02. Sept. 2014
The need for effective conflict resolution is vital. Especially in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which receives international solicitously attention ever since, the urge for stability emerged again due to the recent developments. But where to start? And how? One answer came from "The Peres Center for Peace" since the organisation has developed comprehensive educational methodologies utilizing diverse tools to bring together children and youth. On Monday September 2nd Israeli and Palestinian children met to a joint football tournament. The group of children met a week after the start of the permanent ceasefire in a kibbutz near the Gaza strip. During the operation "protective edge" several rockets struck the village and the surrounding area.
"Football unites Israeli and Palestinian kids"
The boys and girls come from the town Sderot in the south of the country and the eastern Kibbutz Dorot as well as from Jericho and Jatta in the West Bank. This day about 80 children between nine and twelve years came to the football field. The Ex-President of Israel and Nobel Peace Price winner Shimon Peres honored the tournament with one of his nowadays rare public appearances. Shimon Peres welcomed each of the young athletes with a handshake. "You all like to play football - religion and nationality are not important. You're not going to play against, but with each other", the 91-year-old said according to the daily newspaper "Yediot Aharonot" just before the kickoff of the first match. At first the aim of the initiative was to bring together young Palestinian from East Jerusalem with disadvantaged Israeli youth. Meanwhile, children and young people of 15 different schools from both sides of the separation barrier with the West Bank take part.
From values of teamwork and common goals to shared struggles and victories: Sport has the power to unite despite the different cultures and backgrounds. Through a language understood by all players, Palestinian and Israeli, Jewish and Arab children come together under the common banner of sport, cheering for each other, helping each other win and building lasting friendships.