Some encouraging news, for a change

04.03.03

Israeli and Palestinian youngsters are learning about diplomacy at an Israeli mock U.N. conference:

Ramzi Sfeir, a 17-year-old from the Palestinian village of Bet Jalla, never believed that Palestinians and Israelis could agree on anything.

But after he was offered a chance to sit at a mock negotiating table with Jewish Israelis his own age, he says that many of his preconceived notions just faded away.

“I learned that you can talk without fighting,” he said, after participating in a model United Nations in Israel, aimed at teaching diplomacy skills to youth. “I also learned that Jews have convictions we can’t change and that Judaism is like a nationality for them. [The Jewish participants] also came to understand us better.”

Though there are hundreds of model UN programs in countries around the world, Israel is one of the only Middle East nations to host one; and is the only one with a special committee that brings Israelis and Palestinians together to negotiate regional issues.

This won’t create peace in the middle east. But it seems to be an extremely valuable step, because unlike other left-wing efforts to “bring together” Jewish and Arabic kids and teens in Israel, this one doesn’t shy away from the thorny political issues. Instead, it gives the participants a forum to attack them head-on, but in a non-violent, diplomatic way.

There are no miracle solutions. Only baby steps. This seems like a good one.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa 04.04.03 at 12:57 PM

Seems like the first good news in ages… thanks =)

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2 Ramzi Sfeir 01.30.05 at 1:22 AM

Hello, I am Ramzi Sfeir and this article is not Very accurate,The journalist Invented the First part! If I participated at this debate,its because I always believed that peace Can only be achieved by negotiations and not by violence! Thank you…

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