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Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis

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Projects that work to foster peaceful and productive co-existence between Israelis and Arabs (including Palestinians) fall into various categories.

Policy groups, foundations and projects

Major policy groups, foundations and projects.

Part of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
and Arab–Israeli conflict series
Israeli–Palestinian
Peace Process
Is-wb-gs-gh v3
      Israel</tr>       West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights a
Negotiating Parties
Palestinian territories
Palestinians
Israel
Israel
History
Camp David Accords · Madrid Conference
Oslo Accords / Oslo II · Hebron Protocol
Wye River / Sharm el-Sheikh Memoranda
2000 Camp David Summit · Taba Summit
Road Map · Annapolis Conference
Primary Negotiation Concerns
Final borders  · Israeli settlements
Palestinian refugees  · Security concerns
Status of Jerusalem  · Water
Secondary Negotiation Concerns
Antisemitic incitements
Israeli West Bank barrier · Jewish state
Palestinian political violence
Places of worship
Palestinian territories  Current Leaders  Israel
Mahmoud Abbas
Salam Fayyad
Benjamin Netanyahu
Shimon Peres
International Brokers
Diplomatic Quartet · Arab League · Egypt
United Nations European Union Russia United States Arab League Egypt
Other Proposals
Arab Peace Initiative · Elon Peace Plan
Lieberman Plan · Geneva Accord · Hudna
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's realignment plan
Peace-orientated projects · Peace Valley  · Isratin · One-state solution · Two-state solution · Three-state solution · Middle East economic integration
Major projects, groups and NGOs
Peace-orientated projects · Peace Valley  · Alliance for Middle East Peace · Aix Group · Peres Center for Peace

a The Golan Heights are not part of the Israeli-Palestinian process.

Valley of Peace initiative

The Valley of Peace initiative is an official joint effort of the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian governments to promote economic cooperation, and new business initiatives which can help both sides work together, and create a better diplomatic atmosphere and better economic conditions. It constitutes a co-existence project, as it is mainly designed to foster efforts in the private sector, once governments provide the initial investment and facilities. [1]

Joint economic cooperation between Israeli officials in Gilboa and Palestinian officials in Jenin has begun to have major results and benefits. In October 2009, a new project got underway promoting tourism and travel betwen the two areas. Major new business efforts and tourist attractions have been initiated in Jenin. [2] The two regions are planning a joint industrial zone which would bridge the border. Palestinians would produce locally-made handicrafts and sell them through Gilboa to other regions of the world. Another possible project is a joint language center, where Israelis and Palestinians would teach each other Arabic and Hebrew, as well as aspects of their cultural heritage. [3]

Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce

The Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2009. Its chairman is Eival Gilady, and its CEO is Ofir Gendelman. It has already held its first conference, at which Tony Blair was the keynote speaker. It is dedicated to promoting development of joint economic initiatives and businesses. [4] [5]

Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP)

The Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) is a group which comprises over 70 leading non-governmental organizations which working to foster reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. [6]

One of ALLMEP's proposals is an independent International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace to support and encourage efforts to build peace in the region. [7]

Aix Group

The Aix Group is a unique working group that researches, produces and disseminates position papers that seek to identify economic scenarios and propose economic recommendations, in order to promote win-win outcomes for Palestinians and Israelis.

The group includes Israeli, Palestinian and International economic experts, academics, members of economic organizations, and officials from international institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, who participate in the Aix Group in their personal capacities.

Friends of the Earth Middle East

Friends of the Earth Middle East is an organization which brings together environmental activists from Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories, to work on common issues.

Mejdi

Middle East Justice and Development Initiatives (Mejdi) is a local grassroots Palestinian organization which was founded by Aziz Abu Sarah, a young Palestinian activist who seeks to advocate cooperation and reconciliation efforts. Mejdi seeks to promote dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. one part of its peacemaking efforts is to promote local economic development, and strengthening of economic cooperation and Palestinian small businesses. [8] Abu Sarah has been consistently involved in a range of workshops and efforts in which he has promoted greater efforts towards reconciliation and dialogue between individual Israelis and Palestinians. [9]

Peres Center for Peace

Peres Center for Peace was founded by Shimon Peres and carries out various policy analyses to advance efforts for peace.

