Three months of the Peace Research Village in the Holy Land, and an invitation to join the group for a month of community-building education

A report by the PRV-ME group in Israel-Palestine

The core group of the Peace Research Village in the Middle East (PRV-ME), after several years of peacework and community-building training in Tamera, left for Israel-Palestine last November in our first major step towards the establishment of a Peace Research Village in the Holy Land. Now, three months later, the group have made remarkable progress and the vision of a healing biotope in this crisis area has come significantly closer to realisation.

During the first few weeks our group of seven were living pilgrim-style, moving between long-standing and new potential cooperation partners and friends to nurture the heart connections and to strengthen the professional network. On our journeys we witnessed the extremes of hope and desperation, of wealth and poverty, that are separated by only a short drive or a “security” wall that lets you pass or not according to the nationality marked on your passport. 

One of our first tasks together was the Global Grace Day (9th November), a ceremony that would happen alongside similar events in Tamera and several other places on the “global map of hope”. The day was to be dedicated to water, and would connect the three great water bodies of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), the Dead Sea, and the Mediterranean, together with alchemical doses of water from the deep zone of Tamera's lake and the Red Sea. The ceremonies of prayer, song, meditation and dance took place together with various friends, during sunrise at the Sea of Galilee, under the midday sun at the Dead Sea, and then finally as the sun retreated into the waves of the Mediterranean. 

The priority for this first phase of the PRV-ME has been to work here, in Israel-Palestine, towards creating Water Retention Landscapes, especially as water plays such a key role in the region's conflict. After the first few presentations about the idea of water landscapes, it became clear that the time is ripe for new solutions to the problems of desertification, water scarcity and ecological degradation. The idea was being welcomed with enthusiasm and readiness to help manifest the vision of water abundance in this arid land. 

Despite some initial hesitancy by Palestinians who are concerned with the sensitive political issue of “normalisation” (any form of cooperation with Israelis that is not specifically directed against the Israeli occupation, and which can therefore be seen as an attempt to legitimise the occupation), a process is now already well underway with the Muncipality of Jericho, which wishes to cooperate in establishing a Water Retention Landscape nearby the city. It is clear that our group and the vision we carry is the exact opposite of any kind of attempt to normalise an inhumane system based on the politics of fear. The prospect of water landscapes in this desert zone, deep below sea level and next door to the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, is truly exciting and inspiring! 

In December, we drew our pilgrim-time to a close, and after a rather complex process of trying to balance the many different needs of home-comforts, office space, children's space, location, and accessibility to Palestinian friends, we decided on renting a beautiful old house with a garden in West Jerusalem. The following time was dedicated to creating a home, with the helping forces of some friends from Tamera also being warmly welcomed. We have affectionately named the house as the “PRVilla” – a home base and a stepping stone towards the full realisation of the Peace Research Village!

Since December, the women from our group have been hosting regular women's circles, in which Palestinian, israeli and international women study and share for building the field of women's solidarity. Other highlights of the time so far have been a successful networking and fundraising trip to the Green Pheonix conference in Switzerland, participating in Neviah – the Hebrew Academy for the Spirit, connecting with the growing “Revolution of Love” movement in Tel Aviv, and supporting friends who run the EcoME Centre (near Jericho) in hosting 100 people for a Nonviolent Communication course. Amidst all this movement and busyness, some of the most nourishing times have been those dedicated to honouring Mother Earth and the universal source, with ceremonies  such as the Orkowaranka Global Fire and a prayer the Qumeran Caves to accompany a birth of a child. 

The next important event we are planning is an International Symposium on Water Retention Landscapes to take place near Jericho on 25th March. The symposium will present the vision of water landscapes, models for peace and a greened desert in the Middle East, with Bernd Mueller, Sabine Lichtenfels and Benjamin Mendelssohn from Tamera, Sami Awad from the Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem and Tamir Yaari from the PRV-ME. The symposium will include a tour in Wadi Qelt as a likely site where the dream of the water landscape can be realised.

Shortly afterwards, starting 29th March, the PRV-ME wish to invite you to conclude their half year together in the Holy Land and to look into the future of the project in the intensive month-long course “Inner and Outer Peacework”. This will be an adventure of community building and a unique opportunity to connect with the region, to understand the conflict in the Middle-East and to create together a vision for a new peace culture. It will be open for peaceworkers from Israel, Palestine and around the globe. It will take place in various places in Israel-Palestine and will include daily study time, art and nature time, forum and common work. The main partners of the PRV-ME in the region will cooperate together as hosts and teachers in the course: Neviah Academy (Ohad Ezrachi and Shmuel Shaul), Holy Land Trust (Sami Awad) and EcoME. You are most welcome to join. 

Greetings of peace from Jerusalem!


The PRV-ME. For further information:
info(at)prvme.org 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/PRV-ME/126236127495399 

 


 

March 29 - 31: Peace between the Genders