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Israel

PeacePlayers International

Pessimism abounds as Israeli and Palestinian leaders prepare to resume US-backed peace talks next week.

But government action isn’t the only answer to the region’s problems. PeacePlayers International, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001, is helping to create sustainable peace through grassroots efforts. Its programs in Israel and the West Bank bring together Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze children to play basketball and develop mutual respect and understanding.

Suzette Grillot hosts the program from Scotland, and Rebecca Cruise joins her by phone from Washington, D.C. to talk about the economic "baby bump" created by Prince George of Cambridge, and Pope Francis's visit to Brazil.

Later, former World Views research fellow Jack Randolph returns to the KGOU studios to talk about his latest trip to Tel Aviv. He returned to Israel this week to work with Peace Players International, an organization that strives to use sports to bring divided communities together.

Joshua Landis offers an update about the situation in Syria, and how chemical weapons affect the public’s view of the civil war. The panel also talks about the Edward Snowden case and the complexities of asylum and extradition.

Stigler, Oklahoma native Pamela Olson moved to Palestine  after she graduated in 2002. She settled in Ramallah, where she worked as the head writer and editor for the Palestine MonitorShe just wrote a book about her experiences called Fast Times in Palestine.

Provided

When Pamela Olson traveled to the occupied West Bank on a whim in 2003, she only expected to stay for a week. She stayed for two years, though, and served as head writer and editor for the Palestine Monitor and as foreign press coordinator for Mustafa Barghouthi's 2005 presidential campaign – unlikely posts for a self-described “physics major, ex-bartender, volunteer from Oklahoma.”

“Of course I was intimidated,” Olson says. “I was worried because this was the first conflict zone I had ever been in, but just immediately I was made to feel so welcome.”

Over the past 11 months, the Zaatari refugee camp in Northern Jordan has hosted hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing that country’s civil war.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise visited the camp in early June, and witnessed some of the newest arrivals.

Real-time updates on social media are revolutionizing traditional journalism. By following Twitter feeds and other forms of social media, journalists like NPR Senior Strategist Andy Carvin now identify breaking news faster and do a better job following international stories.

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Over the past 11 months, the Zaatari refugee camp in Northern Jordan has hosted hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing that country’s civil war.

World Views host Suzette Grillot and regular contributor Rebecca Cruise visited the camp in early June, and witnessed some of the camp's newest arrivals.

“They had their life's belongings in a wheelbarrow,” Cruise says. “They were coming in with some hope, and unfortunately, I don't know hopeful the situation really is going to be for them. So that was very sad to see."

China hosted back-to-back visits this week with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. More and more detainees are participating in a hunger strike at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

So far more than 1,000 have died in the April 24 collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka. ABC Radio Sima Bhowmik joins Suzette Grillot for a conversation about the lack of government oversight in Bangladesh's garment industry.

Dainis Matisons / Flickr

Earlier this week Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to China. Even though the two leaders did not meet, the timing of the visits signals China could start to become a diplomatic player in the troubled region.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a longtime observer of Syria, says China tried to arrange a meeting in 2007 between Netanyahu and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but it didn’t work.

“[China has] been asserting themselves more and more in the Middle East,” Landis says. “And that’s a product of the United States withdrawing, and China is becoming much more self-confident.”

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss the death and legacy of Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the heightened tensions between North Korea, the U.S., and its allies as the reclusive country threatens to launch a medium-range ballistic missile.

Retired State Department official and former U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson returns to World Views for a conversation about Iran, the energy industry, and nuclear security.

A painting on the walls of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran
David Holt London / Flickr

Iranian state television says the Islamic Republic inaugurated two key nuclear-related projects Tuesday, just days after another round of talks with world powers seeking to limit Tehran’s atomic program.

Retired State Department official Lawrence Wilkerson described what he calls “delusional security” in foreign policy that’s bubbled up in both Tehran and Washington, D.C. over the last three to five years.

“It's come to a peak ostensibly over the nuclear issue, but what it's coming to a peak over really is a power struggle in the Gulf for who's going to be the power to be reckoned with outside the United States,” Wilkerson says.

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