Civil society groups

Major efforts doing broad initiatives to build civil society, and not rooted to any specific locations or events.

McGill Middle East Program for Civil Society and Peace Building

A project developed under the Montreal Consortium for Human Rights Advocacy Training, in 1997 the McGill Middle East Program (MMEP) launched a number of store-front, community run, rights-based community practice (RBCP) centres to strengthen the poorest, most underprivileged communities in Jordan, Israel and Palestine. A select group of fellows from the three regions take part in year-long Canadian fellowship program, which incorporates a Masters of Social Work at McGill University with intensive peace building sessions between the fellows. Today, over 50 fellows have participated, returning to open and run 8 centres of the RBCP model to assist and empower over 110,000 mideast residents per year. With this success, plans are currently being developed to increase the program's capacity tenfold. More details of the program can be found here.

Community Advocate Mentor Program - Middle East

Initiated in the Spring of 2007, the Community Advocate Mentor Program - Middle East is a five-year project of the International women's democracy center dedicated to facilitating dialogue and bolstering the diplomatic skills of Israeli and Palestinian women leaders in the community and government.[10]

CAMP-ME targets women leaders with demonstrated backgrounds in peace and co-existence initiatives and brings them to Washington, DC where they share hotel rooms for their two-week program on Capitol Hill. There are several objectives of the program. Most importantly, CAMP-ME creates an environment removed from the conflict zone to foster dialogue and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. CAMP-ME also provides valuable training for the women leaders to promote their agendas at home as well as giving US Congressional Members first-hand access to those who live in the conflict. The bi-partisan Congressional team for CAMP-ME has been led by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy.

Peace Settlers

Founded in 1993, Peace Settlers focuses on promoting a real, pragmatic dialogue between Jewish, Arab, Christian and other minority residents of The Land. With the understanding that a political solution to the Israel-Arab problem is not possible, the organization strives to make people understand that we are obligated to act first and foremost as human beings towards one another and seek accommodations which will enable people of all religions and nations live together in peace and respect towards the others' civil/civilian rights. The organization promotes the sanctity of life as one of the basic tenets of belief and action that should be common to all people of the earth.

The movement was not as active after the Second Intifada made meetings between Israelis and Palestinians all but impossible. With Hamas now taking a position of leadership among the Palestinians, Chairman Cohen sees a possible breakthrough possible should Hamas repent and embrace the true will of G-d. [1]

Many Israelis[who?] are very suspicious of the peace movements due to the heavy funding they receive from non-Jewish sources such as the EU and their willingness to cede to the Arabs what many[who?] believe is the cradle of Jewish civilization.[clarification needed]

Ta'ayush Arab-Jewish Partnership

Formed in the fall of 2000, Ta'ayush (Arabic for "coexistence") is a grassroots movement of Arabs and Jews working to break down the walls of racism and segregation. It engages in daily actions of solidarity to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and to achieve full civil equality for all Israeli citizens. Ta'ayush

Grassroots projects, joint projects and locally-based efforts

These are groups who work primarily through local-based efforts on the ground, and creating actual joint events, rather than major policy initiatives. Also includes groups who promote joint economic efforts, projects and development.

Givat Haviva's Jewish-Arab Center for Peace

Givat Haviva is an education, research and documentation center, founded in 1949 by Ha'Kibbutz Ha'Arzi Federation; it is located in the northern Sharon Valley of Israel. According to its website " The mission of Givat Haviva today is to cope with the major issues that are on the agenda of Israeli society, and to foster educational initiatives, research and community work in the fields of peace, democracy, coexistence, tolerance and social solidarity."

Givat Haviva sponsors the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace. "Established in 1963, the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace is one of the oldest and most prominent institutions in its field. The common bond of the dozens of projects conducted in the Center is the struggle for better relations between Arabs and Jews, better understanding of the essence of democracy and citizens' rights in Israel, and building bridges with our Arab neighbors." One of the Center's leading dialogue projects is Face to Face. Givat HavivaHa'Kibbutz Ha'ArziJewish-Arab Center for PeaceGivat Haviva peace projectsFace to Face

Hewar Center for Peace and Development

The Hewar Center for Peace and Development is a secular Palestinian non-profit, NGO. They were formerly known as the "Palestinian Peace Movement" (however, the name was recently changed due to confusion between their non-profit organization and other Arab peace groups who have no ties to them). The Arabic word "Hewar" means "dialogue", and the organization strongly believes that Peace can only be brought about through discussion.

