I became aware of the existence of summer camps for Israeli and Palestinian children when I was looking for photos to illustrate articles on Gaza. Using pictures of death and destruction can be rather unsavoury. So I found this photo (above) which shows Israeli and Palestinian children playing at a summer camp at Tuwani. It gives a message of peace and hope.
This morning at my church we had a talk from one of the organisers of such summer camps. We were addressed by Dr Salim Munayer of the organisation Musalaha.
Dr Munayer made some interesting and clear points. He said, repeatedly, that the Israeli/Palestinian problem will not be solved by politicians but by the “grass roots” – the communities involved.
He said that the moment the conversation involves “us” and “them”, there is dehumanisation.
He said that the opposite of love is fear, not hate, and that on both sides there is “embracing of the victimisation identity” which can lead people to be indifferent to others’ suffering. The Jews feel victimised because of the Holocaust and the Palestinians feel victimised because of having been driven out of their ancient lands.
Dr Munayer made some interesting observations. One was left with the thought that summer camps may well play a small part in moving towards a peaceful settlement eventually.
Photo by delayed gratification