Reprinted with permission from Peace News
December 2nd, 2017

The Israel-Palestinian conflict has been raging for 70 years. Numerous peace attempts have been made at a state level, but a different approach is emerging.

Minds of Peace is being lauded for trying something new in peace negotiations: getting the two Middle Eastern communities to communicate.

”One of the missing components in almost all of the peace processes so far is the participation of the people in the struggle to end the conflict,” said Dr Sapir Handelman, Minds of Peace founder.

“Without public involvement, it is impossible to build an effective peace process and to end the conflict,” he said.

Minds for Peace host public meetings where rival group representatives can negotiate solutions.

“The idea is very simple: You take an Israeli delegation, and a Palestinian delegation, in front of an audience, and the most important thing within the delegation is to seek people from within all the political spectrum and from all walks of life,” Dr. Handelman said.

They have conducted 26 public negotiations in the past 3 years, about difficult issues like borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and security. Almost all ended with agreements.

“Our mission is to translate this result to a mass movement that will lead to the establishment of a major Israeli-Palestinian public negotiating congress with political power,” Dr Handelman said.

“We have two choices…killing each other or living together,” said a congress attendee, Maze. “And the whole Israeli [delegation} and the whole Palestinian [delegation] – all of them said to me ‘we want to live together’.”

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  1. I just came back from a 3 week stay in Israel I can tell you that MANY Muslim\Arabs are HIGHLY integrated into Israeli society. One is led to believe there is absolute division and separation between Jews & Arabs. Arabs enjoy free reign in where they go, where they eat and where they shop. They go to outside & inside malls, restaurants and shops. They are both merchants and shop owners. They are members of the government and work in hospitals as Dr’s Pharmacists etc. Those who wish to participate in society do…but seldom do they make the news because it is far more exciting to report fights, protests and demonstrations.
    Let us assume their are differences between Israelis and those who call themselves Palestinians. Everyone knows they have far more in common with Israelis than what divides them. If you ask who they prefer to govern their region, the majority will tell you , Israel. Bottom lines is this: All of those who live in the West bank, those who participate and those who do not, have a VERY high degree of autonomy upon their lives and experience a far higher level of living than their brothers in other Arab lands. Peace is good and truly the only way forward. But peace must be for peace’s sake not as a ploy to undermine the State of Israel

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