Hewar is headquartered in the Qalqilia/Azzun/Jayyus region of the West Bank (all three cities are surrounded and severely affected by the Wall). Hewar's very dedicated board of directors has gone to great lengths to become certified Peace Facilitators, learn Hebrew, and organize discussions between Palestinians and Israelis in neutral countries. They have an excellent track record of success with their Israeli-Palestinian dialogues, work closely with the Israeli group Neve Shalom-Wahat Al Salam (NSWAS), they also receive grant money through US-AID.

Hewar has been working diligently on creating an English website to increase their exposure, but due to difficulty with communication (they've devoted their time to perfecting their Hebrew, not English), so the site is still in its beginning stages. However, an American counterpart is in the process of incorporating, and expects to receive tax exempt 501(c)3 status before the New Year. They also hope to complete an English website on the US group, which will of course include the successes of their Palestinian counterpart.

Green Action

Green Action is an Israeli non-governmental organization which advocates for environmental activism and social change [11], and has brought Fair Trade and organic Palestinian olive oil to the Israeli market.[12] Avi Levi, the director, travels frequently to the West Bank to work with Palestinian farmers, helping them set up and maintain cooperatives [13] and obtain organic and fair trade certification. The products are packaged under the SAHA label. SAHA is an acronym for Sachar Hogen, fair trade in Hebrew, and is also the Arabic word, Saha, meaning well-being or good health. [14]

In addition to olive oil, the main agricultural product of Palestinians in the West Bank, Green Action also sells za'atar, dibbes, organic fruit jam, herbal infusion and pressed olives.[15] The olive oil is also sold in bulk worldwide including to Australia and the US. In the US, Olive Branch Enterprises of Seattle, Washington buys Green Action in bulk and bottles it under the Peace Oil label. [16]

The Green Action - SAHA Fair Trade Website

Peace Oil

Olives of Peace

Olives of Peace is a joint Israeli-Palestinian business venture to sell olive oil. Through this project, Israelis and Palestinians have carried out joint training sessions and planning. It has also led to Palestinian oil production being enriched by Israeli components. [17] It has produced olive oil which has been sold under the brand name "Olives of Peace." [18] This is related to Peace Oil (UK) and Peace Oil (USA).

Neve Shalom-Wahat Al-Salam (Oasis of Peace)

The Israeli Jewish-Israeli Muslim Village of Neve Shalom – Wāħat as-Salām (NSWAS) means "Oasis of Peace" in Hebrew and Arabic. NSWAS provides a remarkable model of longterm coexistence. Formed in 1970 on land donated by the Roman Catholic Church, NSWAS sits between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. They organize humanitarian projects, including providing medical assistance for Palestinians.

They are also home to three schools, two for village and other area children, and they have a training facility called the School for Peace. The children's classes run from pre-school through Middle School and are all taught by both Muslims & Jews in their native languages. The School for Peace however is designed for adult Arabs and Jews from all over the area to learn about each other in controlled seminars run by trained Peace Facilitators.

NSWAS has had many notable visitors over the years. Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, and many others including Roger Waters (aka Pink Floyd) who has performed several benefit concerts in the small village urging Israel to "Tear Down the WALL!"

An American branch recently incorporated under the name "American Friends of Neve Shalom" they are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that raises funds in the US for NSWAS programs (similar support groups also exist in the EU, and elsewhere).

Hamidrasha Jewish-Arab Beit Midrash

Hamidrasha, a center for study and fellowship, works to address alienation, estrangement, and mutual ignorance between Jews and Arabs. Hamidrasha is establishing an inter-cultural Beit Midrash (Hebrew, "House of study"), which will serve as a basis for mutual personal and communal encounters, and for the study of cultural narratives and modern texts of both peoples. Jewish, Muslim and Christian men and women will engage in a true inter-cultural learning experience, with the goal of making a significant contribution to the ongoing dialogue between Jews and Arabs, and strengthening their reciprocal ties.

