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Current Issues:

Peace in the Middle East: Focus on Israel and Palestine

A summary of the history of the region from 2000 BC to the present.

A time line of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict from 1914 to 2001.

Some of the key issues in this conflict are:

Displaced Palestinians: One of the main obstacles in the way of the creating a lasting peace agreement is the question of whether displaced Palestinians should be allowed to return home. A good explanation of both Palestinian and Israeli views on this issue.

Jerusalem: The city of Jerusalem, holy for Jews, Muslims, and Christians, may well be the key to creating peace in the Middle East. This article summarizes the historical and religious significance of the holy sites within Jerusalem to each faith, as well as the options being considered by negotiators for this extremely significant city.

United States Involvement: 2006 will be the 50th year of American efforts to bring about an Israeli/Palestinian peace. The BBC's article on this coming anniversary summarizes these diplomatic efforts, and their failure thus far.

September 11 has had a devastating effect on prospects for peace in the Middle East. Why? Read on.

"'For Israel, September 11 was a Hanukkah Miracle,' Israeli political and security officials recently told the newspaper Ha'aretz. Thousands of American fatalities are considered a godsend -- in this cynical world -- because their deaths helped shift international pressure from Israel onto the Palestinians, while allowing the Israeli government to pursue its regional objectives unobstructed. And indeed, in the past months, the United States has unfalteringly supported all of Israel's actions."

Applied Research Institute's "Eye on Palestine" offers frequent reports on the regional effects of Israeli occupation.

The website of the Foundation for Middle East Peace contains articles and more comprehensive information on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The site publishes a biweekly settlement report, which according to the Foundation, is "known as the authoritative English-language source for information about settlements and the settler community."


People in the Middle East and around the world are working to facilitate peace in the region. Here are just a few stories of organizations and individuals we found inspiring.

The 70-year-old-plus wife of a former American diplomat organizes speaking tours of America by Middle Eastern women through her small organization called Partners for Peace. These women relate their personal experiences of living with the fear, war, and violence in their homeland, in the hope that Americans will gain a better understanding of the situation and want to help.

The Compassionate Listening Project, a major initiative of the US-based MidEast Citizen Diplomacy group, brings together people from both sides of the conflict. By meeting and talking with the people they perceive as their enemies, participants begin to break down stereotypes and reconcile with each other.

The Seeds of Peace International Camp for Conflict Resolution brings Israeli and Palestinian youth together at a summer camp in Maine and teaches conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence. Seeds of Peace has also set up the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem.

In their policy statement, Americans for Peace Now, the U.S. partner of the Israeli organization Shalom Achshav, compellingly argue that Israel has as much to gain from a Palestinian state as Palestinians do. APN believes that forging a lasting peace with the Palestinians is not only compatible with the Zionist position, but is necessary if Israel is to preserve its Jewish and democratic character.

For more information on other peace groups and reports by these groups:

Visitors to The Place for Peace Portal share their views freely about the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. All users are welcome to sign-up and participate in the polls, post articles, links and comment on material contributed by others. This is an interactive site where ones views cross all boundaries. The Place for Peace Portal ( is a project of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information.


Responding to Sept. 11th & its Aftermath

There are many hundreds of resources available on and off the net to help people respond to September 11th and its aftermath. Here are some of the best resources of interest to dialogue leaders, peacebuilders and educators. The links are categorized into four topics:

Dialogue & Discussion
Educational Resources

Peace & Conflict Transformation

Things You Can Do

Dialogue & Discussion

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office has created a new website for libraries interested in encouraging dialogue in their communities about the events of September 11. The site contains library, state humanities council and other resources for developing cultural programming. The website, called Encouraging Dialogue through Cultural Programming, is regularly updated to include additional materials and resources.

Study Circles Dialogue Guide for Responding to the Crisis
SCRC has put together an excellent guide to help communities organize dialogues regarding the current crisis. Facing the Future: How Should We Respond to the Attacks on Our Nation? is available for downloading from their website. Guides are available for one-time 2-hour dialogue sessions, full-day community summits, and multi-session dialogues.

PCP Offers New Guide for Family Dialogues
As families prepare to gather throughout the holiday season, the Public Conversations Project is offering a very timely new dialogue guide: "Conversations about Our Post-September 11 World: A Guide to Family Dialogue." PCP hopes that this holiday season will be a time for truly nourishing conversations -- a chance for families to deepen their connections, even as they explore differences in their perspectives.

Using Conflict Resolution Principles to Discuss the Current Crisis
This article by Richard Cohen is designed to help educators foster constructive conversations with their students about the current crisis. A list of conflict resolution principles is provided, along with questions that can be used to spark discussion.

