CITIZENS:  The only viable Arab-Jewish peace-builders today

Sunday, 26 June 2011


"There are some things only governments can do,

such as negotiating binding agreements. 

But there are some things that only citizens outside government can do,

such as changing human relationships."

            -- Dr. Harold Saunders, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, and

                 Negotiator of five Arab-Israeli treaties

 "It is the network and nexus of dialogue groups, grassroots organizations,

not-for-profits in the US, Israel/Palestine and elsewhere whose missions are

designed to advance equality, promote relationships, and lay the groundwork for peace,

that has the potential to become a grassroots movement.

Such a movement is necessary to stem the tide of negativity and the ideology of

racism and hate that is so pervasive in the current political climate.

Therefore, these groups and organizations should be encouraged, supported,

financed, and promoted by everyone who still has faith, because

they are for now the only viable source of peace-building between Arabs and Jews."

            -- Nurete Brenner

                 in The Magic of a Dialogue Group  (2011)



                        based on Brenner's 2011 Ph.D. thesis:


                        A Study of Arab-Jewish Grassroots Dialogue Groups in the United States



    In her 2011 book for our times, Israeli author Deb Reich clarifies:  "The path to a post-enemies future will be made by those who walk it."



by Deb Reich

Joshua, Joshua & Reich; April, 2011, 400 pages


     Let's consider and emulate some of the exemplary citizens who refuse to be enemies.
     Right where we live.

Friendship Across Borders (FAB)

     Israelis, Palestinians and Germans -- adult mentors and university students -- meet and reconcile.
     Rejecting violence and insisting on face-to-face engagement, they are determined that their shared histories of destruction, humiliation, and death be redeemed with empathy, cooperation, and creativity.
     Meetings are in East Jerusalem and Beit Jala, at Sapir College near Sderot,and in Heidelberg and Wurzburg.
     The women and men share narratives together, tour together, study together, eat together, laugh and cry together, dance together, plan together.

     The Muslims, Jews, and Christians support one another during the hardest times, rejecting military occupation, settlement-land grabs, violence in Silwan and Ras el Amud, rocket attacks on Sderot, and the harming of innocent people.
     They admit: "We do not always agree, in fact we often disagree with one another. We often get emotional, sometimes angry, sometimes wondering how the "other" cannot understand.  But we talk about our lives and our understandings. 
     We stay in constant contact.  We keep the dialogue and joint work going."

     These citizen-leaders  are dedicated to making co-existence work. 
     Even when it's hard going.
     Especially when it's hard going.
     In Mid-June 2001 was born their new Facebook page in English, Arabic, and Hebrew.
     VISIT them at!/pages/FAB-Friendship-Across-Borders/189735567713363

Olive Trees
Awaken Shared
Holy Land Activity

     Largely unreported, throughout the year, many different collectives of Palestinians and Israelis leave their homes to meet, relate, and harvest and planet olive trees.
     One exciting day, dozens of such women and men went together to the village of Salem near the city Nablus.
     The time is after the harvest is over, when most of the land is ploughed, the ground is moist from recent rains.
     The field is prepared for the joint venture of planting olive trees.
     Establishing roots in relationships and farming for a sustainable community together.

     It was a spectacular sight to see two nationalities taking responsibility in their own hands.
     Young children, teenagers, and adults were smiling, talking, laughing and shaking hands with each other.
     READ there words:


"We are going to be with people, encourage them and show them that we are with them no matter where or under what circumstances, and to help them with the most basic thing land, everyone's land.

            Shoshi Enbal, Israeli teacher 

This joint action can definitely serve as an example to our leaders to make peace.

            Buma Enbar, Israeli elder

"Let's be together and end this war.

            Zaki Ahmed Mohamad Shtayh, Palestinian teen:

I hope there will be peace, because it's really fun.

            Shira Ziv, Israeli 11-year-old


     WATCH them together:



Israelis and Palestinians Plant Olive Trees Together For Peace

NDT-TV News -- 02 March 2011

2-min video

Enemies No More
on U.S. College Campuses

     Samia Moustapha Bahsoun and Brenda Naomi Rosenberg could be enemies.
     Samia is an Arab American pro-Palestinian of Muslim descent.
     Brenda Naomi Rosenberg is a Jewish American Zionist.
     Samia lost her grand-mother and grand-aunt to 1982 raids on Southern Lebanon by Israel, whose ongoing activities she sees as primary cause of today's crises.
     Brenda's identity is inseparable with the history of Jewish pain and fear, and the people and land of Israel.

     In 2009, these apparent "opposites" first met at an international conference -- Sustained Dialogue Groups in Dialogue -- described at
     READ more about this moment:


ENEMIES NO MORE: The power of sustained dialogue

by Saliba Sarsar

05 May 2009

     Today in 2011, Brenda and Samia have sustained their maturing relationship.
     Even more, together they created TECTONIC LEADERSHIP --
     The Jew and Arab model, and train others in, "a new way of leading, a new way of living."
     They discover and develop pairs of leaders from opposite sides of a conflict to take joint ownership in transforming the relationship, facing challenges together, finding solutions together.
     Working together, the pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian have discovered and taught that a citizen can and must become pro-both, pro-everyone.
     SEE MUCH MORE at:


Tectonic Leadership Center for

Conflict Transformation and Cross Cultural Communication

7:46 min video -- June 2011

We're Better Together
Demonstrate U.S. Students

     More U.S. students continue exporting solutions instead of only importing problems from overseas.
     Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) student interfaith leaders have achieved remarkable results helping diverse college students engage and find common purpose on nearly 100 college campuses.
     Acting "Better Together" -- -- students from over 70 campuses coast to coast are successfully engaging across faiths and traditions to change their relationships and the world.


Better Together Campaign Film

40 sec. video -- Feb 2011

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These and hundreds of other success stories are preserved at