If you’ve read this blog for any length of time then you know I like to spotlight important and courageous coexistence efforts in Israel/Palestine. Here’s another I recommend adding to your list of orgs to support: the Sulha Peace Project.
Founded by an Israeli, Gabriel Meyer, and a Palestinian, Elias Jabbour, Sulha sponsors a variety of impressive coexistence initiatives. Their signature program is their annual Sulha gathering, a three day event which brings together people of all ages and backgrounds to learn from one another, share each other’s cultural stories and experiences, and ultimately, to celebrate peace and reconciliation. Sulha participants represent a wide spectrum of individuals: women and men, children and adults; Muslims, Christians, Jews, Druze, Bedouin and Palestinians, both secular and religious.
The word “Sulha” is an Arabic term that refers to a traditional Islamic form of third-party conflict mediation. According to this tradition, clans involved in a dispute will sit down opposite one another with a mediator and arrive at a mutually acceptable compromise. (Notably enough, the three-letter root of sulha, S”L”H, comes from the same root as the Hebrew word that means “to forgive.”)
The next Sulha Gathering will be taking place August 26-28 at the Latrun Monastery. If you plan to be in Israel, I strongly encourage you to check it out. (In the meantime, here’s a great panoramic shot of the 2004 Gathering.)
If you don’t mind, I’d like to recommend (again) an article about Ibistam Mahmid, who organizes the women’s tent at Sulha.
With unusual understanding, she seems to recognize the difficulty faced by Israelis, both Arab and Jewish. The article talks about her transition from just day to day living to bitterness, to reconciliation. And her joint efforts with Jewish non-profit organizations (including Naamat, http://naamat.org/ which has US affiliates).