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World’s Oldest Board Game Backgammon Being Used by Jerusalem Double to unite Jews and Arabs

Backgammon is acting as a peace maker between Israelis and Palestinians. Every one in Middle-East irrespective of one's religion has an attachment with this game.

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Backgammon- An ancient board game that is acting as a bond to unify Jews and Arabs.
Backgammon- An ancient board game that is acting as a bond to unify Jews and Arabs. Pixabay.
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  • An ancient game turning out to be a peace maker between Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem
  • Backgammon is a deeply rooted game in the Middle-East, which is uniting segregated neighbors
  • Backgammon is one of the oldest board games in the world

Jerusalem, September 11, 2017: No one had ever imagined the power of Backgammon. And about how this ancient game could act as a game changer in the Middle-East.

Backgammon is one of the world’s oldest board games that is currently being used to bring back peace in the Middle-East.

Jerusalem Double project is a series of Backgammon tournament that takes place in Jerusalem. It is an inter cultural initiative by Jerusalem Foundation to create more interaction between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel is the only Jewish state in the world which is located just at the east of Mediterranean Sea. Jew is a word used for those people who profess Judaism irrespective of the place they live in.

Palestinians consist of the Arab population that hails from the land which is now controlled by Israel. They want to establish a state by the name “Palestine” on all or part of the land, which is currently controlled by Israel.

“We wanted to bring Jews and Arabs together beyond the daily grind. We wanted to create a joint cultural event in which everyone can share and we wanted to create cross over between neighborhoods that for generations have been completely segregated”, believes Zaki Djemal from Jerusalem Foundation.

Jerusalem Double chose Backgammon as a medium to break the walls between the Jews and Arabs because Backgammon is deeply rooted in the Middle-east. It is highly accessible and inclusive.

Initially, the project Jerusalem Double had faced a lot of resistance from both the communities. But, they went against the wind and left no stone unturned to make this project work. As a result, the Backgammon proved to be a catalyst towards a positive change.

In 2106, when the first Backgammon championship had happened, only 150 people showed up. But this time, 250 people participated in the tournament and competed for a cash prize of 6,000 USD.

Play can create empathy between strangers and apparent enemies and it can give us the confidence that we need to trust in each other and in the world we have been slighted, even after we have experienced pain, suffering, and fear said Zaik Djemal.

Backgammon is an outstanding initiative towards a peaceful morning in the Middle-East.

-prepared by Shivani Chowdhary of NewsGram. Twitter handle: @cshivani31

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Palestine envoy recalled after India’s strong protest

"This prompt action by the Palestinian government will go a long way in improving India-Palestine ties and further cooperation", and "the immediate dialogue and resolution of the crisis is truly appreciated by both the people of India and Palestine."

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Palestine moved towards peace with India. Wikimedia Commons
Palestine moved towards peace with India. Wikimedia Commons
  • Palestine recalled its envoy after strong protest from India, pointing out, it highly values its relationship with the country.
  • It also expressed deep regrets over the recent happenings.

Palestine on Saturday recalled its envoy to Pakistan for sharing the stage with 26/11 terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, with President Mahmoud Abbas directly intervening to order the recall after India strongly protested the envoy’s action as “unacceptable”.

“Palestine is keen to maintain good relations with friendly India and supports it for the efforts in its fight against terrorism,” the Palestine Foreign Office spokesperson said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Palestine in a statement however clarified that the “participation of our envoy in a mass solidarity rally with Jerusalem, held in Rawalpindi on Friday, and in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism is an unintended mistake, but not justified.

“Accordingly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates under the direct instructions of the President of the State of Palestine to recall the Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan immediately,” it said.

On Friday, Ali, stood with Hafiz Saeed at a rally called to condemn the US recognising Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, as Israel’s capital. The rally was called by Difa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition of more than 40 Islamist parties. Saeed is also a key leader of this coalition.

After photographs of the event went viral on the social media, India took up the issue strongly with the Palestinian authorities, who expressed “deep regret” over the incident.

Palestine expressed regret regarding the incidents which took place.eurasiareview
Palestine expressed regret regarding the incidents which took place. eurasiareview

“Government of India has strongly conveyed to the Palestinian side that the Palestinian Ambassador in Pakistan’s association with terrorist Hafiz Saeed, who is prescribed by the UN, is unacceptable,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

“The concerns were conveyed both in New Delhi to the Palestinian Ambassador and in Ramallah to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates,” it said.

“The Palestinian side has conveyed deep regrets over the incident and assured the Government of India that they are taking serious cognizance of their Ambassador’s presence at this event. They have said they will deal with this matter appropriately.”

Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al Haij said: “We are supporting India in its fight against terrorism and because of that my government decided to directly call our ambassador to go back home, not to be Palestine ambassador to Pakistan anymore.”

The action of the Palestinian envoy in Pakistan came days after India voted with the rest of the world in favour of an Arab resolution in the UN General Assembly rejecting US President Donald Trump’s decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Palestine wants to maintain healthy relationship with India.
Palestine wants to maintain a healthy relationship with India.

According to the External Affairs Ministry statement, Palestine has also conveyed that it “highly values its relationship with India and stands with us in the war against terrorism, and will not engage with those who commit acts of terror against India”.

“We take note of the assurances given by the Palestine side,” the statement added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Palestine also expressed appreciation for the “honorable position that India has taken by voting in favor of the resolution in the United Nation General Assembly last week”.

The India-Palestine Solidarity Front (IPSF) in New Delhi strongly condemned the Palestinian envoy’s dais sharing with Saeed and later appreciated the prompt action by President Mahmoud Abbas to recall Ali.

“We appreciate the prompt action by President Mahmoud Abbas, the Government of Palestine, to recall (Ali) for having attended a meeting convened by LeT Chief Hafeez Saeed, an internationally reviled and known hardcore terrorist,” said IPSF.

“This prompt action by the Palestinian government will go a long way in improving India-Palestine ties and further cooperation”, and “the immediate dialogue and resolution of the crisis is truly appreciated by both the people of India and Palestine”, it said.

The rich historical legacy bequeathed upon our nation by Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Bhagat Singh and the stalwarts of our freedom struggle, the respect, and adulation for the great Yasser Arafat, lives on in our collective memory. IANS