By René Wadlow
The ongoing armed conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and Israel-Hamas have highlighted in a harsh light the need for new efforts at peacebuilding – the older efforts having been inadequate to prevent these armed conflicts. Both conflicts seem far from the stage of negotiations in good faith so that common interests may be found. Unfortunately, it seems that the two conflicts will grind on with an ever-larger number of persons killed. There is also a danger of the conflicts spreading.
The Security Council of the United Nations has been blocked by the veto of one or more of the permanent members from proposing a cease-fire and humanitarian follow-up measures in the Israel-Hamas conflict although the U.N. General Assembly by a large majority has proposed a cease-fire.
With positive governmental measures largely absent, we must look at the possibilities of non-governmental efforts for creative peacebuilding. Especially in the Israel-Hamas conflict, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have taken a lead in calling for a cease-fire and for an end to the blockade of supplies to the Gaza Strip. Some humanitarian supplies collected by NGOs have been able to enter the Gaza area from the Egyptian Sinai. There have been some efforts among NGOs already working on the Israel-Palestine issues to renew dialogue, but attitudes have hardened.
There is a wide-spread sense of despair and apprehension about the future. There is frustration that earlier Track Two meetings or dialogues have not been able to move the situation forward.
Thus, we are at a time when new, revitalized efforts on the part of NGOs and academic peace researchers are needed. There is a need for imagination and creativity. We must reach out to new voices and re-contact persons who had been active earlier but who had left the “battlefield”. We need to leave despair behind and move to the creation of a new reality.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS)