Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Picnic for peace

WITH THE Palestinian quest to join the UN on the same footing as their Israeli neighbour a no-go, the army of lobbyists and activists kept in business by the doomed peace process will be scrabbling for a new strategy.

Given that simplest solutions are often the best, has anyone tried a picnic for peace? Sniffing the air this week in Liberty Bell Park, which is the city's nearest park to Arab East Jerusalem, makes me think they should. The place was packed with Muslims from East Jerusalem - making them either Arab Israelis or Palestinians depending on your political sympathies - celebrating Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, but if you shut your eyes, the holiday smelt like a Jewish one. Like their adversaries, the Muslims are fond of a barbecue, and smoke filled the sky, much as it did during many of the city's parks during last month's Sukkot holiday. The only difference being the Arabic on the bags of charcoal.

And it isn't just grilled food where the opposing faiths overlap on the culinary front. The hijabed mums sitting around the playground were doling out pittas and felafels all but indistinguishable from those munched daily in Jewish West Jerusalem. There was more popcorn and candy floss than I'd seen but I'm willing to bet it was Kosher. Not that there were any Jewish children to share it; Louis excepted, the playground was exclusively Muslim for the entire week, a first since we'd arrived.

Next time perhaps someone could lay out a giant picnic rug and spread the word. After all, if the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, perhaps the way to a nation's peace is through that of its inhabitants.


PantsWithNames said...

Love the idea. Serve it with cups of tea and let the women sort out the worlds problems. We'll be done in time for the kids bedtimes. x

Babies who brunch said...

Yes!! That's where the men go wrong: they lack a really pressing deadline. Like bedtime!!