Ir Shalem co-existence program

In many ways the city of Jerusalem has been at the center of the conflict. The Israeli political movement Peace Now in 1994 has created an initiative called Ir Shalem, the goal of which is to build a peaceful equitable and inspiring future for this city, with Jewish and Arab citizens working together to find solutions based on equity and justice. This program brings together volunteer architects, planners, lawyers and other professionals to analyze problems, and offer solutions. Among other efforts, Ir Shalem is developing the first-ever planning model for East Jerusalem that will equitably meet the needs of the Palestinian community. Ir Shalem

Seeds of Peace

Seeds of Peace was founded in 1993 by John Wallach after the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. He created the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Otisfield, Maine, USA, and brought together several dozen Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian teens. The goal of his organization was to create a new generation of leadership in the Middle-East, one in which both Arabs and Israelis would no longer accept outdated and harmful stereotypes about each other; this would occur by bringing together people to literally put a human face on those who were previously perceived as an enemy.

Since that time Arab children from Morocco, Qatar, Yemen, Jordan, Tunisia and several others have joined. Seeds of Peace camps now operate programs in the Middle East as well. Seeds of Peace has also branched out into bringing teenagers together to help solve the Balkans conflict, the dispute over Cyprus, racial conflict in Maine and the Indian-Pakistani dispute. Seeds of Peace

Cultural and scientific works and groups

Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization

The Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization is a nongovernmental nonprofit established in 2004 to support collaborative research between scientists in Israel and Palestine. Founding members of IPSO include Nobel prize winning neuroscientist Torsten Wiesel.[19]

The West-Eastern Divan

Founded in 1998 by Israeli-Argentinian pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian-American author Edward Said, the West-Eastern Divan (named after an anthology of poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) promotes a cultural dialogue between Israelis and Arabs. A principal activity is an orchestra composed mostly of young Israeli and Arab musicians, who are demonstrating the potential for collaboration between the two cultures on the universal ideas that are communicated by great classical music. They have performed throughout the world. Barenboim has also made this point by going into Palestinian areas and giving piano recitals and master classes.

Comedy For Peace

Comedy for Peace is a non-political effort to use humor to build trust, understanding and a vision for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Comedy for Peace was conceived and is being organized by Ray Hanania, a Palestinian-American stand-up comedian – who is married to a Jewish woman. It is Ray’s hope that the power of comedy combined with the power of two peoples coming together on one stage will help Palestinians and Israelis find the courage to look past the pain and the suffering of the conflict and see each other as human beings, as partners and as people who have no other choice but to struggle together to achieve a lasting peace.

Tolerance Monument

A Tolerance Monument sculpted by Czesław Dźwigaj in collaboration with Michal Kubiak is situated on a hill marking the divide between Jewish Armon Hanatziv and Arab Jebl Mukaber, standing opposite the United Nations headquarters in Jerusalem in a park near Goldman Promenade. Unveiled in Jerusalem in 2008, it was funded by Polish businessman Aleksander Gudzowaty as a symbol to promote peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[20].

Educational efforts

Middle East Education through Technology (MEET)

Middle East Education through Technology (MEET) is an innovative educational initiative aimed at creating a common professional language between Israeli and Palestinian youth. Working together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MEET enables its participants to acquire advanced technological and leadership tools while empowering them to create positive social change within their own communities.

Program founders Yaron Binur, Anat Binur, and Assaf Harlap became aware that many Israelis and Palestinians never get a chance to interact with one another on a personal level, even though they grow up and live a few short miles from one another. Inspired by their experiences of multicultural cooperation in international educational institutions, the founders decided that a fast-paced, intensive program in technology would be an ideal medium to bridge the divide. With this vision, they created MEET in the summer of 2004.

MEET seeks excelling Palestinian and Israeli high school students; admission into the program is very competitive. Once admitted, students meet continuously for three years. Their first summer includes instruction in basic Java programming; this extends into the first yearlong segment of the program. The second summer includes more advanced topics in computer science and introduces a business and entrepreneurship curriculum. The program is capped by a long-term project beginning in the second yearlong segment and extending into a final summer term. Alumni activities maintain the student network after graduation.

MEET graduates have been accepted into top universities in the region and abroad, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [21]. The skills and bonds of friendship forged by MEET students, combined with the students' natural talents, prepare them for a successful future of leadership, achievement, innovation, and cooperation.

