Canada heard from Michelle Divon, the 18-year-old daughter of Israel's ambassador to Canada, whose own Ottawa experience inspired this experiment in international peace-building.
"I said that I was really hoping that they would take . . . this new vision, and what they would go through in the next 10 days, back to their own communities and hopefully affect what is happening there," said Ms. Divon, one of the camp's two co-directors.
"The vision was to pull people out of the area of conflict so they can really be able to get a new perspective, get a better perspective. . . . That's what helped me."
It was early in the last school year at Ottawa's tony Ashbury College -- the same school that is hosting the peace camp -- that Ms. Divon's own deeply ingrained perspective on the conflict in her homeland took a sharp turn to the centre.
Her friendship with Tara Ogaick, the child of an Iranian mother and Canadian father living in Saudi Arabia, had begun badly. Both stormed away from a classroom argument about the Middle East -- one replete with insults, barbs and harsh generalizations -- believing they had little reason to like each other.
Then Ms. Divon started to wonder how she could hope for peace in her homeland if she couldn't even communicate with a schoolmate in Ottawa. So she made overtures of conciliation to Ms. Ogaick, who responded in kind. And the two became fast friends, eventually bringing Lana Ayoub, the daughter of the Jordanian ambassador, into their circle.
In the end, the three-way relationship dramatically altered their views about the strife that has coloured their lives. And this week, Ms. Divon, an 18-year-old with a maturity beyond her years, hopes to replicate that experience for the Peace Camp Canada participants.
There are similar camps in Israel, she said yesterday. But "it was only when I left that I was able to question myself, question the conflict. . . . It was the first time that I was given the opportunity to socially interact with people of Arab descent."
Her partner in this venture is a 27-year-old university student named Forsan Hussein, who was born and raised in a small Arab village called Shaib in northern Israel. Ms. Divon had read about his lifelong interests in peace-building in an Israeli newspaper. "I said I have to contact this individual," she explained. "I was looking for a counterpart so it could be a true joint effort and I found the perfect match."
The students will have a life-changing experience, Mr. Hussein promised. Israelis will share rooms with Palestinians.
They will eat together, sleep together and -- most important -- communicate together.
Among the 20 participants are Muslims, Christians and Jews, Mr. Hussein said. "You have Ethiopian Israelis, you have Israeli Arabs, you have Palestinians who come from East Jerusalem, from the West Bank."
For many, it is the first time they have been to North America. For some, it is the first time they have ever travelled.
The campers were chosen on the basis of application forms that asked what they thought they could accomplish over 10 days and take back to their own communities.
"We're not here to talk to the ones who want peace already," Mr. Hussein said. "We're more interested in talking to the ones who think peace is a challenge."
The tone set during first few hours was friendly.
"However, we are coming here to talk about the real issues that many of our leaders can't even handle," Mr. Hussein said. "There will be a lot of tension, I'm sure. But I know they will bring that tension to a positive energy where they can channel it to better peace work."
The camp, which cost about $100,000 to organize, has been funded through local donations, and the campers essentially received scholarships to participate, he explained.
Mornings will start with debates about the Middle East, but there will also be drama sessions, field trips and life lessons in which they will explore religion and the meaning of the human existence.
"We're hoping that they will go back and bring this new way of thinking back to their communities and affect the people around them," Ms. Divon said.