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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Middle East peacemakers implore UA, Tucson communities ‘to love one another'”

    Ghassan Manasra, right, listens as Eliyahu McLean discusses peace-building efforts in Isreal an Palestine yesterday in the marshall building.
    Ghassan Manasra, right, listens as Eliyahu McLean discusses peace-building efforts in Isreal an Palestine yesterday in the marshall building.

    International speakers Eliyahu McLean and Ghassan Manasra are traveling across America to spread their grassroots message of healing the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

    They were on campus yesterday afternoon as part of the “”Sparks of Peace”” series, co-sponsored by Planet Coexist, running Wednesday through Sunday.

    McLean, a Jewish American-Israeli, and Manasra, a Palestinian Sufi Muslim, work together to exemplify the cooperation that can exist between religions, McLean said.

    The pair spoke about their mission and histories to an audience of about 25 people in the Louise Foucar Marshall building, 845 N. Park Ave.

    “”We are two deeply wounded and traumatized people,”” said McLean, who is the co-founder of the Jerusalem Peacemakers. “”Our work is to heal that wound and to help both sides get beyond the need for violence and exclusive nationalism as a response to that insecurity.””

    McLean said his work in the Middle East includes creating a safe space for people to pray and celebrate holidays and encourages people to reclaim their religions and be a voice for peace, not war.

    McLean was raised in Hawaii and studied Middle Eastern studies at the University of California, Berkeley before moving to Israel to begin work on peacemaking.

    “”It takes two wings to fly,”” McLean said about Israeli-Palestinian relations in his speech. “”Our work is to tear down the walls of fear.””

    Manasra, the director of the Anwar il-Salaam Muslim peace center in Nazareth, Isreal, said his message is to “”love one another and bring peace to the world, because we cannot worship if there is a conflict.””

    Manasra has been involved in peacemaking work since 1988 and hopes to spread his message in America.

    “”There is hope in the Holy Land,”” Mansara said. “”The people want to live a peaceful life. We ask them (Americans) to support our work and our people.””

    Tzadik Greenberg, founder of Planet Coexist, said he hopes the “”Sparks of Peace”” series will bring awareness to the issue overseas, but also spread hope and inspiration in Tucson.

    “”The peace

    Peace can happen anywhere.

    -Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa,
    UA alumnus

    process can be a powerful and healthy process not to be feared, but enjoyed,”” Greenberg said. “”Peace has the potential for deep celebration.””

    Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa, a UA alumnus, is a member of the Tucson Multi-Faith Alliance, another group sponsoring the “”Sparks of Peace”” series. Khalsa wants to use McLean and Manasra’s message to engage Tucson.

    “”Its not just about Israel and Palestine, it’s about what’s happening locally,”” she said. “”Peace can happen anywhere.””

    McLean and Manasra want to encourage Jewish, Muslim and Arab groups on campus to find common ground and support groups in the Middle East that share that goal.

    “”We can each get beyond the illusion of separatism,”” McLean said.

    Both speakers said they look forward to addressing Tucson’s diverse community throughout the remaining “”Sparks of Peace”” events.

    The Sparks of Peace Benefit Gala, featuring ethnic food, music and dance, takes place tomorrow at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave.

    For a complete list of events, visit

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