Online symposium considers peace

The first two days of the third annual online symposium on conflict prevention saw a range of presentations and suggestions on how to achieve peace in the Palestinian territories, Chechnya and other conflict zones.

The Japan Times and the Japan Center are jointly sponsoring the online symposium, with the support of the Tokyo Club. It will run until May 30.

Panelists have so far suggested a wide range of ways to achieve peace. Bassem Eid, director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, insisted that Israelis and Palestinians need to work on improving “goodwill and trust.”

Romanian Defense Minister Ioan Mircea Pascu said the international system should have “zero tolerance for terrorism and illegal activities,” and resolution efforts must be made that are specific to individual conflicts.

From Japan, the Rev. Junsei Terasawa of the International Peace Bureau discussed the Chechen conflict, arguing that a policy of nonviolence is crucial in resolving and preventing the ravages of conflicts and humanitarian disasters.

I. William Zartman, of Johns Hopkins University in the United States, focused on the conditions linked to negotiations that must be present before any sort of lasting peace can be achieved in the Middle East.

In a radical and imaginative argument, former First Deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya Hoj-Ahmed Noukhaev proposed a “voluntary separation” of traditional and modern followers of Islam as a simple but practical solution to the conflicts in both Chechnya and the Palestinian territories.

Comments on the presentations were also far-ranging, with Israel’s Yitzhak Frankenthal denouncing blind hatred, even though he lost his son in the Palestinian conflict. Palestinian Zoughbi Zoughbi echoed that sentiment, arguing hope is the answer for an end to the violence in the region and achieving peace.

The executive director of the Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiations, Flaurie Storie, argued that peace can only be achieved with a “multidimensional-systems approach that incorporates conflict prevention, conflict resolution and human security.”

The online symposium will hold an open public discussion session from Saturday to Wednesday.

Anyone interested in participating can take part online at www.dwcw.org/3rd-e-symposium/