Posted by Kristin McCarthy on October 14, 2014 in Blog

It must have been a welcome change of pace for National Security Advisor Susan Rice to confront the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basketball court rather than the negotiating table. Somewhere between managing the campaign against ISIS, weighing in on the reconstruction of Gaza, and negotiating a web of alliances to take on Middle East conflicts cooperatively, Ambassador Rice welcomed a group of Palestinian and Israeli youth to the White House basketball court for an hour long pick-up game. The group, who is being hosted by the State Department’s partnership with PeacePlayers International, reminds us that even in the midst of collapsing political will – there is still hope that young leaders who are the living, breathing future of the conflict have found ways to work, play, and sweat together. I encourage you to read Ambassador Rice's reflection on her experience below and be encouraged that, for better or worse, the headlines don’t tell the whole story.

 

My Time on the Court with the Peace Players Yesterday

by Ambassador Susan Rice

Yesterday, I had the pleasure and honor to take a few minutes away from my desk and the Situation Room to play basketball with some remarkable young Israelis and Palestinians that have come together through sports to build bridges between their divided communities. These inspiring young leaders are visiting the United States on a State Department sports diplomacy program with PeacePlayers International. These youth were aware of my love of basketball and asked to come to meet with me. Rather than sit in a conference room, I invited them over to the South Lawn Basketball Court for an hour of hustle and fun.

When it comes to Middle East peace, nothing is easy. But our commitment to a just and sustainable resolution to this conflict is unwavering, and we will continue to work closely with both sides -- the Israelis and Palestinians -- to help find a way forward. The work that the State Department does to foster people-to-people diplomacy is vital to our efforts to build trust and understanding in conflict situations. The teamwork these young people show on the court underscores just how much the dreams and aspirations of young people all around the world are the same. And it helps demonstrate that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is possible, and within reach. The youth are our future, and they want and deserve to live in peace and security.

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