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Israeli-Palestinian peace: Youth show the way

03/26/2009

Amid the gloom of Israeli-Arab strife, someone are finding ways to light candles instead of cursing the darkness. Young Palestinian musicians from the Jenin refugee camp gave a concert for Israeli Holocaust survivors. One would think that if such events are so rare -- a dog bites man story -- they would get top billing in media reports. But any routine Qassam rocket launching or Israeli reprisal will always get more notice. For reaching media audiences, shooting is much better than talking or playing music.

The event was a learning experience for both sides:

"I feel sympathy for them," said Ali Zeid, an 18-year-old keyboard player, who added that he was shocked by what he learned about the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews in their campaign to wipe out European Jewry.

"Only people who have been through suffering understand each other," said Zeid, who said his grandparents were Palestinian refugees forced to flee the northern city of Haifa during the war that followed Israel's creation in 1948.

The 13 musicians, aged 11 to 18, belong to Strings of Freedom, a modest orchestra from the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, the scene of a deadly 2002 battle between Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers.

The event, held at the Holocaust Survivors Center in this tree-lined central Israeli town, was part of Good Deeds Day, an annual event run by an organization connected to billionaire Shari Arison, Israel's richest woman...

Younis, from the Arab village of Ara in Israel, then explained in fluent Hebrew that the youths would sing for peace, prompting the audience to burst into applause.

"Inshallah," said Sarah Glickman, 68, using the Arabic term for God willing.

Thank you Shari Arison. Can we find a few more Middle East billionaires who will finance peace instead of war? Inshallah.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000754.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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