II. Seeking Peace Bulletin
ISRAELI, PALESTINIAN BUSINESS LEADERS LAUNCH PEACE DIALOGUE
As a result of meetings at the World Economic Forum in New York, Israeli and Palestinian business leaders launched a joint dialogue to lobby for peace. Dan Gillerman, head of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, and Walid Najjab, director of the Palestinian Electricity Company in East Jerusalem, announced an initiative for five Israeli and five Palestinian business leaders to join forces, lobby for peace with the two governments and meet regularly in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Gillerman commented that new joint committees would solve real problems and "make life easier for the two business communities and especially, I must say, the Palestinian business community which is suffering very, very badly." (Reuters, 2/4/02)
NEW BILL TO FIGHT TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN
The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee passed the first reading of a new bill to fight trafficking in women. All Knesset bills need to pass through three readings before it becomes law. The bill stipulates that courts will be required to sentence individuals convicted of trafficking in women for sexual purposes to a minimum of two-and-a-half years in jail. The committee also decided that an Israeli citizen who commits a crime pertaining to trafficking in women outside of Israel could still be tried in Israel. The bill also suggests that the Department for Legal Aid at the Ministry of Justice provide advice and financing for the victims of the crimes during the trial. (Ha’aretz, 2/7/2)
PEACE NOW CAMPAIGNS AGAINST SETTLEMENTS
Last week, Shalom Aschshav, Peace Now, launched a new campaign urging withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and isolated West Bank settlements. Yossi Sarid, the official leader of the opposition the Knesset, joined other politicians and activists in Peace Now’s opening event and said “Israel cannot lend its hand to the occupation much longer if it wants to hold onto democracy. As long as there is terror, the occupation may not end, but as long as there is occupation the terror will never end. This is what we are here to tell the public.”
Peace Now in conjunction with the newly formed Israeli Peace Coalition are planning a series of rallies and political events with the message that dismantling the settlements is necessary to improve security. (Jerusalem Post, 2/8/2)
ISRAEL DONATES INTENSIVE CARE UNIT TO JORDAN
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Center for International Cooperation, MASHAV, recently opened an intensive care unit in the Red Crescent hospital in Amman, Jordan. The unit includes special beds for intensive care patients, x-ray machines, resuscitation apparatuses, and first aid kits.
The President of the Jordanian Red Crescent sent a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres thanking him for the unit. He wrote that "Jordan was astonished and appreciative of the Israeli teams' efforts." (Yediot Aharonot, 2/10/2)
ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PIANO DUO TO PERFORM IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Pianists Saleem Aboud-Ashkar and Shai Wosner will perform at the Kennedy Center on February 25 at 6:00 pm. The two pianists – an Israeli from Tel-Aviv and a Palestinian from Nazareth – have played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and at Carnegie Hall. Their first meeting took place in Weimar, Germany, in the summer of 1999. This is an exchange that can represent an alternative path of communication between individuals of all backgrounds. Please call 1-800-444-1324 or visit http://www.kennedy-center.org/ for more information.