Holy Land change must first be modeled by citizens

14 February 2010



     The first large scale gathering in nearly a decade of Palestinians and Israelis in a city controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), was held in Jericho.
     Over 120 peace organization leaders convened for the Annual Bilateral Conference the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum (PIPNF) .
      Arousing major interest at the conference were two recent public opinion polls conducted by the PIPNF in Israel and the PA (including Gaza).
     The respective populations' positions on peace activities were assessed.  
     THE GREAT PARADOX of both peoples is reflected in the results..
        (1) Both peoples support the peace process, by overwhelming majorities.
        (2) The same Palestinian and Israeli majorities do not trust an agreement can be reached by governments.
     They do not trust.

     Let's have Clarity about Change.


1.  We cannot trust someone we do not know.

2.  Almost all Palestinians and Jews have still never met in any depth.

3.  Governments cannot move beyond the people.

4.  Trust and trustworthiness precede treaties.


5.  Widespread citizen-to-citizen relationships will precede treaties.

6.  Far beyond "wanting" peace, citizens in large numbers must move outside their front doors into face-to-face relationships and acts of goodwill.


            "Faith is not sitting down on a chair that isn't there."

                        -- Harry J. Rathbun 

                            American educator  (1894-1987)

Believing and trusting


"Tell me, and I might remember.

Show me, and I might believe.

Let me experience, and I will understand (and trust)."

        -- Principle of Koinonia Southern Africa


     Like today's Holy Land Jews and Palestinians -- including inside Israel -- in apartheid 1980s, black and white South Africans lived physically and emotionally worlds apart.
     Koinonia ("fellowship") Southern Africa was established to bring two worlds together.
     Blacks and whites courageously and successfully engaged at the heart, face-to-face, sharing meals and personal narratives, sometimes in public and at risk to their lives.
     From within, person-to-person, they grew to involve thousands more citizens who helped transform the fabric of their culture.

     WATCH :

Koinonia experience of engagement and change

5-min video


2nd Hebron-Jerusalem
Young Adults Interfaith Encounter

      Quietly on the evening of Thursday, January 14, 2010, the newly founded Hebron-Jerusalem Young Adults Interfaith Encounter Group held its first meeting at the Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem.
     Since all the Jewish participants present were fluent in Arabic they decided to hold the meeting in Arabic.
     Building trust, starting at the heart -- humanizing one another -- they began introducing themselves, co-facilitated by Mo'atasem and Ayelet.
     The Palestinians and Jews decided that future group meetings will be held in Arabic and Hebrew, rather than English, with translation as needed by the bilingual participants.
     This is the 32nd relationship-building group initiated by the courageous, competent Interfaith Encounter Association --  http://www.interfaith-encounter.org/ .

Chicago Jewish-Muslim
Community Building


     Trust and community is being built -- step by step -- among Muslims and Jews in Chicago.  
     February 5, 2010 several hundred of Chicago's Muslims and Jews again met at their Cafe Finjan -- a series of ongoing interfaith arts exchanges begun in 2002.
     Cafe Finjan's series establishes points of contact, and nurtures a greater understanding between Jews and Muslims of Chicago.
     Citizens of these diverse backgrounds are creating spaces to come together in safety and give voice to their diverse identities and life experiences as part of a larger community.
     Cafe Finjan cultural events are sponsored by JCUA, the Chicago chapter of the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals, Mitziut Jewish Community, the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, KFAR Jewish Arts Center, American Muslims for Activism and Learning, United Muslims Moving Ahead, Interfaith Youth Core, Inner-City Muslim Action Network and Hebrew Meetup.

Cafe Finjan: 2020 Vision


Chicago Jewish, Muslim Leaders Reaffirm Solidarity, Condemn Hate

by Naazish YarKhan

Huffington Post -- 11 February 2010



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These and hundreds of other success stories are preserved at http://traubman.igc.org/messages.htm