Interfaith Rally Backs Peace

November 26, 2007

Author: June Arney

Source: The Baltimore Sun,0,3703663.story

Ella Issacharoff knew exactly why she joined more than 100 people in Annapolis yesterday at an international and interfaith rally for peace.

"I want to represent the kids of Israel, and we would like peace with the Palestinian children," said Ella, 12, an Israeli who now lives in Bethesda. "That way, when we grow up, we can be friends, and hopefully one day the Palestinians will have their own independent nation, and we can stand side by side as friends."

Ella, whose father is an Israeli diplomat, lived in Israel for more than half her life. She said she remembers clearly the day a bomb exploded in a cafe near where a classmate lived in Jerusalem.

"She said that the windows popped," recalled Ella of the classmate, who at the time was also in the fourth grade. "I was scared for her."

Her fears and dreams were echoed by many of those who gathered yesterday at the World War II Memorial overlooking the Naval Academy to talk and pray on the eve of tomorrow's Middle East conference in Annapolis.

The high-stakes gathering, to be held at the academy, comes at a time when suicide bombings, assassinations and other forms of violence in the Middle East are rampant.

President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will formally open the proceedings with a dinner in Washington tonight in hopes of launching new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that could resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict that has fueled violence for decades.