In Focus

Engaging Youth in Ramallah

In November, the Palestinian Peace Coalition-Geneva Initiative held a two-day seminar in Ramallah, focusing on the role of youth in bringing a positive change to their society and politics.
 
As part of the seminar, the young participants heard lectures from various experts, including former minister and member of the Palestinian negotiating team Samih Abid and PPC-GI Director Nidal Foqaha. The two spoke about recent efforts to achieve internal Palestinian reconciliation, and the opportunities and challenges faced by the peace process with Israel.
 
One of the highlights of the seminar was a conversation with the Finnish representative in Ramallah, Ambassador Anna Kaisa. The Ambassador spoke about the Finnish experience in empowering youth, and especially young women, to bring forth change in their society.

Israeli Russian-speakers meet young Palestinian political activists for the first time

 
In early November, we brought together a group of young Palestinian political and social activists and a group of young leaders from the Israeli Russian-speaking community. None of them has ever set down for a serious conversation with someone from the other side before.
At the end of the meeting, one Palestinian participant said that for the first time in a very long period, he is hopeful about the future. “I met people like me today, they want peace and security for themselves and their children. I think that that is what the majority of Israelis and Palestinians want. We just need to figure out how to make our voices heard.”
This meeting was made possible through the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development.

The View from the Other Side: Seminar for young Israelis and Palestinians

One of the things we like to do when we bring together Israelis and Palestinians is to let them play the role of peace negotiators – only, we ask the Israelis to represent the Palestinian side and the Palestinians to represent the Israeli side. We did this exercise during a seminar we held in late October fr young Israelis and Palestinians, and one hour later, we had a very surprised group of people. “I found out that what I’d thought were red lines for Palestinians – regarding borders, refugees, security - are not red lines at all”, said one Israeli participant after playing a Palestinian negotiator. “and it’s funny – all I needed to do was to ask them what they really think about these issues, something I’ve never done before”.
 

Partners from Across the World: Meeting the Chinese Special Envoy

 
On October 29th, the Geneva Initiative’s Israeli director Gadi Baltiansky met with the Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue Gong Xiaosheng. The two discussed China’s potential role in the Middle East Peace Process and the peace education activities carryied out by the Geneva Initiative in Israel and Palestine.

Geneva Initiative Briefing for European Diplomats

A Geneva Initiative delegation recently traveled to Bern, Switzerland, to brief representatives from key European states about our efforts to promote peace. We talked about making peace from the bottom up, starting at the level of the people; and we presented concrete ways to help people on both sides overcome the many psychological barriers that make conflict resolution so difficult.
Having worked with tens of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians over the years, we always say that there are partners for peace on both sides of the conflict (we know, because we’ve met them). But the truth is that while there are two parties to the conflict, there are many more partners for peace: peace supporters in Israel and Palestine have friends in the international community that are determined to help them resolve their conflict.
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