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January 23, 2012 12:47 pm

Hillary Clinton Joins Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook for “Conference for the Young of the Middle East”

avatar by Zachary Lichaa

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From left to right: Israeli PM Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: wiki commons.

Eventually a new generation of lawmakers, diplomats, and general citizenry, equipped with new sets of tools, will control the fate of the Middle East and shape the future of the region’s political landscape.

In Egypt, social media was used to provide the world with instant information it might not have otherwise received, helping to spark revolution.  In Syria, people have leveraged social media to disseminate video and other information that may have saved lives.

So why not use the internet to foster discussion, debate and ideas for peace between Israelis and Arabs?

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Israeli President Shimon Peres, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas joined other political leaders and celebrities to do just that, beginning Monday morning. Using Facebook, the world’s most widely used social media platform, the Yala Young Leaders are hosting a “virtual conference” where leaders such as Clinton voiced their optimism for progressive new forums to settle dispute.

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According to their website, Yala’s mission is “for participants to become better informed and more effective advocates in their home communities who assertively seek political change by dealing directly with political leaders, community organizations and individuals.”

“This conference is an opportunity for all of you, both Arab and Israeli, to engage in dialogue about your shared future and about peace in the region, as well as your day-to-day problems, worries and dreams,” said Clinton.

She added, “you come to the table with the hope that you can look past your differences and lay the foundation for peace, and I admire your resolve to engage in these very difficult discussions.  Your voices will continue to be invaluable in the process.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern joined actress Sharon Stone and FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola in helping to foster the dialogue.

While not everyone was thrilled about the idea –  including Basel Dasouky, who wrote on the wall of the Conference’s Facebook page “END OF ZIONISM=PEACE” at 11:30am ET – many were happy to have a voice, including Naser Alqadi.  “Peace will be achieved,” he said.

The Shimon Peres Center for Peace was also an integral part of putting together the conference.

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