Web Lab Testing Online Dialogues on Current Crisis
Web Lab is launching an online forum for people to explore in groups how our lives, our families and our world have changed since September 11. Web Lab's Small Group Dialogue (SGD) technique fosters meaningful discussions, reducing the noise and animosity that spoil many online forums. This first round of discussions is a test, and people already involved in the Web Lab community have been invited to attend. If the test is successful, the door will be opened to thousands of participants in hundreds of small groups.

Discussion Guidelines from the Univ. of Michigan
The University of Michigan's Center for Research on Learning and Teaching compiled a very useful set of guidelines to help faculty facilitate class discussions on September 11.

CRS Pairs with Study Circles to Help Communities
The Community Relations Service (CRS) of the U.S. Department of Justice is working in collaboration with the Study Circles Resource Center to provide resources and assistance for local programs working to help their communities respond to the aftermath of Sept. 11. CRS responds to urgent racial crises and violence, and is working with the Study Circles Resource Center to assist and encourage community leaders to establish and institutionalize "places and spaces" for local problem solving, conflict prevention, and reconciliation.

Online Discussions Hosted by Search for Common Ground USA
Search for Common Ground USA is hosting a series of focused online discussions about how people in the U.S. and around the world should react to the events of September 11. People who want to join in the discussions should email .

Online Discussions on the Dialogue Webpage for Conflicts Worldwide
The Japan Center for Preventive Diplomacy's Dialogue Webpage for Conflicts Worldwide is hosting a number of online discussions about the current crisis.

Educational Resources

Free lesson plans and materials for educators:

Anti-Defamation League: Guidelines and Activities for Educators and Parents

American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee: Info on Arab Americans, ed. resources.

Arab American Institute: Info on Arab Americans, the Middle East and Islam, and various educational resources.

Assoc. of College & Research Libraries: Lesson Plans & Other Resources

Choices Education Project: Examining Policy Options

Education Development Center: 'Beyond Blame' Curriculum for Middle & H.S.

Educators for Social Responsibility: Build community and encourage dialogue in your classrooms.

Nat'l Clearinghouse for Bilingual Ed.: Resources on Middle East & Tolerance

PBS: Curriculum for Grades 6 to 12 Focuses on Tolerance & Problems with Blaming Inspiring Testimonials & Resources for Teachers

Workable Peace: Curriculum on Responding to Conflict

Resources for Preventing and Responding to Youth Hate Crime:

Community Relations Service: Manual for Preventing Youth Hate Crime

Community Relations Service: Responding to Hate Crimes and Incidents on Campus

U.S. Dept of Ed.: Guide for Schools for Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate

Resources for learning about the current shape of the crisis, the response of aid organizations, and the history that's behind the current situation:

Christian Aid: Info about what Afghans are facing. Includes a call for restraint from NGOs.

Christian Science Monitor: Info on the problems with getting aid into Afghanistan.

Int'l Crisis Group: Examines Potential Effects on Central Asian Nations.

Media Ed. Foundation: Online video "Beyond the Frame" features alternative perspectives.

Revolutionary Assoc. of the Women of Afghanistan: Provides an in-depth look at the conditions that women face under the Taliban, and info about what can be done.

Swiss Peace Foundation's Center for Peacebuilding: An excellent pre-Sept. 11 report on what is needed for reconstruction and peacebuilding in Afghanistan.

Thoughts in the Presence of Fear: Wendell Berry on technology and globalization myths.

United Nations: Great info on Afghan crisis (news releases, maps, statistics, and overview).

Peace & Conflict Transformation

How the Conflict Resolution Field can Respond to the Crisis
CRInfo, in partnership with the Intractable Conflict Knowledge Base Project, has identified an initial list of 38 areas in which the expertise of the conflict resolution and peace research fields can be profitably applied to the terrorism crisis. These contributions are outlined by Guy and Heidi Burgess in an article which also includes links to CRInfo resources on each topic.

Ariga Provides Middle Eastern Peace Resources
This web-based program provides invaluable information about organizations that promote cooperation between Israelis/Jews/Zionists and Palestinians/Muslims/Arabs. Opened to the public in 1995, Ariga was the first web-based source of news from Israel emphasizing the peace process. The site now includes a November 29 message from Israeli peace groups which urges people to contact their country's leaders to demand an end to Israeli occupation in Palestine.

