2006-10-05 / News

Israeli, Palestinian women to speak about conflict in the Middle East

By Dotti Farrington

The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston is participating in the 12th Jerusalem Women Speak tour organized by Partners for Peace in co-operation with such groups as the URI Center. The center conducted seminars this past summer in Jamestown for teens and adults.

The tour of three Israeli and Palestinian Women - a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim - focuses on "Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared Vision." They will talk about their personal realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, their call to end the war and suffering in the Middle East, and their hopes for a just peace.

Among events on their tour in New England, and elsewhere in America, will be presentations in Rhode Island, including one at the Newport library Oct, 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. and others at Providence, Rhode Island colleges, and Providence Presbyterian Church.

The speakers will be Ghada Ageel of Khan Younis and Shireen Khamis of Beit Jala, Palestine, and Rela Mazali of Herzlia, Israel. They represent "that even today in the midst of the ongoing conflict, there are Palestinians and Israelis willing to travel together to talk about their lives, their fears, their hopes, and their work for a just and sustainable peace," organizers said.

Each woman lives the hardships of conflict and the tragedy of occupation in unique ways. Each has witnessed the deterioration over the past six years of Israeli- Palestinian violence and the intermittent attempts to rekindle peace talks. They plan to talk about the loss of family, demolition of homes, persecution, occupation, violence, separation barriers, and recent conflict escalations while they remain convinced that "peace, while difficult, is possible."

Details are available from the URI Center at 874-2875 or at www.partnersforpeace.org

Local event

The Jamestown summer seminars focused on peacemaking in conflict situations using primarily Kingian peace principles and methods to deal with conflict issues and the application of such practices in situations ranging from personal to global.

The URI Center, which has international participation, emphasizes a primary principle, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" that the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., practiced and promoted. Participants were asked to identify conflicts that concerned them, and to identify Kingian ideas and actions that could help them find resolutions as part of on-going preparation and lifelong development of the art of nonviolent conflict reconciliation.

Seminar leaders guided participants through observations about individuals, families, communities, and nations who routinely use force and violence to achieve their ends, and how the active, moral force of nonviolence is a force more powerful than physical strength or systemic power. The seminars developed ideas for creative ways to achieve justice and fairness, and to build mutual understanding among people at all levels.

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