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Online Toolkit

Part 3 - The Peace Bag Partners, Projects, and Peacebuilders

Palestine

Holy Land Trust is a regional organisation working for the empowerment of the Palestinian community and its engagement with a respectful, egalitarian and peaceful co-existence. It works in strengthening the internal Palestinian society through non-violent ways of resisting, through workshops about non-violence to youth in the community. In addition, it works on uplifting the community toward a better future based on non-violence education, tolerance, equality and freedom.


Summer Academy 2010

Nonviolence

Summer Academy 2010 was a 4-week project for children aged 9-14, giving them the opportunity to do something meaningful during the summer.
The main goal was teaching children about negative effects of violence, and the effectiveness of resolving conflicts through peace.

Methods used: activities were based on Drama & Theatre, one of the easiest ways to let children distinguish between good and bad, while allowing them space to be creative.

Results: The children came from their different backgrounds (cities, villages, and refugee camps), and the project brought out their creativity, and demonstrated their capacity for harmonious interaction.


Meet a Peacebuilder:

Salam! I am Said Zarzar, 22. I graduated in 2010 from Bethlehem University holding a BA degree in Arabic Literature and Translation. I've also been a drama, theatre and folk dance trainer for the last five years. For me, I believe that Arts is the best tool of non-violence resistance, since it's peaceful and it reflects the truth.

There was an event which affected me deeply; it was after my best friend's family was shot in their car by mistake, by the Israeli forces. All her family, including herself, were injured; and she lost her 12 year-old sister. But, after that terrible accident they became more faithful and more peaceful. Her mother says: "Christine is now an angel, and angels are God's tool for peace; she would be very sad, if any of us committed to violent behaviour."

This accident was the turning point for me, on how some cannot hate but can forgive. And that is what motivates me; knowing that my society needs peacebuilders. I started out as a peacebuilder four years ago, with the inspiration from St. Francisco of Assisi. Personally, I think he is the best example of peace. He believed that "God [can] use me as a tool for... peace."

One of the main challenges in my society is the behaviour and responses of young people towards violence, and convincing them that things can be settled through non-violent means. My friend Elias Deis is a good example of this. His calm persona and charisma allows him to get whatever he wants. Moreover, he believes in his job as a non-violence activist.


The country

The on-going conflict in Palestine has brought the country's standard of living to a decline. Palestinian youth in occupied lands are marginalized, and suffer injustice and fear with the blockade impinging social rights.[54] Palestine's education system has been a growing concern, with a number of schools closed and some children having no access to education at all. Reports also indicate children are exploited and used as cheap labour.

Palestinian NGOs and international organisations (such as the Anna Lindh Foundation and the UN) have actively promoted youth targeted cultural and social projects, with the aim of bringing Muslim and Christian communities together; improving intercultural exchange between Palestinians and Europeans; strengthening unity among Palestinians themselves; and encouraging mutual comprehension and recognition between Israelis and Palestinians.[55]

On March 15, 2011 a youth movement protest calling for reconciliation between the two political parties governing the Palestinian Territory, Fatah and Hamas, took place. This was born out of the growing need, as the youth sees it, "to rehabilitate the scattered Palestinian national body by holding Palestinian National Council elections that include all Palestinians, regardless of geographic location and circumstance. Its ultimate goal is to reconstruct a Palestinian national programme based upon a comprehensive resistance platform." [56]