Aside from its partnership with MIT, MEET has been supported by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (which has donated lab space for the summer sessions since MEET's inception), Al-Quds University, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and other national and international organizations[22], as well as many individual volunteers from around the world. MEET's Website

Hand in Hand Bilingual Arab-Jewish Schools

Hih-logo2-small

Hand in Hand's logo

Hand in Hand runs a network of four bilingual (Arabic and Hebrew) schools that serve more than 800 students in Jerusalem, the Galilee (Galil Jewish-Arab School), Wadi Ara (Hand in Hand "Gesher al HaWadi" School) and Be'er Sheva. Half the students are Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the other half are Jewish citizens of Israel. Students study in both languages simultaneously, and plans call for an eventual expansion to the 12th grade. [23] To Hand in Hand's Website in English

The Institute for Circlework

The Institute for Circlework organizes workshops in Israel that unite Jewish and Arab women, with a particular focus on women leaders. The intention of these workshops is to awaken global consciousness, that is, the awareness of our commonality as members of the human family and of a single planetary community.

Circlework is a method developed by a German-Jewish author and seminar leader, Jalaja Bonheim (www.jalajabonheim.com), which she has been practicing and teaching in the United States for 25 years, and in Israel since 2005. Circlework uses circle gatherings to create a field of open-heartedness and love powerful enough to heal individuals and communities. Circlework is based on the assumption that the root causes of violence and war lie within us, and that our own consciousness is where change must begin.

The Institute for Circlework offered its latest series of circles in Israel during the Gaza war. To read an account, visit their web site.

Political activists

Groups of political activists who work for peace through efforts based on political goals and measures. Includes some groups which are composed of activists from one side of the conflict, and some groups which include activists from both sides.

OneVoice, a project of the Peaceworks Foundation

According to their website "OneVoice is a global undertaking to: "Amplify the voice of moderates; Empower Palestinians and Israelis at the grass-roots level to seize back the agenda away from violent extremists; Achieve broad-based consensus on core issues, configuring a roadmap for conflict resolutions. OneVoice...was developed by over two hundred Palestinian, Israeli and international community leaders...dedicated to strengthen the voice of reason."

This group rejects what they see as left-wing appeasement of Palestinian terrorism by leftist groups; they reach out to moderate liberal and centrist Israelis who want to advance the peace process; they reach out to Palestinian moderates who reject terrorism and suicide-bombings; they work to cultivate a moderate political leadership on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and are trying to pressure both the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority into reaching a just peace. One Voice: Silent No Longer One Voice FAQ

"Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice"

The Union of Reform Judaism, the congregational arm of American Reform Judaism, has created a project called Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice. According to their website, their goal is: "to educate and mobilize North American Jewry to support peace efforts and social justice causes in Israel.... This campaign will encourage the North American Jewish community to examine the risks and rewards of peace for Israel and the Palestinians, and to undertake critical, constructive public dialogue on the most pressing social issues facing Israel today — including the status of Arab citizens of Israel and other minorities, as well as other issues of inequality and discrimination." Seeking peace, Pursuing Justice

The Abraham Fund

According to their website, "The Abraham Fund Initiatives is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting coexistence between the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. Through advocacy and awareness campaigns, and by sponsoring coexistence projects, The Abraham Fund Initiatives fosters increased dialogue, tolerance and understanding between Arabs and Jews...." The Abraham Fund

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, "is a national organization of American Jews committed to Israel's well-being through the achievement of a negotiated settlement to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It believes the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians long for an enduring peace and that security for Israel can only be achieved through the establishment of an economically and politically viable Palestinian state, necessitating an end to Israel's occupation of land acquired during the 1967 war and an end to Palestinian terrorism. Brit Tzedek believes that many American Jews share this perspective, but are reluctant to express themselves for fear they may bring harm to Israel and the Jewish people. Through education, advocacy, local chapter activities, and work with the media, it seeks to generate greater dialogue within the American Jewish community in order to direct U.S. foreign policy toward the realization of a just peace." Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Brit Shalom/Tahalof Essalam

