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Date: 24.8.2005
Source: Custody of The Holy Land

Palestinian and Israeli participants lightening Candles in Memory of Nagasaki Victims.

Twelve young Israelis and Palestinians, aged 16 to 19, journeyed to Japan between 29 July and 12 August 2005, to be present at Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the celebrations commemorating the 60th anniversary of the destruction of these cities by the atom bomb.

The Custody of the Holy Land, the Parish of Saint Saviour of Jerusalem, in collaboration with the local entities and the Helping Children, which is a Japanese non-profit organization, organized the "Project Education for Peace".  This is a shared experience between young Israelis, Palestinians and Japanese, which was born out of the inspiration of Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, who proposed this meeting between youngsters during his visit to Hiroshima last year.  This proposal forms part of the educative journeys which the Custody and the Parish of Saint Saviour of Jerusalem intend to undertake, in order to propose to young people to grow together in a new system of mutual sharing, and in the effort to abolish the obstacles to peace during these last years of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, which have blocked dialogue and communication between them.

The journey of Peace took two weeks and was characterized by daily meetings, discussions and proposals on new ways to solve the conflict.

The young people visited museums, as a sign of memory and reconciliation, and reflected together on the true meaning of peace, while they were away from their homes and land.  This gave them a new experience and a new sense of peace.

The aim of this formative experience was that of showing to these young people how war and suffering can finally give way to new opportunites for dialogue and authentic sense of sharing.  It gave them a motive to hope against all hope.

Our young people, accompanied by Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, could see with their own eyes a people who was born anew out of the ash of the atomic bomb, a people who rose again in order to rebuild a new life for the future generations.

The young people who felt united together by what they saw could also look at one another with a new sense of being: winning over all kinds of differences between races, culture and countries of origin.

The common life of these days and the confrontation with the daily experience of the Japanese customs, helped them to feel more united and aware that they come from the same land.

There was a great sense of friendship between the youngsters, who helped one another in order to go through the usual procedures of customs.

This journey is the seed of a new hope for new ventures, since these young people are our future and we should all work hard to build in a symbolic way the Park of Peace, here in Jerusalem, in the same way it was built in Hiroshima.  We should build it upon four important and indispensable pillars, namely, truth, justice, freedom and charity.  It is upon the foundation of these principles, that we should remain united in a sense of duty which touches the spiritual and ethical aspects of human rights, while guaranteeing assistance to all persons who need solidarity for peace and for the integral progress of humanity.

Jerusalem is the centre and symbol of so many religious, historical, ethical and cultural values, and we should create relationshops and dialogue which are harmonious and which can be respected.

Hiroshima, the atomic bomb, violence, teach all of us how freedom and human error can destroy everything, but also how the hand of God can give new life to the desert, and can bring a new sense of peace and a river of forgiveness and love.

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Created/Updated Aug., 2005 at 11:42:27 by J. Abela, E.Alliata, E. Bermejo, Marina Mordin
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