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Organization: Pax Christi International
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

Yes.  We have seen progress, particularly in getting movement toward peace discussions among Palestinians and Israelis.  We have sent our members to Israel and Palestine and organized meetings among professional and ordinary citizens of both parties. We have helped break down fears, misunderstandings, and hesitancy to even meet and listen to people of the opposite party.  People-to-people, there is a greater willingness now to engage in trying to break down fears and to possibly take a risk in bringing an improvement in the current impossible situation, where normal living has not been going on for about 60 years.  Both Israelis and Palestinians are tired of the violence and the inability to go about their business of work, school, and ordinary family life.  This increased willingness to talk to the other parties is particularly encouraging among youth and women.

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

The greatest obstacles are the governments and the unyielding religious conservatives who have an ideological determination to persist in what they believe is a God-given right to certain land and religious sites.  There are also external obstacles, such as biblical evangelical religious groups (non-Jewish) who encourage Zionist ademancy, as well as certain outside governments which do not do enough to discourage unyielding positions of extremists on both sides.

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

We continue to send Pax Christi International members to facilitate discussions among the parties.  We also organize and facilitate visitor groups to go to Israel and Palestine to learn first-hand what are some of the difficulties of the situation.  Such visits not only show world interest in the progress that has been made, but also encourage further progress.  The clear promise of rewards for settling the violence in that area has led to investments in social, economic, political and religious development on both sides.  For example, such actions to facilitate cooperation among the parties has led to youth mixed atheletic teams, mixed schools, and other cooperative business ventures.  These will prepare the way for the day when there are two independent states which together will harness the rich human and natural resources which are available in this area.

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?

Send more people-to-people groups to areas of conflict, so that the disputing parties and the world will resognize how vital peace is, not only for the parties in conflict, but also for the various countries around the world who are impacted by the conflicts.

PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

HolyLand Christian Ecumenical Foundation.  World Council of Churches.  Nonviolent Peace Force.  Numerous other peace groups.

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?

We have similar peace efforts in Africa, South America, as well as in the United States.

Pax Christi Ireland is planning a "World Culture of Peace Day" being held on the 9th of August in Cork, the European City of Culture in 2005. The year 2005 also marks the mid-point in the United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children in the World. The event is an opportunity to explore peace issues, reflect, share, pray and socialise. More info e-mail: cultureofpeaceday@eircom.net or see the website at www.cultureofpeace.info.

Postal address of organization

Vieux Marche aux Grains 21
1000 Brussels
Belgium

E-mail address of organization

hello@paxchristi.net

Website address of organization

www.paxchristi.net

Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Education for a culture of peace

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

International peace and security

Highest priority country of action (or international)

International

Second priority country of action (or international)

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Organization: Pax Christi International

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