The Jewish-Palestinian Peace Alliance consists of both Jewish and Palestinian peace activists working for reconciliation. It generally favors binational confederation or two-state coexistence, drawing upon fringe historical and contemporary movements as varied as Uri Avneri's pan-Semitism, Buberian Zionism, and even aspects of rightist Canaanism for inspiration. Contributors to its website include Gideon Levy, Doron Rosenblum, Avraham Burg, Batya Gur, Meron Benvenisti, Shahar Smooha, Yossi Sarid, David Grossman, Yitzhak Frankenthal, Tony Judt, Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights, Gilad Atzmon, and Baruch Kimmerling. Brit Shalom/Tahalof Essalam

Israeli-Palestinian Confederation

The Israeli-Palestinian Confederation Committee is a group of volunteers who joined together to create a mechanism for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Our members include Muslims, Jews and Christians from all walks of life. Our purpose is to facilitate a mechanism for Israelis and Palestinians to resolve conflicts in a fair and equitable manner. We take into consideration the existing reality. We do not aim to benefit one side over the other. We have a detailed plan to create a confederate government between the Israelis and Palestinians that would deal with the issues important to both sides. Furthermore, we believe that a confederate government can help both sides grow into the future without mutual destruction." Israeli-Palestinian Confederation Articles have been published in the The Jewish Journal, the Daily Bruin, and The Acorn. Audio of a January 22, 2007 radio interview by Sonali Kolhatkar with Josef Avesar can be heard at KPFK Archives

Combatants for Peace

Combatants for Peace (Hebrew: לוחמים לשלום‎) is an organization of Israelis and Palestinians who are veterans of armed conflict, and have concluded that there can be no solution through violence. The Israeli members served as combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, while the Palestinian members "were involved in acts of violence in the name of Palestinian liberation."

The organization, founded in 2005, supports a two-state solution to the conflict. A statement on their website says, "We call for the establishment of a Palestinian State, alongside the State of Israel. The two states can exist in peace and security beside each other."[24]

Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (JIPF) is a small group founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1982, for Swedish Jews who want to actively work towards a peaceful solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

JIPF's platform include demands for a full Israeli withdrawal, including the evacuation of the Jewish civilian population, from all territories that came under Israeli military control as a result of the Six-Day War, the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state with East Jerusalem as capital and a "solution" to the issue of the Palestinian refugees.

JIPF also advocates and participates in dialogue with Hamas and other designated terrorist organizations.

Jews for Justice for Palestinians

Jews for Justice for Palestinians is a United Kingdom-based organisation of Jewish people who wish to support the rights of Palestinian people.

ICAHD Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

ICAHD is a non-violent, direct-action group originally established to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories. As our activists gained direct knowledge of the brutalities of the Occupation, we expanded our resistance activities to other areas - land expropriation, settlement expansion, by-pass road construction, policies of "closure" and "separation," the wholesale uprooting of fruit and olive trees and more. The fierce repression of Palestinian efforts to "shake off" the Occupation following the latest Intifada has only added urgency to our efforts.

As a direct-action group, ICAHD is composed of members of many Israeli peace and human rights organizations. All of our work in the Occupied Territories is closely coordinated with local Palestinian organizations.

Since its founding, ICAHD's activities have extended to three interrelated spheres: resistance and protest actions in the Occupied Territories; efforts to bring the reality of the Occupation to Israeli society; and mobilizing the international community for a just peace.

ICAHD

Sadaka Reut

For years, Arab-Jewish relations in Israel have been tense and hostile. Israel’s declaration of independence and recognition as a Jewish state in 1948, providing a solution to the problem of the Jewish Diaspora and realizing the dream of the Zionist movement, was construed as a national catastrophe by the Palestinians, who lost their lands and properties and became one of the world’s largest refugee populations. Since then, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict passed through more and less violent phases, both sides never reaching an agreed-upon compromise that might end the conflict and ensure a better future for both peoples.

Today, the complex relations between the Jewish majority and the Palestinian minority in Israel are affected on the one side by the civil inequalities that exist between citizens and on the other by the fact that the national conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has yet to be resolved. The events of the past years, whether it be the second Intifada, the Oct. 2000 killings by Israeli police of 13 Arab citizens, the building of the Wall, the evacuation of the Gaza settlements and the following violence and the war between Israel and Lebanon in summer 2006, have all contributed to increasing the prevalent trends of segregation and discrimination throughout both communities. The fact that the Palestinian population of Israel is considered to be the largest weakened sector of Israeli society considerably adds to the already existing tensions. Such circumstances fuel distrust and violence, making Arab-Jewish cooperation for the creation of a joint alternative nearly nonexistent, especially among the younger generation.

