Youth Leaders Talk Peace - Make Peace 2006
The Palestinian uprising (Intifada el Aqsa) together with growing oppression of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation, created condition that makes every cooperation between the two peoples on grassroot level extremely difficult - almost impossible. In spite of this harsh situation, past partners
( Friendship Village and the Palestinian Scout Movement - Jerusalem Section) that experienced very successful cooperation in the Talk Peace - Make Peace project, expressed their wish to find ways to renew dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian young leaders (age 18 - 25), through realisation of this successful Project.
Regarding the unclear future, we submit two alternative ways for cooperation:
A - If the political situation will improve and open meetings between the partners will be possible.
B - The violence and the oppression will keep on, therefore ways to meet openly will be limited.
The Project will develop a dialogue, between young Palestinian and Israeli Youth Organizations' leaders, in order to learn about each other on the personal, the cultural, the social and the political levels. The purpose is to develop an open relationships and to build trust between young leaders that will - at least some of them - join in the next future, the circles of decision makers of the two societies.
The organizations participating the project, do not endorse any particular political solution to the Middle East problems. They believe in the rights of the Palestinian people to self - determination, including the right of a sovereign independent state, accept the legitimacy of the Palestinian National Authority and believe in the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security within its borders, as agreed upon by international agreements.
Project objectives and background
A - Following the last stage of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 1999 - 2000 and the outburst of the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation in October 2000, the newly conceived peace process between the State of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority stopped. Powerful political forces on both sides succeeded to eliminate almost every achievement of gradual peace - building efforts that existed since the beginning of the Oslo process. The rival partners went back to the historic means for settling disputes between these two communities living in the “Holy Land” - to brute force and violence. Unfortunately, these extremist forces find support in their populations. Mutual hostility, fear and hatred run so deep, that any provocation from either side raises high waves of rage and violence.
In this frustrating, dangerous time, we must remember that this situation has been existing with ups and downs, for almost hundred years. Any effort to change, obviously faces enormous difficulties.
On the other hand many people believe that peaceful coexistence and cooperation, based on mutual respect and equality and takes in consideration the vested interests of both side is vital for the survival of both peoples. The main obstacles are mutual suspicion and mistrust. It must be clear, that no formal agreement between politicians and leaders can be stabilized, if majority of the involved people don’t accept it. Norms, values and entrenched habits must change. No sustainable peace can establish, without structuring a “culture of peace”. This change has to start with the young generation, above all with its potential Leadership.
B - The Project’s purpose is:
To develop a dialogue, between young leaders of Palestinian and Israeli Youth Organizations, many of them – according to historical experience - use this position as a launching pad for future political and social leaders in their societies, in order to build open relationships and trust between the partners, through learning about each other on the personal, the cultural, the social and the political levels.
C – The basic idea of the „YLTPMP“ project was developed in 2005 by members of the two organizations’ staff, as a dialogue development program between future young leaders of Palestinian and Israeli societies, while focusing on Youth Organizations' leaders. Following the successful realisation of "TPMP" project in 2005, in participation of young political activists and leaders in charge, funded mostly by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Canadian Ministry for Development, we believe that dialogue between young leaders of the two societies should expand toward this direction too .
D – We have to announce, that about half of the TPMP Project’s participants from 1999 still keep in touch – some on permanent basis, some occasionally, (One of them is now the Mayor of A-Ram township). All of them still hold in moderate opinions and are ready to cooperate with the other side. A similar attitude can seems to develop also among participants of the 2005/6 YLTPMP Project's participants.
E – A group of future political and community leaders, will be prepared to accept the other side as it is. Through developing personal relationships and introducing the participants, that some of them will be in the next future, in position of local leadership, to way of mind of the other side, to peaceful relationships with former foe, to methods of facilitating conflict management, they will be more capable to lead their societies toward a better and more peaceful future than the present ones do.
Number of participants :
Fourteen participants from each side: all together 28 young leaders. All of them active in Youth Organizations of their societies,
Age: 20 - 35
Schedule: Start – 1 August 2005. End – 31 May 2006
Half-day and full day sessions - once in fortnight.
Weekend activities - once in a month.
The full program will take 10 month.
note: The Project will be under the responsibility and the guidance of the Palestinian Scout Movement and the Friendship Village. It will run as a joint project of the two NGO-s.
Site: Joint meetings in nearby countries, such as Turkey, Cyprus, Jordan. Uni-national sessions in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv.
1 - Long weekend meeting of all participants in Turkey or Cyprus. ( three days)
Content: Interpersonal acquaintance. Expectations from the Project. Presentation of the program
Cultural acquaintance. Stereotypes. Self determination. The political situation. Fear of the
peace - on both sides. Vested interests of the two sides.
2 - Eight monthly sessions, in which each side will run separately parallel program. From the
other side only lecturers will take part in the activity.
A - Making acquaintance with the Palestinian society and the Israeli society (full day )
B - Impact of the occupation on the Palestinian society - and the violence on the Israeli society
( full day )
C - The two societies - changes during the last 100 years ( half day )
D - Narratives of the two nations about their history. ( weekend )
E - Islam and Judaism: different directions in the two religions (full day )
F - Jewish - Arab relationships during the history. (half day )
G - Israeli and Palestinian leading figures. Biography and ideology. (full day )
H - Meeting with Israeli and Palestinian public figures (full day )
3 - Long weekend meeting of all participants in Turkey or Cyprus. (three days )
Content: To clarify unclear subjects that arouse during the course.
The two administrations - in brief
Summing up the Seminar. Ways for further cooperation.
Criteria of success: 1 -The respectful opinion of participants from both side about each other and the relationships between them.
2 -Their recommendation to keep on the Project.
Responsibles to managing the Project:
Friendship Village: Jonatan Peled Palestinian Scout Movement: Jamal Julani
Total cost: 68,430 $