The Peres Center for Peace inaugurated a new soccer field in the West Bank village of Issawiya, near Jerusalem.
The field, which was funded by funded by the Korean government, is made of synthetic turf and is the first of its kind in the Palestinian Authority.
Korean Ambassador Kyungtark Park, the principal of the Issawiya School for Boys, Khader Abid, and Peres Center for Peace Director –General Dr. Ron Pundak were all on hand for the ceremony.
“The new field replaces the small, asphalt court in the school's courtyard where the children of Issawiya played. From now on, children participating in the Peres Center for Peace's sport projects, as well as residents of East Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority, will be able to use it,” the Peres Center said in a statement.
'Move towards reconciliation between nations'
Majid Mahmoud, a Palestinian participant in the Peres Center's "Twinned Peace Soccer School" project in Issawiya said, "My friends and I are very excited about the new field. Now we can play on a real field like professional soccer players. I hope that our Israeli friends from the Peres Center for Peace project will be able to visit us here and play with us, like we play on their fields."
Korean Ambassador Kyungtark Park said, “The Korean Government sees the Peres Center for Peace project as an important step towards joining the two nations together. Soccer enables children to get to know each other, and respect each other.
“We took on this project to build a professional soccer field so that Israeli and Palestinian children will play on it together, and move towards reconciliation between their nations,” he added.
The Peres Center for Peace launched the "Twinned Peace Soccer Schools" project three years ago, with 23 sport schools currently operating in Israeli and Palestinian communities for children aged 6 to 14 years.
Over 2,000 Palestinian and Israeli children participate in the program and are engaged in extra-curricular activities four times per week, taking part in sport training sessions, joint Palestinian-Israeli sport activities and tournaments, social outings and events, Peace Education instruction, and an auxiliary educational support program.