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Making Peace in a Messy World

By       Message Larry Snider     Permalink
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In the midst of the unfolding Arab Spring, the Palestinian mission to the United Nations, the Shalit Deal, the renewed activity of Islamic Jihad, the European economic meltdown and all its international ramifications it is difficult to focus on a strategic policy to motivate let alone move the principals, (the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority), to engage in the dialogue necessary to restart the peace process. Both sides have constructed and reinforced barriers that preclude conversation which in turn precludes progress in any meaningful fashion towards an agreement between the parties to create two free and secure states for two ancient peoples who are related by birth and birthright and by a geography that requires education, understanding and forgiveness. It is impossible to make progress in this environment unless one looks closer at the astounding level of so called track two activities that are continually occurring on the ground in Israel, Palestine, the Middle East, Europe, the United States and around the globe. The problem is that individually they represent a drop in the bucket and there is no force on earth to actively connect all the dots, (all the activity by hundreds of organizations and thousands of people), that is occurring every day to bring former enemies together, to identify the service of agencies, to nurture the relationships necessary to shift the despair that is weighing down faith and hope and the dreams of millions of people to move beyond a conflict that seems to be endless. It is necessary to look beyond the despair, to see beyond the limits of the pundits and all the officials who no longer believe that peace is achievable. It is necessary to do a great deal more. One must hope and dream and act to help change a system that has calcified anger and fear and deadlock and frozen the good will of countless people in Palestine and Israel, in Europe and beyond and even here in the United States. The 21st century has provided us with the tools to communicate and listen and learn and become not only active but smart in our responses to the events large and small that not only shape our lives but shape the world. We can choose to engage, to see and to become involved in the work in our communities that is changing the world. I represent a little non-profit; ICMEP, the Interfaith Community for Middle East Peace that is located in the Philadelphia area. We bring the faiths together locally to learn about and from each other and held our fifth facilitated Interfaith Conversation of 2011 on November 6th at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Titusville, NJ.   We bring peacemakers from the Middle East to speak in congregations, academic and community settings to share their experience and some of their moxie with the public in ways that inspire involvement. But what we hope and pray for most is that our work will reach out to many others who do not share our viewpoints or have not been inspired to see the value in getting personally involved in peacemaking. We believe in peacemaking at home and peacemaking abroad and began by traveling together to Israel/Palestine in March 2008 to listen to a wide variety of voices from politicians and peacemakers to religious and community leaders as well as victims of a tragedy that keeps on claiming new victims. We have come home to share what we heard and to continue the work with the dream that together we will grow to inspire, involve and make a difference.



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Larry Snider is the President of the Interfaith Community for Middle East Peace; ICMEP. He founded New Hope for Peace, a dialogue and educational forum in 2001 and is a member of the Greater Bucks County Peace Circle. He is author of numerous (more...)

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