Building bridges over a war’s divide

In the decade before 2022, the number of active conflicts in the world rose from 33 to 55, according to the Peace Research Institute Oslo in Norway. During that period, no single war was fully quelled by international peace efforts. So it may seem like an odd moment for optimism, as a number of people are making quiet efforts for peace building during the current Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

One approach, according to an article in the journal Foreign Affairs, requires “a broad coalition of politicians, business leaders, the UN, peace builders, and local communities.”  Another one, says Tasneem Noor, program director of NewGround, a Jewish-Muslim community-building organization based in Los Angeles, is for individuals to look at their own assumptions about the conflict. “There is a value of looking for the goodness, even in the hardest of times,” she told PBS NewsHour. “Radical listening … is a powerful way of disarming so much of the angst and the anger that we hold.”

Every security challenge, the United Nations notes, is compelling new ways of “weaving a safety net of adaptation, collaboration, and innovation.” Solutions to climate change in the Sahel region of Africa, for example, offer fresh ways to safeguard and stabilize communities affected by violent extremism. More than any other conflict, however, the crisis in Gaza is showing the positive potential impact of the thoughts and actions of individuals.

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