In the city of Jerusalem and across Israel and Palestine, people are fighting again. But others are working to make peace. At one school in Jerusalem, Jewish and Arab children came together this week to make a banner (see photo) calling for a fair solution after many years of violence.
The children are among 2,000 who attend seven Hand-in-Hand schools. The first school was founded with just 50 kids in 1997. They have grown since then, as more and more families who find themselves on opposite sides of wars between Jews and Arabs have gathered in the hope of peace.
As peacemakers have said throughout history, we can be afraid of people who seem different from us, whom we can't understand because they speak a different language. And that fear can lead to violence. But if we get to know them, we stop being afraid and can live in peace with our neighbours.
Going to school with people from different backgrounds is a great place to learn that lesson. At Hand-in-Hand, every pupil learns to say "Salaam!" in Arabic, the language of Palestinian Arabs, and "Shalom!" in Hebrew, the language of Jewish Israelis. In English, we join them to say the same... "Peace!"
The Middle East Problem?
Two groups live in a small land, about the size of Belgium, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. For many years, they have fought over how to share it. Half are Arabs who speak Arabic and mostly follow the Muslim religion. The other half are Jews, who speak Hebrew and follow the Jewish religion. A special problem is Jerusalem (left), which Jews and Muslims (as well as Christians) see as a holy city.