At Sadaka-Reut, we believe that a broad bi-national struggle should be fought against all forms of discrimination and for complete civil equality within Israel, while a parallel struggle should seek to end the occupation and bring a just solution to the conflict. Sadaka Reut was founded in 1983 by a group of Jewish and Arab students sharing the vision of a better future for both communities. The organization works for social and political change in Israel through the promotion of a bi-national, multicultural and egalitarian society based on social justice and solidarity. Sadaka Reut focuses on youth education and community empowerment, looking to change attitudes on the long term by challenging the existing narratives and discourses concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and encouraging critical thinking and joint youth activism initiatives. In order to achieve these goals, we bring together groups of Jewish and Arab youth over extended periods of time, allowing them to overcome barriers of fears and stereotypes, while teaching them the importance of community involvement, providing them with valuable leadership skills and, through this process, creating a viable model for Jewish-Arab partnership.

Sadaka Reut operates unique projects in Israel, including Arab-Jewish youth encounter and leadership groups, workshops in high schools across the country, a volunteer commune and leadership training program, community empowerment work in the mixed city of Jaffa and an annual volunteer work camp. All of our activities are designed both to train our activists as agents for social change and empower weakened communities from all sectors of society. Guided by our young, qualified and extremely committed staff and volunteers, our graduates continue working in the social change field, both at Sadaka Reut and in other organizations that promote similar values and goals. [www.reutsadaka.org]

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

Jewish-Muslim dialogue

The American Jewish Committee

While forcefully speaking out against Islamic anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli rhetoric, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) has worked since 1985 to enhance relations between Jews and Muslims. The AJC encourages and engages in dialogue on many levels with like-minded groups committed to fostering tolerance and cooperation.

Their website states that "The American Jewish Committee has demonstrated a profound commitment to enhancing relations between Jews and Muslims, a vital part of its fundamental dedication to the promotion of interreligious understanding in the United States and around the world. Rejecting the inevitability of a "clash of civilizations," AJC has instead insisted on the possibility of a "community of civilizations" by encouraging dialogue on the highest levels with like-minded groups committed to fostering tolerance and cooperation. In so doing, we have achieved a number of breakthroughs in this vital arena. For well over a decade, AJC has dedicated itself to forging significant relationships with Arab and Muslim leaders around the world. AJC has traveled extensively in the Muslim world - from Morocco to Mauritania, through the Middle East and the Gulf states, to Indonesia. We have met with scores of Muslim leaders, including top officials of Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia, Bosnia, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia, and Indonesia, to discuss topics ranging from relations with Israel and the United States to the promotion of international Muslim-Jewish dialogue." Seeking to advance Jewish-Muslim relations

In 1986 the AJC publicly condemned the murder by bomb attack of Alex Odeh (in Oct. 1985), a leader of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Santa Ana, California. The AJC had a meeting with the Federal Bureau of Investigation director William Webster about this incident; they urged action to identify and punish those responsible for anti-Arab bigotry. In 1986 the AJC submitted testimony to the United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, on the topic of violence and discrimination towards Arab-Americans.

In 1991, on the brink of the Allied war against Iraq, the AJC issued a statement warning the public not to engage in discrimination towards American Arabs or Muslims. In part, they stated, "We are ever mindful of what happened to Japanese-Americans as a result of war hysteria shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. Some 120,000 Japanese-Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were evacuated and incarcerated in internment camps... without any evidence whatsoever that they were a threat to U.S. security. This must not happen again." (AJC statement by executive director David Harris)

From 1992 to 1995 the AJC worked to lobby the United States government to intervene on behalf on Muslims in Bosnia.

In 1993 the AJC sponsored the first national conference on "Muslims and Jews in North America: Past, Present and Future" with the Institute for Islamic-Judaic Studies at University of Denver in October. In 1994 they sponsored the second such conference. The third conference had to be canceled, when the AJC could not found Muslim partners who were willing to publicly condemn the current wave of terrorist attacks on Israel.

In 1999 the AJC helped aid Muslims in Kosovo.

