Seminar for Young Activists from Israel and Palestine

In late October, the Geneva Initiative brought together 20 young leaders from Israel and Palestine for two days of lectures, discussions and joint work in the city of Nazareth.
 
 
The weekend seminar focused on key issues of the conflict and solutions proposed by the Geneva Initiative, and provided participants with detailed knowledge and a toolkit for promoting the two-state solution. It also demonstrated to the participants that there remains a partner for peace on the other side.
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 on the second day of the seminar, 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”.
 
In the days following the seminar, several of the participants shared their experiences with friends on Facebook. One of them, a very prominent social and political activist, wrote after the seminar: "across the wall, there are young people who – like us – study hard and want to find a good job and to spend time with their friends. And if you sit down with them for a talk, you'll find out that despite the wall, bridges can be built".