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Middle East, 2015 May – Jun • FPT-AWP continues to explore a partnership in the Middle East

As we continue to explore a partnership in the Middle East, Joe DiGarbo sends us news of our upcoming 2015 Friends Peace Team in Asia West Pacific Trip to Israel and Palestine:

During this ambitious work, the team will conduct AVP workshops and introduce our Palestinian and Israeli friends to the Friends Peace Teams as a new presence that will listen to their needs and cooperate in developing ways that we can help on an on-going basis.

Adi Lapidot (right) from SOS Tel Aviv, Israel and Mariam Abu Turki (left) from The Aman Center Hebron, Palestine at the AVP International Gathering in Dublin. SOS is the Center for Violence Studies in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Aman Counseling Center is located in Hebron, the West Bank.

In March, Joe will travel to the area to conduct AVP workshops with AVP facilitator apprentices in Ramallah and Hebron in the West Bank. There will be organizational meetings with facilitator corps in Ramallah and Hebron. Marian Abu Turki, AVP leader in Hebron, will assist Joe in the training and organizational meetings. Mariam was one of the two Palestinians who attended the AVP International Gathering in Dublin in July. Joe will observe and consult during an AVP workshop conducted by, Yony Choona and Adi Lapidot, the two Israeli AVP facilitators who attended the International Gathering in Dublin.

Joe will conduct informational meetings and a mini AVP workshop for prospective Israeli and Palestinian organizations that are interested in AVP, in order for them to participate in the May work. He is attempting to gain entry into Gaza in March to help the AVP Organization plan for future AVP work in that besieged land. This is particularly needed because of the physical and emotional devastation that resulted from the military action in July and August 2014.

He will meet with the Irish Head of Mission in Jerusalem to update her on the work of AVP and Friends Peace Teams and seek funding for projects going forward.

Joe’s work in March is the first phase of the AVP and Trauma awareness work that will be continued by the team of Anne Wallace-DiGarbo, Joe Moore, Nadine Hoover and himself, between May 15 and June 8. In May and June the team will conduct AVP Basic and Advance Trauma Awareness workshops in Jerusalem, Hebron and Ramallah in the West Bank.

In Jerusalem two Israeli AVP facilitators have identified organizations that they believe have an interest in AVP. One significant organization is the Israeli Center for the Treatment of Psychtrauma, where one of the facilitators is a student. The other organizations provide educational, psychosocial and counseling services to both Israeli and Palestinian clients. These organizations are located in Jerusalem and in the West Bank This will be the first time that we will have a mixed group of Israelis and Palestinians in the same workshops.

In Ramallah, AVP facilitators and those who have completed the basic AVP workshop will participate in an Advance Trauma Awareness workshop. In Hebron, the same plan will be followed. Another goal is to introduce Palestinians and Israelis to the Friends Peace Teams as a new presence that will listen to the needs of the people and design ways that can be of help on an on-going basis.

This will be a busy mission that has the potential of expanding the number of AVP facilitators and deepen the skills that are so needed in Israel and Palestine.

AVP Workshop - Concentric Circles activity at the Aman Counseling Center, Hebron, the West Bank of Palestine, May 2014 Lubna (left) and Iman (right)