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Israeli Activists Elude Roadblocks to Meet Palestinians for Peace
an article by Adam Keller

This morning (June 28) in Ramallah, a hundred Israeli peace activists eluded military roadblocks in order to meet like-minded Palestinians.

"We welcome the increasing move towards Hudna (cease-fire) and the chance to break the cycle of violence, bloodshed and killing of innocent Israelis and Palestinians - but.... a stable and lasting peace cannot be achieved without putting a complete end to the occupation which is the root cause of the hatred and bloodshed. Leaders, politicians and diplomats cannot be relied on to do the job alone. There is needed a daily struggle for peace, a grassroots struggle, a joint struggle of committed citizens from both sides, acting together."

The above sums up the mood among two hundred Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, public figures and intellectuals who gathered this morning in Ramallah on the West Bank to attend the founding conference of the "Joint Action Group for Israeli-Palestinian Peace."

In order to get there, the Israeli participants had to find their way through the army roadblocks at the entrances to Ramallah.... A few hours later, when they were exiting the city, soldiers at Kalandia wrote down meticulously names and ID numbers, threatening the Israelis on their way home with prosecution for having broken a military order - the three-year old order forbidding Israelis from entering the Palestinian cities ("Area A").

"I am happy to receive and host here so many peace-seekers", said Hanan Ashrawi, one of the main Palestinian organizers. "The approach common to all of us here, to Israelis and Palestinians alike, is based on the concept of security - not military security, but human security, creating mutual trust and recognizing the humanness of the other.

Uri Avnery, who had a central role in bringing about the conference, mapped out a plan of action for the new body: - setting up a committee of experts to prepare within three months a detailed draft peace agreement, dealing with all the difficult issues; - including a "Truth and Reconcilation Commission" on the model of the South-African body chaired by Bishop Desmond Tutu, with the aim of looking at the history of the past century and trying to formulate a version which both peoples can recognize...

The supreme sacrifice of Rachel Corrie was commemorated... and a delegation of conference participants met shortly with President Arafat, who was reported to welcome the joint initiative.

[Moderator's note: The preceding report is excerpted from the full press release which you can read on the discussion page].


Question(s) related to this article:

Do idealistic initiatives have an impact on history?,

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Latest reader comment:

Quote (CPNN Administrator @ June 29 2003,08:20)
Readers' comments are invited about this discussion question or about the article on which it is based.

I believe that only idealistic initiatives have a postitive impact on history.  I am thinking of the positive outcomes of the work of Gandhi and Desmond Tutu -- two idealistic, smart and committed people.  Due to the many difficulties their historical movements, faced their positive impact seemed uncertain.

Similarly In the case of Isreal in Palestine the positive outcome of idealistic peace initiatives also does not seem certain now.  However, in the future the impact will be clear in retrospect.  PEACE WILL REIGN!!

This report was posted on June 29, 2003.