Look for the arts to hasten the Middle East public peace process.
    "The arts can engage our humanity and deepen our understanding of difficult social issues, " says Leah Lamb ( LeahLamb@gmail.com ), creator of the new Performance Initiative -- http://www.performanceinitiative.org/ .

     Consider these examples:
        Theatre -- BLOOD RELATIVE , by Traveling Jewish Theatre
        Comedy -- AHMED AHMED and RABBI BOB ALPER
        Painting -- SEMITES, by Doris Bittar
        Kitemaking -- 10,000 KITES~TALKING KITES
        Photography -- OPENING OF THE HEART, by Beverly Boos
                           THIS LAND TO ME, by Barbara Glover
        Storytelling -- A LAND TWICE PROMISED, by Noa Baum
                        by Audrey Galex & B.J. Abraham
        Music -- IN MY HEART, by Israeli David Broza and Palestinians Said & Wisam Murad
                       ART TO THE NATIONS

     The power of cinema can strongly influence and reflect the human condition. Film can portray what is inspirational or spiritually destructive.
     ". . .we are struck by the increasing worldwide power that the film and television media have in shaping the values of people throughout the world," says Cinema in Focus ( http://www.cinemainfocus.com/ ).
     "Today, even the worst films produced in the US take in more money overseas than they do at home.
       "We strongly urge people who are concerned about the spiritual health of our world to understand the impact that the media has in our lives, and to encourage those who make moral stories which come to life on the screen.
     "One film which includes positive spiritual values can reach over a billion people in less than 90 days."

     Two new cinema examples of positive films for the Middle East public peace process are:
                1.  TALKING PEACE
                2.  WEST BANK STORY

        Released 2005 -- 28 minute DVD -- Produced by Mark Freeman
                ( MFreeman@mail.sdsu.edu )
        On the Web at http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~mfreeman/films.php?id=6
        Cost::   Individual and Dialogues - $29.95 (Contact Trudi Cohen and cite purchase code TP1)
                Non-profit groups - $69.95  /  Educational institutions - $195
                Add $8 shipping and handling for all orders
        To order:  Phone: (800) 723-5522 
                     On the Web, link to the distributor, Cinema Guild, from:

     This is the best film in North America about Palestinian-Jewish Living Room Dialogue.
     TALKING PEACE takes viewers inside a San Diego Dialogue and tells a compelling story of two sides coming together through the simple act of listening.
     In the living room of Jim Rauch, a Jew, and his wife Doris Bittar, an Arab, the stage has been set to create an alternative to living with hatred.
     In their home, Jews and Palestinians share their stories and their pain governed by only one rule: to truly listen to each other.
     Although the documentary gives viewers an insight into the history of unrest, the story is more about the people than the politics, of a region in which both side continue to exchange claims and blame and bombs.
     Among the participants are a businessman, a teacher, an artist, a karate instructor, a physicist and an engineer.
     Compelling, first-hand narratives, documented with poignant archival footage, provide a perspective of how their lives have been shaped by the violence and fear that haunts Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East

"...a magnificent piece....There are moments in this film that I do not think I will forget....Its raw immediacy brings the transforming power of dialogue to new audiences."
     Dr. Farid Abdel-Nour, Faculty Coordinator
     Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies at San Diego State University
"Talking Peace" Documents Jewish/Palestinian Rapprochement"
"Peace of the Puzzle"

        Released 2005 -- 22 minute DVD -- Produced by Ari Sandel ( AriAri@comcast.net)
        On the Web at http://www.westbankstory.com/
        View a trailer at http://www.westbankstory.com/html/trailer.html
        Cost:  $23 (includes shipping)
        To order: Write a check for $23 to "Sandstone Entertainment" and mail to:
                        Sandstone Entertainment
                     340 Cloverdale Avenue (#304), Los Angeles, CA  90036
                        Tel: 323-938-3030
     A little singing, a little dancing, a lot of hummus -- WEST BANK STORY is a musical comedy by Ari Sandel, to complete his 2005 Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Southern California. 
     The film's quality belies Ari's own youth and understanding of humor to help Palestinians, Jews, and everyone discover our frustration and pain, and especially our desire to do better, be courageous, and create a new, excellent life for ourselves one by one.
- - - - - - - - - - -
     This Sundance Film Festival official selection is set in the fast-paced, fast-food world of competing falalfel stands in the West Bank. 
     WEST BANK STORY is about David, an Israeli soldier, and Fatima, a Palestinian fast food cashier - an unlikely couple who fall in love amidst the animosity of their families' dueling falafel stands in the West Bank.
     The question is posed:  Can the couple's love withstand a century-old conflict and their families' desire to control the future of the chic pea in the Middle East?
     Tensions mount when the Kosher King's new pastry machine juts onto Hummus Hut property.  The Palestinians ruin the machine and the Israelis respond by building a wall between the two eating establishments. 
     The couple professes their love for each other, triggering a chain of events that destroys both restaurants and forces all to find common ground in an effort to rebuild, planting a seed of hope.

     Reflecting producer Ari Sandel's spirit, twenty-five percent of WEST BANK STORY sales will be gifted equally to two projects in the Holy Land that model reconciliation and healing. These people illustrate what life will be like down the road, to help Palestinians and Israelis overcome fear and have the confidence to move toward one another, in the spirit of WEST BANK STORY.

     Hand in Hand schools seek to spark revolutionary change in Israeli education and society by establishing a new educational paradigm: integrated, bilingual schools where Jewish and Arab children and their families learn and grow together. Hand in Hands mission is to catalyze the creation of a network of integrated schools around the country, providing Jewish and Arab parents the option to send their children to schools where they can learn and interact with all their neighbors. They are on the Web at:

     The Parents' Circle - Bereaved Families Forum is nearly 500 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost loved ones in the conflict. Yet they reject violence, travelling and speaking side by side to call on both peoples to reconcile, in the spirit of WEST BANK STORY.  Always Arab and Jew together, they facilitate classroom Dialogue sessions in high schools, promote the "Hello Peace" telephone chat line for  communication between Palestinians and Israelis, hold a summer camp for the children, and tour the Middle East and North America creating hope in the hearts of both peoples.  They are on the Web at: