10/01/2008

The peace from above and the peace from below

This week witnessed the start of the tour of GW Bush in the Middle East, and in particular his visit to Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories. The American President said he believed in the process of Annapolis, and that he hoped to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace by the end of the year. Yet nothing seems less secure.

Indeed, December crazes following the donors’ conference for the Palestinian stategave way to scepticism given the slow pace with which are being set up bilateral negotiations, the most important, on the sensitive issues of the peace process (Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, borders).

Facing this situation, many are beginning to lose hope once again. But looking this situation there through a magnifying glass, you can see things are progressing, steps are made from a community to the other, even if they are small and limited.

So this week, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) presented at a conference Wednesday in the European Parliament one of those micro-initiatives peace project that they are supporting, wich is « A heart for peace « . This project was set up in the pediatric cardiology department of the Hadassah Hospital, run by Dr. Azaria Rein. It consists of the take over of Palestinian children suffering from heart genitals defects.

Apart from aiming to treat these children, « A heart for peace » work also to enhance the peace by bringing together young patients, Palestinians and Israelis, as well as their parents, in the same department. United by the same difficult situation, these people get to know each other and thereafter become messengers of peace. In addition, the project benefits to Palestinian doctors who come to specialize in this service, as is doing for the moment Dr. Salim Ibrahim.

This project gives hope that is often disappointed when we only watch the peace efforts initiated in OsloCamp David, and in the current process of Annapolis. At the conference, MEP Frédérique Ries has described the reality that if the « peace from above » not functioning, it should not stop believing in this « peace from below », that citizens, Israelis and Palestinians, are building at their level.

N.J.O.