asked the TYO for data on how many people had run through the Nablus
operation. From spring 2008 through the summer of 2011, TYO has
benefited 1,414 children ages 4-8; 1,872 children from ages 9-16. The
operation has 474 volunteers between the ages of 18-22 from local
univesities -- and 196 women have participated in programs, indirectly
benefiting more than 20,000 community members. These data have been
provided by TYO, which has since opened an affiliated operation in
Only a dozen paid staff members operate in the
Nablus TYO operation at any given time. Programs are supported by
approximately 100 local volunteers who work an average of ten hourss per
week supplemented by five international interns who work sixty hours
In other words, there is a constant blending of local
and international staff and volunteers teaching hundreds upon hundreds
of women and children inside Palestine.
There may be critics of
TYO's work out there -- but I haven't been able to find them. I reached
out to representatives I know from Hamas and on a background basis was
told by a Hamas official that he has respect for Hani Masri and respect
for what he has done to help improve the lives of women and children. I found this very surprising given that Masri has little respect for Hamas -- and wants people to be able to full determine their own religion and their own clothing and own life choices. The Hamas official continued, however, that what impressed him about Masri's work is that he
didn't place hope in either Palestine's Fatah or Hamas leadership or in Israel, or for
that matter US negotiators, to produce an environment to get things
done. He moved forward despite these things.
Thus, in contrast
to James Wolfensohn's strawberries to market frustration, there is
reason given the case of Tomorrow's Youth Orgnazation to hope that some
things are possible on the ground inside Palestine despite the rest of
the world deciding to tie itself in knots politically over the future of
the Palestinian state and Palestine/Israel relations.
I don't share the view that abandoning Israel-Palestine efforts makes sense. I believe that both sides will pay enormous future costs, as will the United States, if a two state solution is not achieved -- and I don't think that cases like TYO solve all of the on the ground problems for the Palestinian people. But there is a model here that rarely gets attention and deserves more support and a spotlight given the irresponsibility and failures of the strategic, negotiating class operating at a much higher level than the women in the Nablus camps.
extraordinarily stupid and self-defeating for the United States to be
withdrawing from UNESCO -- an organization that should in fact be
partnering with TYO and its successful operation in Nablus and now
Beirut. But the world does not stop, any longer, when America makes a bad call.
America may become less
and less relevant to the Israel-Arab conflict but some Americans and
Europeans and others -- like Hani Masri in this case and those he has
drawn in like Cherie Blair, Terry McAuliffe, Bill Clinton, and scores of young American and Palestinian volunteers
-- can still matter and push the needle forward for people who are
otherwise being trampled on and neglected by Middle East and American officialdom.