In 2001 the AJC initiated a new project designed to advance understanding between Muslims and Jews by publishing two books: Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims, by Professor Reuven Firestone, a scholar of Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, was written to describe Judaism to Muslims; Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews, by professor Khalid Duran, was written to describe Islam for Jews.

Children of Abraham

Children of Abraham seeks to build an international community of Muslim and Jewish youth that celebrates their religious identities. Through an engaging project involving a photographic exploration of Jewish and Muslim communities around the world, and honest, unflinching online dialogue, participants form a network of advocates and ambassadors for ground-breaking Muslim-Jewish relations in six continents.

Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations

In July 2007 a new Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations was opened in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is partly financed by a £1 million contribution from Richard Stone, a Jewish philanthropist. In the first instance its students they will study common areas between the two religions. Eventually work will extend into more controversial areas, including the Israel-Palestine question.[25]

Nonviolent struggle

Albert Einstein Institution

Gene Sharp, senior scholar of the Albert Einstein Institution has written several books on the use of nonviolent struggle as a means for fighting dictatorship, war, occupation and invasion. In particular, his books on the use of nonviolent tactics as applied to the Arab-Israeli conflict offer a means for Palestinians to organize a nonviolent intifada that could be more effective in ending the Israeli occupation.

Publications

The Unification Movement

Reverend Sun Myung Moon has initiated several peace projects attempting to defuse hostilities between Muslims, Jews and Christians. In 2003 28 clergy from the United States toured Gaza in September 2003, despite the American Consulate's warnings of rocket attacks. They were warmly welcomed by local Muslim clerics.

American Muslim leaders

  • Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, imam of Masjid al-Farah in New York City and founder of the American Sufi Muslim Association (ASMA) Society.
  • Khalid Abou El Fadl, UCLA law professor, works with Jewish and Christian groups to promote inter-faith cooperation and dialogue.

See also

References

  1. A Mideast Valley of Peace, by Jennifer L. Schenker Businessweek article, May 29, 2008.
  2. Jenin now open to Arab-Israeli and foreign tourists, By RON FRIEDMAN, jpost.com, 10/9/09.
  3. Mutually assured prosperity, By RON FRIEDMAN, jpost.com, 10/15/09.
  4. Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce, Peres Center for Peace.
  5. Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce website.
  6. [http://www.allmep.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51:allmep-grows-to-over-70-organizations&catid=11:newsallmep&Itemid=25 ALLMEP Grows to Over 70 Organizations news, ALLMEP news, Thursday, 29 October 2009.
  7. 20009 ALLMEP Summit, group website.
  8. Mejdi website; Our Philosophy, accessed 12/25/09.
  9. To Fatah and back, By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER, jpost.com, Nov 19, 2009.
  10. International women's democracy center [International women's democracy center]
  11. Green Action is About Environmental and Social Change, By KAREN CHERNICK, Greenprophet.com, 7/1/2008
  12. Fair Trade In Israel, By KARIN KLOOSTERMAN, Treehugger.com, 6/7/06.
  13. Green Action Events: The SAHA Project Takes Off, Greenprophet.com, 12/10/2008
  14. The Official Website of Green Action - SAHA Fair Trade Fairtrade.org.il
  15. The Official Website of Green Action - SAHA Fair Trade Fairtrade.org.il
  16. Peace Oil Lubricates Cooperation Between Israelis and Palestinians By DAVID SOKAL, Culture of Peace News Network
  17. “Israel-Palestinian cooperation a decision that makes sense from the economic point of view”, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) a political foundations in germany for Mideast dialogue and cooperaton, Oct. 26, 2008.
  18. New joint Israeli-Palestinian olive oil brand launched, Ynet news, Published: 03.20.07.
  19. "Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization". http://www.ipso-jerusalem.org/. 
  20. KERSHNER, Isabel (2008-10-17). "Symbol of Peace Stands at Divide Between Troubled Jerusalem's East and West". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/18/world/middleeast/18jerusalem.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=tolerance%20monument&st=cse&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  21. Article about first MEET alumnus admitted to MIT
  22. Partial list of MEET's supporters
  23. Eli Ashkenazi, "The Jew comes to learn from the Arab - and it works," Ha'aretz English Edition (Israel), September 21, 2005.
  24. Combatants For Peace website
  25. The Times, June 28, 2007 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1996488.ece

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