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Breaking down the wall, one boot at a time

Given the formation of a right-wing government in Israel following last month's elections, with tension on the Gaza border still high, hope for peace seems very dim. Yet still individual stories of cooperation between individuals from both sides keep hope alive.

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Given the formation of a right-wing government in Israel following last month's elections, with tension on the Gaza border still high, hope for peace seems very dim. Yet still individual stories of cooperation between individuals from both sides keep hope alive. The decision to send to Moscow a joint Jewish-Arabic duet to represent Israel in this year's Eurovision Song Contest is only the latest example of grassroot support for peaceful co-existence.

Cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians shows itself in other surprising ways, perhaps none more so than the campaign for a joint Israel-Palestine bid for the 2018 Football World Cup. Promoted by the international NGO 'One Voice', the project has the support so far of 650,000 signatories. Highly publicised football matches have taken place between joint Israeli-Palestinian teams and such reputable clubs as FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

In business, there is a rising tendency for Israeli technology firms to outsource to Palestine, with Asal Technologies and G.ho.st both employing across the border. Fittingly, the olive oil industry is another area of
joint enterprises, with Palestinian olive oil on sale in Israeli supermarkets. Could olive branches be offered across the border next?

While such examples of cooperation are not reflected in the dialogue, or lack thereof, between the national governments, it is reassuring that blanket animosity against the other side does not stamp out common humanity. Where government lets them down, people find other ways to build bridges between one side and the other; perhaps one day politicians will follow suit.

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