SVF organized a conference inGazacity’s Red Crescent society on reach-out and learning for the best of dialogue and community peace on September 30, 2012. SVF invited a number of professional to participate in the conference. The conference was attended by 185 youth and representatives of local NGOs inGaza. SVF organised the conference to review the impact of violence on the stability and peace and the role of 50 CBOs Network to promote peaceful education and non-violence actions. This conference documented by the media and the society voice newspapers.

Representative of the SVF, Awni Alhaj, opened up the conference by welcoming all guests and promoting some community-based peace conceptions that promote tolerance and community-based conciliation. Reham Auda, a social activist, ran the first session of the conference, in which she first said that it is highly recommended that youth should be aware of concepts of community-based peace and social conciliation. She said youth are an integral part of the society and they should be equipped with all needed skills and expertise that serve their community.

Majeda Albelbaisy, a civil society specialist and a journalist, presented a work paper titles “role of media in enhancing culture of community-based peace inside the local Palestinian community”. She believed that local media outlets have not yet played an effective role in raising the awareness of local community towards dialogue and tolerance. She maintained that political rivalry and trade of accusations at the political and media levels have impeded a genuine media role across the community. Albelbaisi called on local media outlets to stay non-biased and help formulate a national media strategy that would assume a fair media role.

Mr. Mohammad Barraka Alnajjar, Mayor for the Maghazi municipality, talked of possible roles by municipal councils inGazaregarding transparency and accountability, especially when it comes to elections and outreach inside the community. He believed that community-based peace are good for all parties concerned, being a common interest. Alnajjar’s paper recommended the following:

–          Promoting the role of preachers of community-based peace and making sure they are protected by law.

–          Expanding community partnership among the various members of the local community as well as fairly distributing powers.

–          Making sure the concepts of religious tolerance promoted.

–          Promoting concepts of social justice and fair distribution of working opportunities.

–          Holding elections on fair basis and periodically by well selecting new local leaderships.

–          Reinforcing concepts of good local governance at all administrative levels

–          Promoting concepts of supremacy of law and social values.

–          Promoting the role of local NGOs and human rights groups.

–          Promoting and reinforcing effective partnership and looking into ways to institutionalize such partnership.

–          Making courts of justice are working properly and within a set of juridical parameters.

–          Promoting the role of observatory bodies, either popular or formal ones.

–          Reinforcing the role of women in a decision-making process, as well as promoting women leaderships for the sake of community-based peace.

Nahed Khalaf, a civil society specialist, ran the second session of the conference and talked of youth as an important category of the local community, considering them to be a great asset in building up the local community side by side with other categories of the community. Khalafd believed that a given society’s development process is measured by youth participation.

Mohsen Abu Ramadan, a leading NGO figure inGazaand head of the Network for NGOs, addressed the participants saying “NGOs have a role to play in promoting and reinforcing dialogue inside the local community. The peaceful speech would help spread concepts of democracy and equality and respect of others”.

Dr. Bahjat Abu Za’nouna, in his paper, addressed the attendees on the role of universities in promoting dialogue and tolerance inside the local community. He made clear that the universities are doing their best to maintain those concepts among youth students, yet he believed that political circumstances are unripe given the spread of political rivalry. As for concepts of tolerance, practiced by the local universities, Abu Za’nouna, explained that democracy is being represented by democratic elections inside the campus in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect among the various student masses.

Again, Mr. Nahed Khalaf, spoke on behalf of Talal Abu Rukba, who apologized for a mourning occasion. Khalaf talked of the importance of youth in promoting community-based peace, as follows:

– Reviving old Palestinian values that are based on tolerance and respect of others, in order to build up a real internal Palestinian relationship.

– Guiding all youth energy towards innovation and creation, in a way to resist the occupation’s policies.

– Raising the new generations both at home and at school on how to embrace concepts of community-based peace.

– Raising the awareness of youth about concepts of community-based peace through holding workshops or seminars.

– Ensure that local media outlets focus on concepts of community-based peace as a main element in seeking Palestinian people’s inalienable rights.

Lawyer Fatma Ashour, concluded the conference by emphasizing on the fact that the Palestinian youth law has been neglected and that there are multiple items of that law that address youth outright. She called for reviving those laws for the best of community-based peace.

The conference came out with a series of recommendations as mentioned above, mainly concentrating efforts by all parties concerned for the sake of ending internal conflicts or disputes and replacing them with a state of political stability. It also suggested that a Palestinian civil society could not be built properly unless concepts of democracy and respect of others are promoted or widespread inside the local community.