Spirit of Humanity. Photo used with permission. creativecommons.org
On June 30, Israeli Occupation Forces captured the Free Gaza boat, Spirit of Humanity, with 21 human rights workers aboard, including Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
Maguire is co-founder, with Betty Williams, of the Community of Peace People, an organization which attempts to encourage a peaceful resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
McKinney, who is calling upon President Obama for help, was also the Green Party Presidential candidate.
The US news media, President Obama, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have so far been silent concerning the capture and subsequent incarceration in Israel of the 21 human rights workers.
IsraCast.com reports that George J. Mitchell Jr., special envoy to the Middle East, had a meeting in New York with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on July 1.
IsraCast.com said, "After a four-hour meeting ..., Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. Middle East (envoy) George Mitchell have reduced the gap over Israeli building in West Bank settlements."
But nothing in the fairly lengthy article mentioned whether the two discussed the Spirit of Humanity and her kidnapped passengers.
The key to discovering the path to peace in the Middle East may have much more to do with finding ways to allay fear than with building bigger and better weaponry, since it is people's raging fears that motivate them to bizarre and antisocial reactions.
Might an army of psychologists fare better than the troops currently engaged there?
Certainly a battalion of Danaan Parrys, Founder of Earthstewards Network, might be able to offer creative solutions that war and aggression haven't unearthed.
Danaan Parry founder of Earthstewards Network
The late Parry's work in conflict resolution around the world was a model of intentional peacemaking. He worked in Northern Ireland, bringing together Catholic and Protestant teens to plant trees and communicate. In 1983, he brought groups of Soviet citizens to the U.S.A. and American groups to the former Soviet Union to melt the fears and prejudices that have often divided the people of these countries.
In 1990, Earthstewards began the Israel-Palestine Compassionate Listening Project, which promotes Jewish-Israeli-Palestinian friendship.
The Compassionate Listening Project is based on a simple yet profound formula for the resolution of conflict: adversaries giving the gift of listening. They say that to help reconcile conflicting parties, we must have the ability to understand the suffering of all sides.
Dr. Raymond Deane
The following exchange of letters, between Dr. Raymond Deane, and Derek O'Flynn, Press Officer, Israeli Embassy, Dublin, illuminates some of the baffling aspects of Israel's stance. Deane was a founding member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), was its Chairperson from 2002-2005, and is at present its Cultural Boycott Officer.
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