There are parties who prefer to depict Israeli-Palestinian relations solely in the negative; as being exclusively between “occupier and occupied,” “oppressor and oppressed.” In this one-dimensional and erroneous portrayal Palestinians and Israelis never meet or interact other than in some belligerent situation. One visitor to Efrat expressed the belief that this is due to Israel’s “apartheid laws” and that he understands such meetings to be illegal. In reality, tens of thousands of Israeli Jews and Palestinians interact every day in any number of normal settings, from business and health to recreation, education and culture.
In such encounters politics are, at least temporarily, set aside. Settlements and final borders are irrelevant. There is a job to get done.
Unfortunately, positive, grass roots relations between Israeli Jews and Palestinians go mostly unreported by the media. Tales of purported injustice are favored. International delegations rarely, if ever, witness such interactions.
Still, in spite of the political conflict there are hundreds, even thousands, of “points of light,” cases of informal and formal daily cooperation and co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians. This page is but a sampling.
Heaven’s Field Organic Farm
Israelis and Palestinians create a cooperative organic farm in the West Bank, nurturing the land and neighborly relations.
Gazan Farmers Attend Tel-Aviv Agro-Expo
An opportunity to once again export fruits and vegetables to the Israeli market could be game-changing not only to Gazan farmers but also to the larger relationship between the Gazan people and their Israeli neighbors. Mahmoud Iklhain and his colleague Ahmed Shafai, who is head of the Gaza Cooperative Association, ran the booth of the Palestinian firm Harvest Export at the Fresh Agro-Mashov International Fresh Produce Summit and Exhibition in Tel Aviv. Approximately 65 Gazans and 200 West Bank Palestinians participated in the exhibition.
The Israel Civil Administration Assists Palestinian Farmers
The Civil Administration has approved a plan to improve Palestinian farming, supplying the necessary pesticides to agricultural areas in the Palestinian Authority and in Judea and Samaria. The Israeli and Palestinian Ministries of Agriculture also have joint committees on each sector: Veterinary services, Plant protection and Trade. Both parties meet regularly to discuss the issues related to these topics and to improve cooperation.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS
Israel Palestinian Cooperative for Economic Expansion
Blessed with a rich cultural heritage and rooted in an ancestral narrative, both Israelis and Palestinians share a connection that runs as deep and wide as a wadi flows during the rainy season. Rooted in mutually beneficial opportunities for social and economic development, a healthy interdependency advances the cause of peace and fosters an environment for cooperation and collaboration. Although the task appears daunting, we promote peaceful cooperation between the Israelis from the Gilboa and Palestinians from Jenin in the West Bank.
Palestinian, Israeli Tech Leaders Strengthen Ties
During the last few years more than 500 Palestinian engineers and analysts have been employed in Palestinian companies working with Israeli IT companies.” There are 4,000 working in the Palestinian private IT sector and another 3,000 in telecoms. Beyond that, 1,500 to 2,200 more graduate into the field every year from the 13 universities in the Palestinian territories.
US-Israeli, Palestinian Companies Join Forces in High Tech
The collaboration between the US company LivePerson Inc. and ASAL Technologies of Ramallah gives rise to hope for fast development of the Palestinian high-tech industry.
JERUSALEM, November 19, 2013 (WAFA) – Palestinian and Israeli businesspeople joined by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Monday inaugurated in Jerusalem the first center dedicated for the resolution of commercial disputes between businesses in Palestine and Israel, said a press release.
Joint Galilee Institute’s Course Bringing Israeli and Palestinian Students Together in Naples
Summer courses in Arts and Theatre are currently being held in Napoli, as part of the annual festival. Some of the courses are joint programs with the Israeli Galilee International Management Institute, the Palestinian A-Najah University located in the West Bank (Nablus) and with two Italian Universities in Naples.
The Jerusalem Youth Chorus – Learning Musical and Personal Harmony
“I have 28 kids, 14 Jewish, 14 Palestinian, and they love the choir, and each other very much.
We have had three concerts and done a recording session with David Broza.
And they are engaging in facilitated dialogue; so things are definitely moving.”
