Assisi Peace Prize Awarded
Wednesday, 7 July 2004
ASSISI, Italy - JULY 6, 2004 ( Zenit.org )
The 2004 Assisi Peace Prize
was awarded to two women -- an Israeli and a Palestinian -- whose
friendship is a symbol of the longed-for peace in the Holy Land.
Angelica Edna Calò Livnè, Israeli educator and journalist, and Samar
Sahhar, Palestinian director of an orphanage, are also among the
candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Sahhar, a Christian, was born in East Jerusalem and studied
management at the University of Bethlehem and in England. In 1995
she participated in the Columbus International Program with a group
of Palestinians on a peace mission to Ohio.
She has received several awards for her contribution to the dialogue
between the two peoples and has dedicated her life to work with
children, following in her parents' footsteps. They founded the
Jeel-Al-Amal Home of Bethany, which is the most important
institution of assistance to children in Palestine.
Sahhar also founded the Lazarus Home for Girls, to help orphan girls
and women in difficulty, and a "bread oven" in Bethany to enable
Israeli and Palestinian women to work together baking the "bread of
Father Vicenzo Coli, Custodian of St. Francis' Basilica, awarded the
Calò Livnè, born to a Jewish family in Rome in 1955, has been living
in an Israeli kibbutz, on the border with Lebanon, since she was 20.
Married and the mother of four sons, for years she has been a
teacher in multicultural schools, and in schools for difficult boys.
She has also taught at the college level and has worked on programs
that enable the elderly to recount their life experiences to young
She describes herself as an "educator of peace through art." To this
end, in 2002 she created the Rainbow Theater, made up of young Jews
and Arabs -- Christians, Muslims and Druses -- who with mime and
dance narrate what goes on in the mind of an adolescent living in a
country at war.
Calo Livne told ZENIT about the case of a girl who on one occasion
"began crying out a disturbing monologue in which she recounted her
experience during the last 'holidays' in Mombassa, Kenya, with her
parents and little brothers when the wonderful hotel in which they
were staying was turned into a scene of death and horror after an
attack against Israeli citizens."
To illustrate her work, Calò Livnè quoted a letter written by
21-year-old Nemi: "Four of my best friends have died in an attack.
When I heard about it, I didn't want to take part in the show. I no
longer believed in anything. I did not feel like doing anything. But
I had to react. We must continue to believe in something. We cannot
Sharif Balut, a 21-year-old Christian Arab, wrote: "I come to the
Rainbow Theater because I believe in peace. Because I believe that
we will be able to live together, because we are different and
through my friends I know new worlds. I look forward to this meeting
all week because it enlarges my heart. To dance, laugh, joke and
recite with them makes me happy!"
Calò Livnè said: "I believe profoundly that our work is a message of
confidence in the future, a victory of good over evil and over the
darkness that continues to shroud the world."
Talks Resumed Between Holy See and Israel
Negotiations Over 1993 Agreement to Continue
JERUSALEM, JULY 6, 2004 ( Zenit.org )
After almost a year hiatus,
talks resumed between Israel and the Holy See on implementing the
Fundamental Agreement that regulates their relations.
The Vatican delegation to Monday's meeting was headed by Monsignor
Gianfranco Gallone, secretary of the apostolic nunciature in Israel,
and the Israeli delegation by Gadi Golan, head of the Religious
Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry.
The Fundamental Agreement, signed by both sides in December 1993,
was a milestone, initiating stable diplomatic relations between the
Holy See and the state of Israel.
Last August, Israel withdrew its delegation from the negotiations
taking place at the time to come to a final agreement on certain
Father David Jaeger, spokesman of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy
Land, and consultant of the Pontifical Council for the
Interpretation of Legislative Texts, told Vatican Radio that the
meeting took place in "a very cordial atmosphere."
Yet, the Vatican wants the Israeli delegation to "have the necessary
powers to negotiate, otherwise no negotiation will be able to make
progress," Father Jaeger added.
According to the priest, the negotiations are concerned with three
"The first," he said, "is the Church's tax status -- rights and
duties in regard to taxes; in particular, the consolidation of the
exemptions that the Church has always had under all the preceding
states and in virtue of international treaties."
The second concerns the restitution "of some ecclesiastical
properties expropriated or lost over the years."
The third point is "the state's participation in the support of the
social and educational endeavours of the Church, which it does not
carry out for itself, but for the local population."
The negotiations will continue Sept. 6-9, Father Jaeger said. The
Franciscan said he hopes that by that date "both delegations will
have the powers to negotiate."