Press Releases

UNIS/INF/25
9 August 2004

Israeli and Palestinian Youth to Visit United Nations in Vienna

VIENNA, 9 August (UN Information Service) -- In order to contribute to a project of peace and friendship among nations, the United Nations Office in Vienna has invited 110 members of Israeli and Palestinian youth organizations for an hour-long guided tour through the United Nations headquarters in Vienna on Tuesday, 10 August. The youth are participating in a peace-camp in Döbriach, Austria (concluding on 11 August 2004), at the invitation of the Österreichischen Kinderfreunde, a non-governmental youth organization.

The guided tour is aimed at giving these young delegates of peace an impression of the United Nations, and encourage them to continue their work. The delegates belong to a peace-network called “Middle East Youth for Peace”, composed of seven youth organizations; Hashomer Hatzair (Israel), Noar Oved Vehalomed (Israel), The Arab Youth Movement (Israel), Palestine Red Crescent Society (Palestine), Independent Youth Union (Palestine), Österreichische Kinderfreunde -- Rote Falken (Austria) and Woodcraft Folk (United Kingdom).

As a neutral ground, the United Nations provides a platform for envoys from different countries to meet and work on conflict resolution. This aspect is of special relevance to these youth, as according to them, their youth organizations cannot set up transnational collaborations from their home countries, despite the fact that a regular exchange of opinions and thoughts would be necessary to surmount hostilities and to re-establish confidence.

The peace camp in Austria provides an opportunity for the Israeli and Palestinian youth to present their cultures, to get to know each other and to become friends, in a relaxed and secure environment. Both sides will exchange views on the history of their peoples, and form a clearer idea of the “people from the other side”, in mixed discussion groups. The discussions are aimed at exploring ways youth organizations could contribute to the peace process in the Middle East. Youth participation is critical to the peace process, as they are the ones who will set the course for the future relationship between Israel and Palestine.

* *** *

For further information on the camp, visit:
http://www.kinderfreunde.at