Micha Hendler, founder
Heartbeat, the Israeli-Palestinian youth music community, will launch their debut US tour on February 21, 2013 to bring the voice and sound of a better future in the Middle East to America. The ensemble of young Arab and Jewish artists (ages 17-21) has performed across Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Germany and will now travel from Boston to Washington, DC for 15 performances at universities, music venues, and congregations.
MEET is an innovative educational initiative aimed at creating a common professional language between Israeli and Palestinian young leaders. Working together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MEET enables its participants to acquire advanced technological and leadership tools while empowering them to create positive social change within their own communities.
The Knesset Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation on Water Issue
The Oslo Interim Agreement of 1995 sought to regulate water issues, inter alia, by means
of a joint Israeli-Palestinian committee – the Joint Water Committee (JWC). This
document describes the work of the committee and relates to issues concerning the
regulation of the water supply to the Palestinians and the treatment of sewage in the West
The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES) is the premier environmental education and research program in the Middle East, preparing future Arab and Jewish leaders to cooperatively solve the region’s environmental challenges.
Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information
The Israel/ Palestine Center for Research and Information, IPCRI, founded in Jerusalem in 1988, is the only joint Israeli-Palestinian public policy think-tank in the world. It is devoted to developing practical solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
MEDICINE AND HEALTH
Hadassah Medical Center
PA health minister in first visit to Hadassah hospital.
Consistent with its philosophy of equal treatment and equal employment opportunities for all, the Hadassah Medical Organization has always embodied the concept that medicine serves as a bridge to peace. For many years Hadassah has been providing medical services to Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In addition, Hadassah is involved in numerous cooperative programs with Palestinian physicians, hospitals and medical personnel. According to the hospital, at any given moment there are some 60 Palestinian doctors in residency at the facility.
Sha’are Tzedek Hospital – Jewish toddler’s kidney saves Palestinian boy’s life
Parents of three-year-old Noam Naor who was declared brain dead after falling from fourth floor donate his kidney to 10-year-old Yakoub Ibhisad. “Knowing I saved a life gives me great comfort and the power to go on,” mother says.
Israeli Medical Association “Breaking the Hatred”
Michal Halevi miraculously survived after being gravely wounded in a terrorist attack perpetrated by a Palestinian. A Palestinian physician, Dr. Salah Odatallah, was among those who saved her life.
United Hatzalah – Saving Lives
An Israeli living in England has made a politics-free film about cooperation between Jewish and Palestinian volunteer paramedics for the Orthodox Jerusalem organization United Hatzalah, who save lives together in the capital’s western and eastern neighborhoods.
Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization
IPSO is a non-political, not-for-profit organization.
IPSO’s mission is to foster and sustain cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians and to promote dialogue and interaction among scholars and scientists in the two communities.
IPSO seeks out and supports high quality research in science and learning, involving cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian scientists and scholars.
Project for Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation in Science Education
The Multilingual and Multicultural Website for Science Education and Peace Pilot Project is an Israeli-Palestinian-French effort aiming to gain experience in the cooperative creation and operation of an expanding multilingual resource for science education for all ages.
Joint Israeli-Palestinian Mechanism for Supporting Palestinian Soccer (Football)
In a meeting held Sunday, September 15, 2003, Coordinator of (Israel) Government Activities in the Territories Major-General Eitan Dangot and Israel Football Chairman Avi Luzon agreed upon the establishment of a joint mechanism for supporting Palestinian football (soccer) activity. Discussions included meetings between soccer (football) teams within the PA territories and inter-regional activities outside of them. A working team would arrange soccer (football) activities and coordinate the PA’s games.
Peace Sports Schools
Launched in 2002, the Twinned Peace Sport Schools program is the longest running coexistence sport project in the Middle East, annually engaging 1,500-2,000 children aged 4-18 from “twinned” communities across Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Girls Soccer (Football)
This project aims to empower girls to be involved in physical activity and increase girls’ participation in football, as well as to enable Israeli and Palestinian, Jewish and Arab girls to get to know one another and build friendships through sport.
Cricket 4 Peace
The first ever cross-border peacebuilding project to utilize cricket, this project brings together Israeli and Palestinian children from disadvantaged communities teaching them a new sport, as well as instilling them with values of peace and tolerance.