Peace and Education

By CALME Luminary Lynne Wasserman
Vice President, Wasserman Foundation

An estimated 500,000 Palestinian children are currently out of school due to an ongoing strike in the West Bank that has closed most public schools.  In response, the UN is now working separate from the Palestinian government to provide activities, literacy and computer training, and safe recreation areas to local children.  24%of West Bank schools are already run by the UN.  While I applaud these efforts, this is not a permanent solution to an educational crisis occurring in a year that has already proved itself to be particularly challenging to Palestinian children.  According to UNICEF, in the past four months alone, over 180 children in Gaza have been killed or injured in the ongoing violence.

This is not an acceptable state of affairs.  Although attention was rightfully focused on Secretary Rice’s diplomatic outreach during her recent trip, high-level diplomatic efforts alone will not succeed.  They should not be considered completely separate from the everyday social issues such as healthcare and education that affects the apolitical man and child on the ground.  While I continue to wholeheartedly support the President’s vision of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I also applaud those working at myriad NGOs concurrent to the peace process to better the lives of Israeli and Palestinian children.  They are laying the groundwork for the lasting changes in attitudes, education, and tolerance among any Palestinian government’s constituency that will ultimately make possible the long-term success of any diplomatic solution.

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One Comment on “Peace and Education”

  1. richards1052 Says:

    I am delighted to read this commentary by Ms. Wasserman. The lastest grant info available at her foundation’s site shows that as of 2004 they have given funds to support peace in the Middle East, though I didn’t find any specific grants to support Palestinian education. If they’ve given such funds since I applaud them.

    I wish other Jewish philanthropists would follow her foundation’s lead as they can play a constructive role in encouraging peace in the region with support similar to what hers has provided. Unfortunately, many have not (yet) done so.

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