Flag Ceremonies,Talks of Peace and WPPS, Palestine-Israel

In the week of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement (forgiveness and repentance), eight women representing the WPPS, from Japan, France and the UK, visited Palestine-Israel to offer encouragement to those working for peace.

This land, essential to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, has suffered millennia of conflict

“It was a good learning environment, the kids looked happy, and, for me, it was a chance to be with beautiful Arab women, powerful women.”

Despite underlying tensions, people continue with their lives. They may be manipulated to fear the ‘other’, but, as we discovered, community-by-community, ordinary people are doing their bit to promote peaceful relations.

At the Tur’an Elementary School, the teachers are integrating education with the local community. Not only are they celebrating their Arab cultural roots, but, through an art project, are collaborating with the nearby Jewish and Christian schools. Striving for coexistence, multicultural discourse and universal values.

“All the children ran to be in the photograph with the Palestinian and Israeli flags – peace in their land is really important to them.”

The children joined in our Flag Ceremony. Each took a flag and, continent-by-continent, they came to the centre of the circle and we appealed for peace in each country of the world, ending with the Middle East

The Ein Shemer Kibbutz, two hours north of Tel Avi

At The Ein Shemer Kibbutz, two hours north of Tel Aviv, we met “Seeds of Peace”, motivated and influential Israelis working for conflict resolution, not just in Israel-Palestine, but also around the world.

“We had a one-hour Soul of WoMen (SoWM) workshop. We talked about the Fuji Declaration and the need for balance in our societies, that we don’t know what the outcomes should be, but SoWM offers a ‘think tank’, and we’re developing ‘tools’ for people to use everyday.”

How were these Israelis inspired by Soul of WoMen? Some of their thoughts were: Mother Earth. Giving hands. Soul. Harmony. Accept each other. Love. Hope. Communities. Smile. Acknowledge the other. Empathy. Peace.

“We had a one-hour Soul of WoMen (SoWM) workshop. We talked about the Fuji Declaration and the need for balance in our societies, that we don’t know what the outcomes should be, but SoWM offers a ‘think tank’, and we’re developing ‘tools’ for people to use everyday.”

How were these Israelis inspired by Soul of WoMen? Some of their thoughts were: Mother Earth. Giving hands. Soul. Harmony. Accept each other. Love. Hope. Communities. Smile. Acknowledge the other. Empathy. Peace.

“Together we planted a Peace Pole, and, in support of the peace march: “Women Wage Peace”, happening in Israel whilst we were there, we sang “We Shall Overcome” at the end.”

Peace Pole planting at Ein Shemer Kibbutz with Seeds of Peace

Our last visit was to Kafr Qasem, a village that suffered a huge massacre of women and children, in 1056. We held a Symphony of Peace Prayers with Sheikh Raed Badir, representing the Islamic community and Eran Dubovi representing Jewish communities sharing prayers from each religious community.

Flag Ceremony at Kafr Qasim

At the following Flag Ceremony, Eran Dubovi held the Palestinian flag and Sheikh Raed badir held the Israeli flag.

The Kafr Qasim Massacre occurred on October 29, 1956. The tensions between Israel and Palestine are still apparent, the significance of this Flag Ceremony with shown flags held together gives hope for the future.

“Ordinary people can achieve extraordinary progress towards permanent peace.”

 

News, Events and Photos Credited to Liz Maclay

Allanton Peace Sanctuary

Dumfries, Scotland.

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