Conflict Resolution Resources on CRInfo Website
The CRInfo page on the terrorism crisis is meant to be a place where people working in the Conflict Resolution field can find and post info relevant info. The page contains both pre-existing and new information on terrorism, key news items, general background information, etc. There is also a WebBoard discussion area for people who would like to discuss the crisis online.

Statements from Nobel Peace Prize Laureates has posted statements from 17 of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates made in the weeks following September 11. Among the statements are words from David Trimble, the Dalai Lama, and a joint letter from Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and F.W. de Klerk. The statements are brief, and readers can respond to individual Laureates via email.

PeaceQuest Promotes Middle East Dialogue
PeaceQuest is a non-partisan, multi-perspective website on the Middle East which aims to promote dialogue. A peace education project, PeaceQuest provides content and materials to teachers and students in the state school systems of Palestine and Israel, journalists and researchers, and others. Found on the site are a unique collection of personal testimonies and stories from Palestinians and Israelis; Palestinian, Arab and Israeli fiction and poetry, music, photography; and journalistic and academic articles and radio transcripts (BBC, Palestine-Israel Journal, Jerusalem Report, Index on Censorship) about the Middle East conflict.

Conflict Resolution Email Newsletter
Subscribe to CODEP's email newsletters to get info about conflict resolution (conferences and workshops, recent publications/resources, jobs) sent to your inbox every 2 weeks. CODEP is a UK conflict, development and peace network which was founded in 1993.

Eastern Mennonite U. Explores Peaceful Solutions
The Conflict Transformation Program at EMU is exploring ideas about how the U.S. can respond in ways that lead to a sustainable, just peace rather than a continued escalation of conflict and violence. Their series of analytical papers is intended to promote open and creative dialogue about immediate and long-term options in response to the current crisis.

Conflict Prevention Network's Statement on the Terrorist Attacks
Berlin-based CPN's Sept. 19 statement on the terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Things You Can Do

Here are several great ways to let your representatives know how you feel about the current crisis: has phone, fax, email, web, mailing, and other info on your reps (search by zip code, state, or name). has phone numbers of world leaders and links to contact info on U.S., Canadian, and European reps. The American Friends Service Committee provides a tool for U.S. Americans to email their reps directly (choose from text urging peaceful solutions or compose your own). And Working for Change offers options for emailing your reps about specific topics (pre-written and editable). Offers Many Options
A great resource for those wanting to take non-military (peaceful) action in response to the events of September 11. 9-11peace has already sent out a petition to world leaders which was signed by nearly 700,000 people. Examine info on getting involved in peace activism, contacting your representatives, and joining an email list of thousands to stay updated on events/actions which support peace.

Calendar of Anti-War and Anti-Racism Events features listings of anti-war and anti-racism events that are being organized around the world. The site is an info center for political action worldwide.

Help Create a U.S. Department of Peace
On July 11, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced H.R. 2459, a bill to create a Cabinet-level Dept of Peace which embodies a broad-based approach to peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution at both domestic and international levels. Ask your Congressperson to support the bill or check out Kucinich's website for more info.

Help Pass Federal Hate Crimes Act
Passage of the pending federal hate crimes act could be a re-dedication and a clear demonstration to the rest of the world of our nation's deep belief in freedom and individual liberty. Click on the link above for more info, or contact your legislators via one of the sites listed at the beginning of this section and urge them to support Act #8211.

If You're Going to Argue for Peace, Argue Well
Suggested well-informed responses to common pro-war arguments, and links to further info.

Fly U.N. Flag as Symbol of Global Unity & Support for International Law
A portion of the purchase price will support the Revolutionary Assoc. of Women in Afghanistan and other organizations.

Great Resources from Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice
Follow links to info on confronting stereotypes, critical analysis of media coverage, sites for youth, historical info, and things you can do. (It's Manhattan, Kansas, by the way.)

Petition for Peace, Justice & Continued Civil Liberties
Sign the petition A Call for Peace and Justice, which demands "that the President maintain the civil liberties of all U.S. residents, protect the human rights of all people at home and abroad, and guarantee that this attempted attack on the principles and freedoms of the United States will not succeed."

Help Ensure that Afghan Refugees Receive Aid
Doctors without Borders has taken a courageous stand to ensure that the Afghan people receive aid. Your donation will help them to provide food and medical aid to the starving and sick in Afghanistan and around the world. For more options, the U.S. Agency for Int'l Development offers a list of relief organizations providing aid in Afghanistan.


The Dialogue to Action Initiative and are ?2001 by Sandy Heierbacher and Andy Fluke. ?
Last updated Saturday, May 18, 2002 5:22 PM ?