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Palestinian - Israeli Peace NGO Forum meet hosted in Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom

Friday 13 June 2008

On Wednesday June 11, representatives of about 50 organizations came to attend a meeting of the Israeli branch of the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum. WAS-NS is represented at the Forum by Ahmad Hijazi, whose idea it was to host Wednesday’s meeting here.

The proceedings were opened by Sarah Osetzki Lazar, representing the steering committee and Yael Patir, the Forum’s coordinator. They updated the members on recent activities and plans for the coming three years.

The Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum is a network of Palestinian and Israeli NGOs working towards peaceful relations. As strength is found in numbers, the Forum, by uniting more than 100 organizations, validates and reinforces the efforts of the various Peace NGOs both independently and mutually. Some of the activities, like this one, are conducted unilaterally.

Following the introduction came two presentations. The first was by Prof. Ilai Alon of Tel Aviv University], who gave a textual and social analysis of the Arab Peace Initiative. He claimed, on the basis of the choice of words used in the document and the social context in which they normally appear, that the initiative is serious, often conciliatory in tone, and deserving of more attention that it has thus far received in Israel. The second presentation, by Roee Yelin, discussed how to make effective choices when marketing social messages in the media. He brought examples from both commercial and non-commercial spheres.

After these presentations, the members split into working groups whose purpose was to formulate joint activities that would gain public attention. One group considered how to engender popular debate of the Arab Peace Initiative. The other, under the moniker "peace boulevard" will aim to produce an event that will present the work of all the organizations in the Forum to a large audience.

The steering committee said the meeting demonstrated the strong desire of the NGOs to work together and engage in meaningful activity. It hopes to continue the momentum through upcoming activities. In particular, they thanked WAS-NS for hosting the event and Ahmad Hijazi, the WAS-NS representative in the Forum, for helping with arrangements.

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