Monday, April 19, 2004

Peace Starts With Children

Yesterday's events in Israel and Gaza made me wonder if there's any hope for peace between Palestinians and Israelis. I don't approve of Hamas' acts of killing innocent people on buses or in restaurants. If you want to fight, put on a uniform and go fight the soldiers not the civilians. That applies to both sides.

I must confess that I'm not a big fan of either Arafat or Sharon. These two people are not helping any peace-loving Israelis or Palestinians. To have hope in reaching a peaceful agreement, both sides need to appoint moderate politicians, who could listen and understand the opposite party's point of view. I admire Abu-Mazen, and was sad to see him resign from his position as a Palestinian prime minister. I also admire Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak. Unfortunately, good negotiators can't stand being around people, who want to control their decisions.

So, what's the solution?

Peace, like anything else we learn in life, better start at an early age. It would be TOO HARD for people to become accustomed to it at an old age. So, it's understandable when older generations of Israelis and Palestinians can't forget many of their old scars and start anew.

The Peace Research Institute in Tel Aviv, founded by Shimon Peres, is doing precisely what I wrote above. They're trying to get Israeli and Palestinian children to know each other. The institute matches children from both sides with a family member or someone they know, who died or got injured by an attack from the opposite side.

The institute's peace team for soccer was in Dallas a few weeks ago. They participated in Dallas Cup XXV. The children spent time together. They forgot their disagreements and differences. They played together as one team. The Palestinian children stayed with Jewish families from Dallas/Fort Worth and vice versa. Read the complete story of their Dallas experience here. It's one of a few reports I've read lately that brought me hope.

I can only look forward and not backward. My husband thinks of me as a baby optimist, who believes there must be a pony since there's all this poop. That's how I really am. I can only look forward and hope for the best.

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