By Krystal Conniry (Rotarian Action Group for Peace Intern)
Friday August 1 2014

Yesterday morning, a handful of Rotarian Action Group for Peace administrators had the opportunity of participating in a tele-briefing regarding funder responses to the crisis in Gaza.

Sponsored by the Peace and Security Funder’s Group, this briefing created a space where organizations and funder participants could exchange knowledge and strategies for promoting peace and human rights efforts in, and around, Gaza.

Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, was one of the two key speakers. Addressing the humanitarian catastrophe and the violent conflict in Gaza, Sourani shared his personal experiences while living in the midst of the chaos and emphasized the magnitude of devastation currently taking place. More specifically, he brought up the targeting of civilian areas, the widespread horror that was taking place, and the need for such atrocities to end.

Ronit Avni, Founder and Executive Director of Just Vision, followed Sourani and articulated what she believed to be the most significant dynamics that need to be taken into account when addressing this conflict including (but not limited to):

  • the asymmetrical nature of the conflict;
  • the need for knowledge and understanding in regard to the historical and root causes of the conflict;
  • a call for political-leadership-accountability; and finally
  • an awareness of how the media may be shaping our perception of the conflict.

Avni also stressed the importance of bringing to light the organizations that have been committed to non-violence and reconciliation in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. It appeared that the strategy most emphasized by Avni was a need to put pressure on the political leadership from around the world, through various avenues, including grass-root and media projects. Although, addressing the reality that this is not a conflict that can be resolved overnight, she made it quite clear that apathy and indifference were certainly not on the table.