Teaching peace

Imagine an Israeli boy sitting at a computer in a classroom with other students. There are two teachers in the room and the student is sending another e-mail before class is over. It does not sound like anything earth shattering. But in this case it is.

One of the teachers in the class is Israeli, but the other is Palestinian. The student is e-mailing his friend in Gaza City. And his friend also has a Palestinian and Israeli teacher. When his class is over, another class from another school will come and do the same at this computer center.

This is not a fantasy. Children of all ages participate in this program, which teaches Israelis and Palestinians how to live together in peace. It is the first joint project of its kind between Israeli and Palestinian municipalities.

While I spent a semester abroad at Hebrew University, I was the first intern at the Israeli Ministry of Science. I worked at the Office of Regional Cooperation and helped to implement projects between Israelis and Palestinians.

Sitting with Israeli and Palestinian mayors working to establish peace made me realize people will only make peace if they can see the end results. When projects are designed to improve living standards, people will pressure political leaders ensure peace.

We cannot be deterred from the path of peace by violence caused by frustration, caused by Palestinians not seeing the fruits of the political peace process.

It takes time to yield substantial results. It is not something that a U.S. president can rush so he can have a legacy and a Nobel Peace Prize before he leaves office. -Stuart Fleishmansenior

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