A few thoughtful Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist Internationals had gathered at dawn for the first Christmas Morning Bethlehem to Jerusalem Peace Walk for all the children in the world.
We gathered in prayer and to remember that we were half way through the United Nations Decade of Creating a Culture of Nonviolence for ALL the Children of the World.
During Holy Land Trust's Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance Conference in Bethlehem on Dec. 29, 2005, I learned during the workshop sponsored by the United Network of Young Peacebuilders [UNOY] and the Netherlands Expertise Centre Alternatives to Violence that the United Nations Decade of Creating a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World was NOT supported by the USA. I learned that America abstained from voting YES and is on the Record as stating "We cannot support this initiative as it will make it harder for us to wage war."
A Rodef Shalom, Pursuer of Peace and American living in Jerusalem reports good news:
It has been a trying time in the Holy Land, with immense suffering for the people of Gaza, Israel and Lebanon. We ask you keep sending prayers for peace and healing in this most difficult time.
In the midst of all the awful news coming from our part of the world, I also want to report to you some of the positive news.
1) The Second World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace
2) The Abrahamic Reunion meets in Tel Sheva, June 20
3) Religious peacemakers and grassroots peace groups respond to the war
SECOND WORLD CONGRESS OF IMAMS AND RABBIS FOR PEACE
in Seville, Spain March 19-22
Over 100 Jewish and Muslim religious leaders, and 100 experts in Jewish-Muslim dialogue work came together for 3 days of dialogue, prayer, and practical project building. Joining us were eight Muslim sheikhs and Imams from the Gaza Strip.
The mayor of Seville welcomed all of us, recalling that during the Golden Age, Seville was a place where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived in and peaceful co-existence together.
At the plenary the Palestinian Imams from Gaza emphasized the difficulty of everyday life for the citizens of Gaza. There was some tension, as some of the rabbis felt that the discussion had turned from religious to political. One rabbi later said, it's important for us to listen to our brothers from Gaza even if we don't agree with everthing.
Andre Azoulay, the Jewish advisor to the King of Morocco, asked me to organize an evening of sacred singing with the Muslims present at the Congress. The Imam of the Dome of the Rock, Abdel Karim al-Zorba led the beautiful chanting, reciting Quranic verses and Islamic poetry.