Moon Over Galilee

The UPI reports on a peace initiative in Galilee (link added):

Plans are to construct the Cultural Center for Jewish-Christian-Muslim Dialogue and Understanding over the next three years, a $7 million campus with space for meetings, academic research, education in communication and technology, and a library. The Israeli government has donated seven acres of land to the project in this area, almost entirely populated by Muslims.

[Mahmoud] Mufare and Bustan Al Marg mayor, Ahmed Zoubi, are making the rounds of Muslim leaders in the United States, trying to raise the remaining $5 million needed to begin construction.

But who’s behind the scheme? The UPI has an inside track:

Mufare and Zoubi are members of Ambassadors for Peace and active in the Middle East Peace Initiative, both of which are projects of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). The UPF is a broad consortium of individuals and organizations brought together by Sun Myung Moon for the purpose of conflict resolution through greater harmony among world religious traditions.

One wonders if this is the same Zoubi who was formerly a deputy mayor of Nazareth, and who was involved in the 1999 Nazareth mosque controversy, which saw plans for a mosque close to the Church of the Annunciation:

The Islamic Movement, a political party, wanted the entire area for a mosque because a Muslim sage is buried there. The disagreement erupted into violence between thetown’s Muslim majority and Christian minority over Easter weekend. Cars were stoned and shops were set on fire.

…Salman Abu Ahmed, the leader of the Islamic movement in Nazareth’s municipality, said the compromise is acceptable, but that the movement has “certain reservations” about it, including opposition to delaying construction of the mosque until 2001 and to removing a Muslim protest tent at the site. Another Muslim representative, Ahmed Zoubi, said the tent would be evacuated “over our dead bodies.”

This Zoubi was also interviewed a few years later, after riots between local Arabs and Jews that saw three Israeli Arabs killed by Israeli police:

In the Mayor’s office, adorned by framed photographs of the three dead Arabs, Ali Salam, and Ahmed Zoubi, two of Nazareth’s three deputy mayors explained how the city’s Arab residents and political parties had come together…

“The Jews, they are the problem,” says Zoubi.

“No, it is Zionism that’s the problem,” says Salam, as Zoubi nods his head in agreement.

This might be a different Zoubi altogether, but influence from Rev Moon has been known to have dramatic effects on some people’s perspectives.

Meanwhile, the Middle East Peace Initiative is apparently

…a global effort by 11,000 Ambassadors for Peace who come from 147 nations every other month to join hands with Jews, Christians and Muslims of the Holy Land to bring an end to violence.

I’ve looked at the activities of the Unification Church in the “Holy Land” a couple of times in the past: see here and here.

Name variation: Ahmad Zu’bi